You’ve done the hard yards by developing innovative lead generation, dynamic social media marketing campaigns and click-worthy Google Adwords. But have you prepared for the new faces of consumers as we head into the 2020 holiday season?
We think not.
This year – the year of COVID-19, TikTok and Rio Tinto blasting a 46,000 year old aboriginal site – has taught us to expect the unexpected. Why? Because we all have had to pivot in some way. Whether it’s the way we socialise, work, exercise, entertain, cook or relax, 2020 has sent our 2019 plans careering into the unknown.
Fear not though because with uncertainty comes the exciting joy of discovering the new! When the Google Ads Retail Academy: Peak Reimagined event came about, the 3 Phase Marketing Digital Specialists jumped. This is the undisputed opportunity to grasp the rear end of 2020 with both hands and not let go.
What did we learn?
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital processes like eCommerce
These processes already existed but instead of taking months and years, we saw businesses make the switch in weeks, due to government restrictions.
2020 is shaping up to be the year of transformational eCommerce
Consumers have moved online en mass and retailers are both serving and remediating against this tremendous digital and e-commerce activation. Victoria’s non-essential services are truly living and breathing this experience due to stage 4 restrictions. For retailers operating during such difficult times, eCommerce and eCommerce enablers like Click & Collect have become super critical.
We’re seeing a new generation of first-time online shoppers
It was actually the over 50s age cohort who came online for the very first time!
Baby boomers and Silvers now make up 34% of digital purchases, compared with 25% in 2016. We’ve also learnt that 27% of the over 40 market now have an Amazon Prime membership and that’s up by 107% year-on-year.
Online shoppers are more diverse than ever before
We really need to reimagine what a great user experience or UX and communication strategy looks like for these really really different segments. How do you approach a social media savvy mum, homeschooling her primary school child, or a 65-year-old first time online shopper?
There’s necessity for a “real-life” experience
How can we provide our user with a “real-life” experience that will make them trust your website and be more commutable with the purchase process?
Tools and functionality like guides, videos, personalised recommendations (“you might also like…”) and podcasts can help.
There is an explosion in watch time on Youtube
People are missing that social aspect of going to the footy, seeing friends and family and going out to pubs/restaurants/cafes.
All that goes in line with this change in consumer behaviour of streaming and online video.
There is an explosion in watch time on Youtube including a 65% increase in people watching Youtube on their TVs.
There is a greater sense of retail curiosity
The acceleration of digital has also really triggered a greater sense of retail curiosity, exploration and even confidence, with one in five Aussies purchasing at least one new category online. Plus, one in two consumers have also tried a new product over the last three months.
From February to April 2020, categories that experienced the most growth in terms of online engagement were health and wellbeing, clothing and entertainment.
Moving into May and June 2020, the change of season really saw a much deeper engagement in apparel, particularly comfort clothing, but as we moved into the end of the financial year period we saw engagement in car parts and accessories along with a heightened interest in outdoor and recreational goods – clearly demonstrating our frustration with the indoors and yearning to get out.
Accelerated multi-channel mentality
Over the peak season last year, 79% of Aussie shoppers engaged with three or more channels to help with their Christmas shopping (examples of a channel include apps, online stores, social media, physical stores).
In more recent months 33% of Aussies downloaded at least one new app to help them make a purchase during COVID-19 government restrictions.
Research is increasingly becoming important to shoppers
If we reflect on consumer behaviour over last year’s peak retail season in 2019 to 2020, 36% of Aussies conducted more online research than the previous year. Research is becoming increasingly important to shoppers yet it’s the part of the journey marketers often overlook and undervalue.
But why is that?
When we think about activating a shoppers’ purchase journey or the funnel, we usually think about our strategy in terms of response to the goals of driving awareness, or securing that final purchase or transaction through performance marketing.
However, with Aussies doing more and more online research prior to their purchase there’s this huge gap and a whole lot that influences consumers between their first moment of awareness and that final purchase.
We call this in-between stage the “messy middle” and it refers to the ever-complex research process that consumers undergo before making a purchase.
The path to purchase is a really non-linear path
Shopping is just so much more challenging. Many people are having to grapple with new ways of buying things and there’s this increased caution on spending. So as a result, consumers are spending even more time exploring and evaluating than usual.
There’s huge power in simply being present
When Google conducted behavioural research exploring the aforementioned “messy middle”, they found that when researching products online and choosing between a first choice brand and a second choice brand, one in three consumers will actually choose their second choice brand just because it’s present.
So this is the power of the mere exposure of your brand during the research phase. The power of simply showing up and delivering brand presence during a customer’s research or “messy middle” phase.