Why the future of commerce is about Wow Right Now
Kate Ivory, agency partner at OMD EMEA, explains why brands need to act now to harness the conversion opportunity from “Wow Right Now” strategies.
Retail has always been a combination of experience, value and convenience – the pandemic has just shaken up these drivers of choice albeit forcibly and universally.
Thanks to a range of consumer shopping insights provided earlier this year by The Future of Commerce, The Why Behind the Buy – a collaboration between OCG and OMD – we have been able to examine closely how value, convenience and immediacy have become key drivers for hyper-connected consumers looking to rediscover retail experience in a post-pandemic era. Brands need to act now to harness the conversion opportunity from Wow Right Now strategies.
The Future of Commerce research seeks to quantify those new, and not so new, drivers of retail choices to define how retail brands should behave and to derive the competitive advantage; to understand the ‘why behind the buy’.
Consumers will navigate post-pandemic expectations with new behaviours – 61% of European consumers have tried a new shopping behaviour, many for convenience and value; meanwhile between 70-80% intend to continue their adopted behaviour going forward.
Attracting the future consumer through Wow Right Now means brands and retailers need to meet expectations across three distinct shopper mindsets: the need for rich interactive experiences on and offline; orchestrating value, price and purpose with messaging in the right place at the right time; delivering seamless ease through technology, channel integration and service delivery.
Delivering Wow moments to consumers as they emerge post-pandemic will be key for brands that are looking to leverage pent-up demand with emotional connections. The Wow factor is about blending experiential opportunities in-store and online.
With a majority of consumers now comfortable back in city centres, brands can leverage their physical presence there. According to the research, 49% of consumers are most likely to return to the city centre for socialising and leisure activities.
We are seeing Wow retail strategies from the likes of Ikea – the Swedish interiors giant has taken over Topshop’s old Oxford Circus flagship destination and plans to turn it into an experiential brand showcase; as well as Selfridges, that continues to redefine the art of blending zeitgeist trends with entertaining retail concepts, most recently with its in-store gardening centre pop-ups.
Get it Right with data
Consumers are looking for a new type of value-proposition and brands that can orchestrate value, price and purpose in the Right place at the Right time will generate consumer advocacy.
What constitutes value will be expanded beyond price and performance. According to the research, 55% of consumers rate sustainable and ethical products as important, so leveraging product provenance alongside an eco-venience retail strategy will become key for a new era of convenience-driven shopping.
Meanwhile, consumer attitudes around sharing data to help facilitate a more convenient and relevant shopping experience are on the rise: 66% are not willing to share data with at least one type of company, yet 31% are willing to share data with at least one company in return for more personalised services. This shows there is clear benefit to a data-led value exchange: those who are willing to share data are over 3.5x more likely to believe it will result in more relevant services and experiences versus those who don’t share their data.
We are seeing brands experimenting with Right campaigns, for example Levi’s #ThenNowForever tagline encourages sustainability mindsets on TikTok; while Apple’s ‘Find My’ app has been redesigned to retain data for 24 hours.
Consumers have increased expectations of convenience post-pandemic. Brands that embrace the importance of Now will deliver seamless ease through technology, channel integration and service delivery.
Technology is good at many things and ease of experiences will drive adoption for consumers who are still undecided about how retailers use it. In the short term, contactless is a big experience draw for in-store shopping.
This is seeing the largest ramp-up in importance – 51% think it’s important and 38% more important compared to a year ago; meanwhile retail strategies that embrace frictionless experiences will become key – 41% of consumers cite ease of returns and post-purchase services as more important than pre-pandemic; 36% want to buy the product how, when and where they want; 57% prefer shopping in-store as they can walk away with a product.
Retail tech investments such as Facebook’s visual search focus or the partnership between Grubhub and Yandex for autonomous delivery bots in US colleges, are both progressive examples of Now strategies that deliver seamless retail experiences for consumers.
In summary, brands need to shift their mindset to be more consumer-centric. They need to overcome the ‘data trust barrier’; understand that shopping is a lifestyle, not just a need fulfilment; invest in the (perhaps inflated) higher expectations of technology and what that means for consumer choice via new channels such as marketplaces and social commerce; embrace the power of localised shopping areas that have been re-invigorated by post-pandemic growth.
This article is adapted from Kate Ivory’s presentation at The Future of Media, the media industry conference by Mediatel Events. You can watch our highlights reel from the two-day event here.