What do consumers want? What do they desire? What do they expect, even on a subconscious level?
Asking these questions is imperative for a company, regardless of the sector or size.
Having the answers is the only way to be ready in advance in order to gain an advantage over the competition and to continuously improve customer retention and loyalty. Upstream, this allows you to make your marketing and customer care strategies increasingly efficient and up to date.
In this post, we want to facilitate you in this complex analysis. We have lined up the most important consumer trends of 2023, highlighting the 8 that you must focus on, above all
We start with a basic understanding: the list, by necessity, cannot be exhaustive. But these are the trends that are most significant and worth your time and effort.
To this basic understanding we will add a general overview to help orient ourselves.
Let’s get started!
Responsibility and sustainability
In the eyes of a consumer, a brand is more than just the products or services it offers. In fact, it is a set of values that it demonstrates and carries forward. It’s an image a brand creates around itself and in which people can mirror themselves.
Now, one only has to look around to realize that, for a large number of brands and companies, the stories they tell in their campaigns demonstrate values of social responsibility and sustainability.
The reason is very simple: because these issues are more central than ever to the current and long-term debate, and they are close to the hearts of an increasing number of people, especially in the younger segments…people who may become, or already are, your customers.
An empathetic and equal dialog
Our next consumer trend for 2023 concerns something very old that has always been valid: for companies it’s not just about selling. Before, during, and after the purchase it’s about being able to establish an empathetic, peer-to-peer, bi-directional dialog with customers.
If all of this has been true forever, why do we still consider it a new trend that you should be paying attention to?
Because it’s about digitization.
It sounds like a paradox, but it is not.
Through the smart, broad, and versatile use of technology, companies can get closer and closer to their customers and improve the customer experience.
And they can do so in an automated, omnichannel, always-on way that doesn’t require a huge investment.
Watch out for this data (123formbuilder.com):
– 81% of people say that good customer service makes them more likely to make other purchases with the same company.
– In contrast, 61% of customers are ready to leave a company and switch to a competitor after just one negative experience.
Personalization at the center
We open this new point with another finding from the same survey we just mentioned:
– 90% of customers are willing to spend more with companies that provide personalized customer service experiences.
So, let’s say it loud and clear. Among customer trends 2023, personalization plays a prominent role.
So: targeting individuals, in a targeted way, based on their characteristics, past behavior, needs, and possible desires.
But how is it possible to transport this kind of “intimate” relationship into the world of a huge number of customers?
Once again, digital offers us the answer.
The starting point of personalization lies in Big Data.
It’s therefore a matter of learning how to collect as many “digital traces” left by users online, but also while they visit physical places (we’ll return to this point later).
So, based on this information, it’s about building profiles that are more and more precise, with targets that are increasingly specific targets, all to be hit with tailored actions and communications.
This set of procedures is extremely important both for acquiring new customers and the loyalty of existing ones.
It’s also for cross-selling and upselling operations, for example.
And, even further upstream, it’s about continuously recalibrating the product and service offerings.
It’s a real revolution: we’re moving from a one-to-many perspective to a one-to-one perspective.
Specialized companies like Doxee help companies develop a personalized customer experience.
Be found on all channels
Among the most obvious 2023 consumer trends is the way that we’re seamlessly moving through different digital channels.
First and foremost, it’s a device issue: we’re increasingly using smartphones to interface with brands, search for information, and make purchases.
We’re also using desktop computers, especially when it comes to B2B sales. And also tablets.
But that’s not all.
The way we interact with companies is increasingly multi-platform.
It’s not just about the company’s websites and digital shops; we’re increasingly trying to establish contact through social channels (and each social channel has its own rules, target audience, and best practices), dedicated apps, messaging systems, and still through email (which is still an extremely effective tool).
For brands, the challenge is being ready on all of these playing fields.
First, by optimizing content and communications according to the different devices from which they are accessed.
And then knowing how to manage the different platforms in a diversified, optimized way, without losing the recognizability and uniqueness of the brand identity.
Also, watch out for opportunities to simplify the Customer Journey.
One example ?
The possibilities of social shopping.
What about physical channels?
What happens outside digital channels? This is also a decisive question.
Here, the key word is: integration.
Integration between the physical and digital realms.
Not surprisingly, an increasingly strong trend is that of “Proximity Marketing.”
We’re talking about the possibility of creating digital touch points within physical stores, aimed at specific and increasingly personalized targets, relying mainly on geo-targeting opportunities.
Let’s look at some important data:
– When it comes to their buying choices, up to 31% of customers are influenced by the research conducted on their smartphones while already inside a store (source: Digital4Biz).
We can imagine that this percentage will continue to grow, and it’s certainly much higher in the younger segments of the target audience.
In this regard, just think of how our habits have changed when we’re inside a physical store. If we are in an electronics store and are interested in buying a new TV, we will most likely be using our smartphones to compare the features of different devices and their performance. Here, we will read opinions, reviews, and feedback, comparing prices and searching for the best deals.
The same is increasingly happening in the supermarket aisle
Again, companies must know how to guard this frontier as well.
The benefits for retailers are both direct and indirect.
What are we talking about?
The enormous amount of valuable data about customers.
The best marketing strategy always remains retention
This is another “old” trend but one that is more relevant than ever before.
To tell the story, it’s enough to cite a well-known fact that emerged from research by Bain & Company.
– For a company, winning a new customer costs 6 to 7 times more than retaining one. And, a 5% improvement in Customer Retention can produce up to 25% more profit (bain.com).
All of the points we have listed above have the ultimate goal of improving customer satisfaction, thus increasing retention and loyalty.
It’s a challenge that is becoming increasingly complex and urgent, since today, the transition from one company to another (even in traditionally more rigid industries, such as insurance or banking) can happen in a matter of a few clicks.
Feedback, opinions, reviews
The next consumer trend of 2023 affects everyone closely. In fact, who among us does not read the reviews of a restaurant before booking a table? Or when booking a hotel?
That’s not all.
Surrounding any product or service is an ever-widening and branching network of people who can offer us their views and thus guide us in our purchasing choices.
From the simple user writing a review, to the expert speaking out on an industry blog. From the individual influencer (macro or micro) to real communities that gather in dedicated forums, on social networks, on Telegram groups.
Here is another extremely complex and decisive challenge for companies: to keep track of all these interventions, to treasure the sentiment and opinions related to both their brands and products, to learn how to stimulate positive opinions and make sure that they can multiply and take center stage.
Maximum attention to privacy
In the points above, there is one decisive element that keeps popping up: data.
It’s often said that data is the new oil, the most important resource in the hands of forward-looking companies—a completely renewable resource.
However, it’s a resource that must be managed with the utmost care, keeping up with regulations (which are constantly being updated), and implementing the most secure storage systems.
Again, this is what customers are asking for. We will close with this data:
– For 84% of consumers, data privacy is a basic human right.
– 81% of consumers are concerned about how companies use personal data.
– 72% are more likely to do business with companies they trust and feel safe with.