New technologies, especially social networks, give full powers to consumers. The problem of “showcasing”, walking around a shop without necessarily buying it, is a good example of the challenges that due to these changes retailers will face.
Now consumers are visiting a physical store to see and touch a product but will inquire online on the best prices directly from their smartphone. The development of social networks has a significant influence on new purchasing behaviors.
Consumers are continuously connected to their favorite brands and expect distributors to do the same. Reading a friend’s opinion about his experience with such a distributor or his opinion on a brand or product range can profoundly alter the intention to purchase. In 2016, a study by Forbes revealed that 81% of Americans say they are influenced in their purchasing decisions by the advice of their friends on social networks.
Recently the term “social Darwinism” appeared in the media to describe the growing challenge of free access to online information, not only to express itself on social networks but to create a new approach to connected consumption. The postulate of this digital Darwinism is based on the idea that society and technologies evolve faster than the ability of certain brands to change. Only companies capable of listening and adapting quickly to new consumer expectations will be able to survive, others will inevitably be extinguished.
For example, purchasing can be initiated from the physical store by using new technologies to create unique, personalized offers that bring real added value to consumers – offers that are so well-thought-out Irresistible. According to a recent survey, 40% of consumers made an unplanned purchase after scanning a QR code or SMS received during their visit to the store.
This new reality also forces distributors to be able to use the immensity of data collected on consumers. This implies to have systems capable of storing and analyzing all these data in one place, and then better understand consumer’s preferences and behaviors in terms of their communication and interactions with brands. The data collected in-store no longer allows a 360° view of consumers to be integrated into all the data coming from the different points of contact with the consumer.
It is necessary to centralize all interactions, not just transactions, which can come from social networks and online searches, and to rely on real-time analysis of these data to send truly relevant communications to consumers. Only by doing this, will distributors be able to deduce consumer insights from their collected data and use them to create compelling and timely offers.
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