We live in a fast-paced, widely connected era filled with high expectations. The internet and social media have dramatically changed consumer behaviour over the last few decades. The estimated 2.5 billion people with access to smartphones are all potential shoppers demanding great user experience (UX) on websites and apps, as well round the clock customer service. And of course, the best price they can get.
But consumers no longer want to wait for sale seasons when deals are often offered on the retailer’s terms (like if they need to shift stock). And while it’s true that the volume of transactions was up on Black Friday last year, the overall value of spending was down.
It was also interesting that Amazon announced its Black Friday deals would run for longer last year (lasting 10 days), while other retailers like B&Q decided to opt out of Black Friday completely.
“Consumers no longer want to wait for sale seasons.”
These changes – coupled with reports indicating that heaps of Black Friday deals were cheaper at different points in the year – is likely to result in savvy shoppers shunning sales periods.
The traditional thinking is that these key sales seasons, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Singles Day, are best time of the year to find deals – but triggering impulsive shopping no longer seems to be an effective sales strategy for retailers. Consumers are now willing to wait if they feel it will lead to a better purchasing decision, but they don’t want to wait for a specific commercial holiday when retailers want to get rid of their stock.
Nowadays, consumers are being more conscious with their buying power, and the political and economic environment has influenced the way people buy. Low and stagnating wages, combined with Brexit fears, are pushing consumers to shop more frugally and consciously. Environmental pressure and the rise of sustainability culture is also contributing to weakening impulsive shopping behaviour.
Consumers are being empowered by new technology, like community shopping, as an answer to the evolving needs of society. People now yield powers like never before. Thanks to online reviews that can make or break a business, social media and platforms like ours where shoppers can team up to bring prices down on the products they want – regardless of seasonality.
“Triggering impulsive shopping no longer seems to be an effective sales strategy for retailers.”
Shoppers have truly rediscovered their voice, pushing retailers to set higher standards across the board – from marketing, customer service and product. On top of that, people that have never been able to connect before are finding others with similar interests, passions and desires online – be it to call out retailers’ bad practice or find ways to get better deals by shopping together.
The rise of social shopping, propelled via social media, is a direct result of technological advancements, increased interconnectivity, desire, demand, and more empowered consumers. So it comes as no surprise to see that customers are now using their mass purchasing power to change the retail and e-commerce industry.
Smart retailers have realised this and have already began evaluating whether the prices they offer customers justify the service or product. And in a world full of empowered consumers, the customer is always right.