The modern consumer is more demanding than ever. Recent research found nearly three-quarters of consumers will abandon a brand after only three negative experiences. The pandemic is at least partly to blame for these soaring expectations. With two billion people shopping online in 2020 alone, lockdown brought an onslaught of customers demanding flawless, personalized, and engaging online experiences from businesses that thought they had a few more years of runway time.
Now combine this huge uptick of digital commerce with the rising cost-of-living crisis in economies around the world, and you’ve got a perfect storm. The ongoing crisis is set to have a major impact on customer behavior, with consumers becoming pickier than ever about where they splash their cash.
Of course, B2B buyers aren’t immune to the factors facing today’s consumers. The cost-of-living crisis is also a “cost-of-doing business” crisis. And, with the rise of consumerization, the penny has finally dropped – B2B buyers are people before anything else. So, whether shoppers are end-user consumers or B2B buyers, they’re facing the same issues. Regardless of if they’re shopping at their local supermarket or investing in a multi-million-dollar piece of equipment for their business, many of the factors influencing buying decisions will remain the same.
1) Convenience drives loyalty
Customers in the B2C and B2C space want to be able to shop around-the-clock, via user-friendly websites and apps. This means they want faster load times, more personalized customer journeys, and functions like chatbots and auto-filling at checkout. This appetite for convenience has also led to the growth of quick commerce (Q-commerce) apps like Getir and Gorillas, with the Q-commerce industry predicted to reach a mammoth $72 billion by 2025.
2) Experience is everything
With the rise of “checkoutless” stores and talk of the metaverse buzzing across all sectors, it’s clear that customers are hungry for new, engaging shopping experiences. Not every business needs to be able to offer fully fledged VR shopping experiences, but they should at least be up to speed with tech-enabled touchpoints (like self-checkout etc.) in stores, mobile friendly tailored sites, and omnichannel digital services.
3) A new approach to subscriptions
Though many customers are canceling subscriptions to non-essential services like video streaming, we’ll see subscriptions gaining popularity for more essential big-ticket purchases. This includes sectors previously unassociated with the model like automotive. Companies like SIXT and Hertz are two examples – giving drivers access to the latest car without needing to wait for it to be manufactured, and allowing them to split the cost. In B2B, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) subscription services are increasingly popular, especially in sectors like construction or manufacturing. Cash-strapped organizations don’t want to pay for a year’s use of a heavy-duty welding machine or industrial 3-D printer that is only being used for two hours in a day.
4) Amazon losing its appeal
We’re witnessing a new generation of shoppers who are willing to abandon Amazon and its Big Tech brethren in favor of smaller competitors. According to a recent survey, 53% of Gen Z respondents tend to avoid Amazon, citing reasons like distrust in fake reviews and preferring other brands. This is the news that smaller businesses and innovators have been waiting for: the businesses that differentiate now will have a good chance of seizing market share.
5) Shopping going social
Your business needs to be able to meet customers where they are. And for a lot of Gen Z and millennial consumers, this is on social media. Almost all (97% of) Gen Z consumers admit social media is their top source of shopping inspiration, with ‘#TikTokmademebuyit’ racking up upwards of 2.3 billion views. By integrating social commerce strategies, your business can gain a new digital shopfront and beat Amazon’s sales figures. Moreover, the Gen Z consumers of today are the B2B buyers of tomorrow, so savvy companies will lay the groundwork now to keep future buyers coming back.
Keeping up with the consumers
The modern consumer is evolving. A decade ago, they might have been bowled over by a bog-standard website (or impressed you even had an online presence at all) – but nowadays, many customers expect all the digital bells and whistles as standard. And if your business can’t offer them, they’re willing to go elsewhere. After all, consumers are hardly short of choice.
But companies can’t provide winning digital commerce experiences with the same old tech stack they’ve had for decades. Monolithic legacy platforms are simply too slow to evolve. A new trend arrives on the scene, and by the time your business has implemented changes to respond to it, the craze has come and gone, and your customers have left with it. And you can forget pioneering new trends – leave that to the companies willing to embrace a new tech stack.
To differentiate and provide personalized experiences for a generation of bored, penny-pinching shoppers, businesses have got to take a new approach. With composable digital commerce, businesses can choose best-of-breed capabilities, rather than being stuck with rigid one-size-fits-all bundles. This means retailers can experiment with new digital offerings, adapt to the latest trends, and keep consumers happy as their demands evolve.