consumer shopping on phone

Research shows consumers are trying out and sticking with new brands during the pandemic. 

Due to stock shortages, lifestyle changes and evolving consumer purchasing behaviors, the pandemic is changing brand loyalties and raising the number of shoppers purchasing from new brands for the first time. According to a recent survey by Bazaarvoice Inc., 39% of consumers globally purchased from new brands so far during the pandemic, while in the US that number reached 51%. 

This creates a massive opportunity for retailers to capitalize on these new customers and build brand loyalty. In fact, 88% of those consumers globally that purchased from new brands plan to buy from those brands again in the future. 

The study also shows that subscription services saw a rise in new customers as well, with 25% of US consumers trying out a new subscription service during the pandemic. Again, many of these consumers plan to continue with their subscriptions as long as expectations are met around product quality, ease and reliable delivery. 

For consumers that did not purchase from new brands, the most common impediments were uncertainty over product quality. Retailers need to be leveraging customer reviews, social media and other kinds of user generated content to help assuage shopper concerns and lower the barriers to purchase. 

Online vs In-Store 

The pandemic-fueled acceleration of eCommerce also appears to be here to stay. 17% of US shoppers said the ability to buy online will determine where they shop, and 30% of global consumers continue to shop online at least once a week, even though restrictions have lifted in many places. 

As new consumer behaviors continue to evolve the shopping experience, retailers must be on the lookout for innovative ways to connect with shoppers. 21% of consumers said they downloaded a branded app for convenient shopping and additional benefits.  

However, although online shopping grows, in-store retail still has a stronghold. 40% of consumers responded they would be comfortable entering a non-essential store within the next three months. Yet, the pandemic has unquestionably shifted what the in-store experience looks like.  

Certain behaviors may be driven by the desire to minimize the amount of time spent in the store. 37% of consumer said they plan to continue using mobile self-checkouts when available, and 63% are researching products online before going to make purchases in-store.  

Retailers will need to continue to offer measures that allow customers to shop with the level of convenience and comfort they desire. This includes different delivery methods and pickup options as well, like curbside and local delivery. 

The Role of Pricing in Changing Brand Loyalties

While consumer behavior certainly continues to evolve, one thing remains the same: the importance of price. 24% of US consumers said price would be the most influential factor for making purchases over the next three months. Yet, retailers continue to deal with challenges around cost increases, supply chain issues and store capacity limitations.  

This means it’s going to be even more important for retailers to leverage leading strategies and data analytics to find the right prices that will satisfy customers while protecting margins. “Retailers who have invested in AI capabilities and advanced analytics will be able to dynamically adjust pricing as brand preferences evolve,” said Matthew Pavich, Revionics Managing Director of Global Strategic Consulting.  “This will enable them to grow share while enhancing profits.” 

And because of the increasing use of eCommerce, retailers will have to develop a strong omnichannel pricing strategy as well. Disconnected prices and promotions between online and in-store can create a disjointed shopping experience for consumers. 

“The best retailers leverage superior analytics to determine shopping behavior by channels and to develop seamless omnichannel experiences for their existing and new customers,” said Pavich. 

Build Loyalty with New Buyers 

The bottom line is shopper buying habits and the customer journey have inevitably changed for good. Brands need to analyze their shopper data across channels and identify new patterns so they can best cater to their customers’ evolving needs and capitalize on this opportunity to attract new shoppers. 

About the author

Maisie is a content marketer and copywriter specializing in B2B, eCommerce and retail. Constantly in pursuit of the perfect combination of words, and a good donut.