Most businesspeople are well aware that marketing has changed dramatically in recent years. For many, this shift is mainly about different ways to market—through social media, online engagement, and so on. But beyond the new tools available to businesses today, there have also been sweeping changes to how consumers behave in the retail environment, and what underlies our decisions as consumers. How can marketers understand—and profit from—these shifts in how we buy?
DECODING THE CONSUMER MIND provides retail marketers with an action plan based on new psychological insights about how, when and why today’s radically different consumer shops and buys. A trifecta of socio-cultural trends has forever altered the psyche of the American consumer—and understanding these 3 significant shifts is critical for any marketer to understand. Based on her extensive research, consumer expert Kit Yarrow classifies the changes as follow:
- ANXIETY: Diagnosed anxiety disorders have increased 1,200% since 1980. A 1994 survey of randomly selected households found 15% of American had experienced elevated anxiety the previous year. In 2009 that number rose to 49.5%. This has numerous implications for how consumers buy, explaining our love of the ratings and reviews of other shoppers; the mental relief and distraction of online shopping, and why people are more responsive to brands that demonstrate emotional benefits than those who tout product characteristics.
- “THE NEW INDIVIDUALISM”: A more “me”-oriented society increasingly uses brands, retailers, and shopping strategies as a way to connect with others. Awash with choices and unfettered by the social rules that provided guard rails in previous decades, today’s consumers are more individualistic and more likely to use what they buy and how they shop as a way to communicate and bond with others. This trend explains why “Pick Your Favorite” campaigns on Facebook have an astonishing 27% response rate, why Etsy is so successful, and much more.
- REWIRED BRAINS: Because of our rampant technology use, we literally think differently now, a shift that has broad implications for retail. As a society that “views” more than it reads, we want everything faster, get bored more easily and gravitate more toward the quick takeaways of symbolic communication. For example, on eBay, merchandise displayed on red backgrounds receives higher bids than similar merchandise shown on blue backgrounds; and trends have given way to “trending.”