It should be a surprise to nobody that the way people buy products and services has changed drastically in the last 12 months. This change, however, has only brought into sharp focus an ongoing trend in the way a customer behaves before, during, and after making a purchase, and failure to notice this on the part of the retailer can be a massive mistake.
With the enormous amount of options presented by the rise in online retail, and its knock-on effect on how people choose other services, focusing on meeting the need of this new type of customer could easily be the difference between success and failure.
How does this new type of customer behave?
This new type of customer bears little or no resemblance to somebody who would casually wander into a shop before the widespread use of the internet. They will typically be from generation X and Y and will be very internet-savvy. They will have an in-built reluctance to any type of face-to-face sales and will react negatively to anything even vaguely perceived as a “hard sell”.
They have done their research
These customers will come with a lot of prior knowledge of what they are after. They will know what they want to buy down to the model number and are less likely to be swayed by a recommendation from your website. Overall, they want you to provide what they asked for and are less likely to be “sold” to.
They will have read the reviews
As part of their research, they will have read reviews of the products and the people they intend to buy them from. As this purchase is likely to be remote, they will seek a greater level of reassurance than if they could just walk into a store.
In addition to this, these customers are less equipped for the “confrontation” of complaining if there is a problem, and will seek to avoid this by purchasing somewhere else if there is any doubt. They are more likely to consider this issue over and above price.
They expect answers 24/7
Because they can interact with everything else at any time, like social media platforms, they carry this expectation into all other areas too. If they are researching a purchase or a service in the evening and have a question, they expect to be able to fire it off then and there and expect an answer quickly. Failure to do so will see this type of customer go elsewhere.
They are responsive to inbound marketing
As part of their research process, this type of customer will consume more information than a traditional customer, who would typically only process what they are told by a salesperson. For this reason, the supply of this information using inbound marketing techniques on social media blog content is essential, so the customer feels they already know and trust the brand they are going to buy from, and they approach their purchase with every box ticked.
They care about your brand ethics
This type of customer is likely to look at all parts of your company from how eco-friendly you are, how and where your products are made, and how they are tested, as well as which other brands you associate with. This can extend to where you advertise and what they think of the “influencers” who promote your brand.