Shifts in shopping behavior: 6 effective ways to connect with consumers

Today’s consumers are more aware of what (ingredients) they buy and who (values) they buy from. Shoppers select brands that are authentic, stand behind a cause, provide seamless experiences, and have a solid reputation.

We listed six ways to attract and engage modern shoppers.

#1 Embrace core values

Consider your values as a company and what you stand for; what important social issues does my brand confront? Is my creative inclusive? What can I do to give back?

If your company’s mission is to reduce ecological footprint and fight climate change, be transparent about it in your branding and communications. Talk about the impact you have in the community and the causes you are dedicated to. This will make your customers feel part of the mission. 

#2 Build a community

Building a brand is no longer one-way communication from a brand to customers. It’s enabling customers to build the brand with you through a community of like-minded people. Start your community-building journey by creating an online community page for your customers to interact. Or, go all in and create an entire community program that spans everything from products to website copy, to social media and events. 

Leverage virtual experience tools such as Facebook Live to bring your community together. Allow viewers to interact with each other via comments while you give them a sneak preview of a new product or educate them on a topic.

#3 Provide seamless experiences

Today’s consumers prefer and expect easy and convenient shopping. Optimize and integrate each touchpoint along the customer journey, online and offline, into a seamless experience. 

For example, if you have an online store, consider what the journey looks like from when the user first enters your website to the delivery of the product. You’ll want to remove friction like slow-loading pages, payment errors, or issues with the delivery.

#4 Keep it real on social media

Authenticity matters on social media. Consumers want to buy products that are used by people like them, not by perfect, scripted models. Think beyond highly produced studio efforts to diversify your social media content: 

  • Founder and employee stories; record yourself or someone from your team, add captions, and publish!

  • User-generated content (UGC); ask customers to tag you and share posts with your products. (tip: branded hashtags help you track the posts)

  • Recipes; create recipes that followers can make at home using your products, or ask your followers to share their own recipes. 

  • Giveaway contents; incentivize followers to engage with your content to win free products. 

  • Polls and quizzes; ask your followers what their favorite flavors are, or what new flowers they would like to try. 

  • Influencer content; partner with content creators and have them create posts about your products to increase trustworthiness. 

#5 Support local communities

Partner with local restaurants or bars to grow reach and awareness, and to show your support to a local community. Provide discount codes for customers who sample your products at your partner’s location to incentivize later purchases through a digital coupon. 

A vegan food brand Strong Roots did this successfully during the pandemic. The brand partnered with a pop-up restaurant to serve its plant-based products on the menu for takeout and delivery. With each order, customers received an in-store coupon to sample a wider selection of Strong Roots’ products in local grocery stores. Geo-targeted advertising on Facebook and Instagram helped promote the omnichannel campaign and reach over 70% of the target audience. 

#6 Reach for the stars

Customers trust the opinions of other people or friends more than hearing directly from companies. Try these methods to attain more product reviews:

  • Ask reviews via post-purchase email

  • Drop a little note in the packaging as a reminder

  • Provide an incentive, ie. discount from next purchase

  • Follow up after a positive customer service experience

  • Reach out to a brand advocate who already promotes your brand on social media

  • Send a brand care package to incentivize a loyal customer for a testimonial

  • If you’re selling on Amazon, enroll in the Amazon Vine Program

One caveat, however, make sure that you stay on top of reviews, positive and negative. Not responding to a negative review, even for just one day, can create a bad impression. 

Stand out from the crowd and start building long-lasting connections with your customers by using all or some of our suggestions. For more ideas on staying relevant and up-to-date with the ever-evolving consumer behavior, check out our blog.

Learn how Mason Interactive can help you reach new audiences