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How to Make Sure You Have Customers Over the Next Five Years

9 min read

The last year proved that the ability to quickly adapt to changes can be defining not only for business’s growth but also — its survival. Things like digital adoption as well as re-inventing delivery and in-person shopping are some of the things that helped businesses to stay afloat in these trying times.

Hopefully, you applied these practices to your own store and managed to keep your business profitable. But! If you’re interested in long-term growth, you need to think beyond the current context.

Do you want to keep sales growth not just for today but also five years from now? Then you’ll have to keep up with consumer behaviour trends over the next few years, and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Read on to find out what the future of retail looks like and which trends in consumer behaviour you’ll need to pay attention to.

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Three Consumer Behaviour Trends

First, what are consumer trends? Simply put, these are the things that drive consumers toward certain products and shopping experiences (or drive them away from others.) Trends can be anything: a new behavior, opinion, or even expectation.

You might be wondering: “How do I identify consumer trends?” The good news is, someone has already done that for you.

In 2020, retail experts at Google published the results of a large research study. They looked into physical retail, e-commerce, and marketplace sales across ten developed markets around the world. This allowed them to see how retail growth could look across different formats and markets over the next five years.

In a nutshell, here’s what they found out:

  • Multichannel selling is the new king. Consumers are getting more and more used to shopping both online and in-store. Multichannel and marketplace selling will drive 86% of sales growth in the next five years.
  • A more blended shopping experience is becoming expected from retailers. 73% of consumers are “channel agnostic,” meaning they’ll continue spending across both online and offline channels.
  • The amount of choice available to consumers is overwhelming already and makes purchase decision-making messier. Consumers need helpful information to empower them to make their own buying decisions.

Adjusting your marketing strategy in accordance with those trends in consumer behaviour will help you keep the customers coming. Let’s dive deeper into how to ensure that.

How to Adapt to the Trends to Ensure Growth

“How can I influence consumer behaviour?”

Some sellers look for the answers to this question, when in fact, it’s vital to be able to adapt to existing trends in the first place. So let’s dive into some ways to keep up with consumer behaviour trends and give practical tips you can apply to your business.

Help customers with purchase decision-making

Try searching for a pancake spatula on Amazon, and you’ll see hundreds of results. You might feel puzzled, especially if you’re shopping for spatulas for the first time. How do you choose the right one? How do you ensure you’ll be happy with your choice? You decide to google “best spatulas” to figure that out. Oops, hundreds of results…again!

Think about this in terms of trends. What influences shopping experience for today’s customers? Abundant choice and limitless information.

To make a purchase decision, customers explore and evaluate products and brands. They use search engines, review websites, and social media to help them on their consumer journey.

Given this context, your goal is to provide helpful information about your product to guide customers in making their decision. Also, to make sure your customers spend less time exposed to a competitor’s brand.

Here are a couple of ideas on how to do that:

  • Make sure your prices are competitive, or use strategies to battle lower prices like emphasizing your product’s benefits, changing the product’s positioning, and more.
  • Learn what can influence a purchasing decision (things like price anchoring or fear of missing out) and use this information to highlight your products.
  • Update your product descriptions and your FAQ section to provide full and relevant information about your products.
  • Use special tools such as automated emails to deliver product recommendations to customers.
  • Use personalisation in your marketing campaigns. For example, run retargeting ads to promote products your store visitors showed interest in.
  • Create and distribute videos that introduce potential customers to your brand or explain your products benefits.

Integrate online and offline experiences

It’s no longer a question of choosing one sales channel, it’s more about being ready to serve customers wherever they are — be it online or offline.

Online spending spiked last year and it’ll continue to grow. At the same time, some people do still prefer in-store shopping. But! They are still going to research products before they buy. Where? Online, of course!

To stay competitive, bring together the best of an online and in-store experience. As you strategize, keep in mind that customers will favour brands with a digital offering, even if they go to a store to make a purchase.

Here is what you can do to make the most of offline and online presence:

  • Consider taking your store to a popular marketplace like Amazon or eBay
  • Find out what social media platforms your target audience uses most and connect your store to those platforms. For example, you can create buyable pins on Pinterest, or sell products directly on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Make sure your offline customers are aware of your online store. For example, give customers discounts coupons at checkout that they can use at your online store only.

If you sell with Ecwid E-commerce, you’re already one step ahead of many businesses. That’s because with Ecwid, you can sell everywhere: on a website, through social media platforms, marketplaces, in the app and in-person. All sales sync in one dashboard, so managing your store is a breeze.

Continue to transform your business with digital tools

As we all learned last year, change is the only constant. We might not know what comes next, but we need to be ready to embrace it, whatever it may be. Businesses that understand adaptability are going to be a consumer’s favorite as they navigate these uncertain times.

Customer expectations are rising and as it does, so does competition. There is no going back from taking your store online. Moreover, you shouldn’t stop at that! There are tons of digital tools that can make online seller’s routine easier while also strengthening a brand and increasing sales.

Of course, the tools you use depend on your business and the goals you have. Here are just a couple of ideas you can try for your store:

    • Automate your ads to optimize them and save time for other tasks. For example, with Google Shopping ads you can display your products almost all over the internet.

Google Shopping tab with products to buy

  • If you spend too much time on repetitive tasks, use automation tools like Zapier. For example, you can automatically share invoices to an accounting software of your choice when customers buy from you.
  • Use Facebook pixel to make sure your ads reach the right people.

In Your Opinion: What does the Future of Retail Hold?

Being an online seller means keeping an ear to the ground to make sure you can adjust your business model on a dime. It’s not just about staying in the know, but about staying competitive.

Now, over to you: what do you think of the trends in consumer behaviour researched by Google? Have you already noticed them while running your business?

What will retail look like in five years, in your opinion?


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About the author

Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.

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