If you ask people about 2020, the answers will be mixed. We had to eat, sleep, think and live in very different ways. Home workouts, toilet paper shorting, and painful zoom calls have become a staple of everyday life. It goes without saying that the way consumers interact with brands has changed too.
- 39% Of global consumers who have tried new brands this year, 83% will continue to shop from newly discovered brands. (Bazaar voice)
- 45% say they are more likely to use their mobile phone as a shopping channel since the COVID-19 outbreak. (PwC)
- An increase in conscious consumption can now be observed 36% from consumers who are more and more aware of where they spend their money. (McKinsey)
So what shifts look like they will last through 2021 and beyond? Green room design explore.
1. Fast digitization
As millions of us around the world migrated their work, social and shopping lives online during the lockdown, we all felt the positive and undeniable power of the digital. A digitally powered future has always been inevitable, but one that we’ve seen this year. There is now an increasing need for brands to face change and use digital products to create more meaningful brand experiences both online and in the real world.
The increasing consumption of social media has opened up a great opportunity for brands to create socially powered retail space. By using their social channels to lure people into the store and using their stores to continue interacting with their brand online, they can create an ecosystem that enhances the customer experience while providing a constant flow of data to adapt and improvement can be used shops.
Take, for example, the London start-up Superpersonal. 41% of US consumers aged 21 to 65 buy multiple styles of clothing online to return unwanted items, creating a problematic global return system. To answer that, they changed the concept of the locker room, allowing customers to create VR-based avatars of themselves and their body types in the comfort of their own homes for a highly personalized customization experience.
2. Stronger community spirit
2020 tore us apart and brought us together at the same time. The result has been a stronger sense of the local community and an acceleration in people joining communities online.
- As a result of the pandemic 80% of consumers feel more or as connected to their communities. (Accenture)
The first ban that year forced many to go digital to keep in touch with family and friends. The young were online more than ever while the older people started zooming, skyping, and facetiming. Better-known technologies have also been used to keep in touch: a new radio show has been launched in Roscommon, Ireland, to create a stronger community spirit and help the elderly. The locals were interviewed and messages passed from person to person via the radio waves.
In the meantime, there has been a huge surge in communities online, with gaming being a major area of growth. The usual suspects FIFA and Call of Duty were popular, of course, but the communities on Twitch have also developed around chess, which unexpectedly boomed in 2020.
Heightened sense of community around the world is likely to continue well beyond 2021. Brands have the ability to create spaces and places – online and offline – that bring their communities together in meaningful ways. Transportable pop-ups that take a brand from city to city and focus on activities beyond simply selling products could be a great way to bring real world communities together online.
In Sweden, lockdown measures early in the year meant that the least at risk lived (mostly) their normal lives while those at risk stayed indoors. This meant that many elderly people were alone. In response, McDonalds pioneered a community spirit, creating a service where grandchildren could send happy meals to their grandparents, with a hand-drawn picture of their grandchildren replacing traditional toys.
3. Stay local
Working from home and hesitant travel have made the convenience of staying (and shopping) locally more appealing, and the rise in the community spirit has also resulted in people’s pride in the places they live , has risen.
Brands have a great opportunity to create spaces where local culture can thrive and bring people together. And with hygiene concerns likely to keep many away from malls, brands have the option to create smaller common spaces outside of the big cities.
Based on Nike’s House of Innovation, Rise and Live concepts, the Nike brand launched Unite to connect local customers with the sport and to celebrate local interests. The Unite stores strive to hire people from each community, while the product offering is designed to be locally relevant with spaces to tell individual community stories.
4. Increased self-care
Feeling of concern about what’s to come and the desire to get going again will be strong in 2021.
- A huge one 73% of consumers believed that brands should embrace wellness as part of their core business. (Ogilvy)
Brands have to constantly reassess their customers’ emotional states and find new ways to add value based on their ever-changing journey, be it through wellness offerings, mentoring programs, training or value-added content.
As consumers become more self-confident, the opportunity for brands to show that they are interested beyond the point of sale also grows. Whether through partnerships or on your own, connections with consumers can be deepened by showing their viewers that they care about them well beyond the till.
Take Snapchat, for example. Snapchat has partnered with the meditation app Headspace and is offering two free meditations offered on Headspace Mini to encourage the mindfulness exercises for its users. Uber did its bit too, and as a nice way to thank its customers for continuing to book rides during the pandemic, their rewards program gives drivers the chance to earn a month of free from the Rosetta Stone language learning platform to help them get theirs Skills to improve customers. Other rewards include four months without Apple Music and 30 days with HBOMax to improve customer downtime.
5. Greater desire for experience
This fifth and last trend sums up the previous four and combines digitization, community spirit, locality and empathy in one agile brand space. As consumers continue to prioritize experience over ownership, brand spaces will continue to transform into experience centers and platforms for education, content, community and work.
- Consumer appetite is an ever growing experience and the demand for home experiences – the so-called “insperience” economy – is expected to increase 168 million pounds next year
Even before 2020, consumers were expecting more and more from branded stores, a trend that has now accelerated sharply. Brands can future proof themselves by making sure their stores are key experience destinations on their omnichannel journey and by ensuring that stores – both online and offline – offer far more than just a place to shop and check out products.
Samsung KX from Coal Drops Yard in London is adapting to consumer needs and transforming into a content hub that offers a program of workshops, debates and projects. The space successfully blurs the lines between the digital and physical worlds of Samsung, using its KX hub as a platform for the next generation of innovators – even when using the space as a film studio.
2020 highlighted the things that really matter. The masses have been reminded of the importance of community, connection and authentic relationships, not just with people but with the brands in our lives.
Regardless of what happens in 2021, the behavioral changes highlighted in this report can now help brands build even more meaningful relationships with the consumers they serve.