Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

What do consumers want for peak ’22? Everything!

by Michael Kahn, Global CEO at Astound Commerce

Inflation. Job wage pressures. Sectors that are growing. Industries that are not. Another wave of the pandemic potentially along the way. Supply chain disruptions. Inventory shortages. Political turmoil. Climate change. War.  These are not — to put it mildly — simple times. Brands and retailers need to prepare for an unprecedentedly and endlessly complicated 2022 peak trading season.

Lately it seems that there could not be more variables at play, both in commerce and in life. Stores have reopened. Consumers are deciding whether they are going to be multi-channel or stay mono channel. So many dynamics are set to profoundly impact consumer decision-making for 2022’s golden quarter. 

Our new report, What Consumers Want: How Your Brand Must Prepare for Peak Season 2022 and Beyond, offers an unprecedented view into recent consumer behaviour trends based on insights from a survey of 1,000 global shoppers from the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. 

The data we uncovered makes three important priorities abundantly clear: 

User experience has never mattered more.  Nearly 3 in 4 (72%) of global consumers feel the economy is headed in the wrong direction, and to combat rising prices, consumers have altered their spending habits. They’re shopping less frequently than in previous years — only 55% shop online at least weekly. Retailers and brands, therefore, can’t afford to miss the moment with a potential customer — because there are simply fewer opportunities to get it right. The key is leveraging data from all sources to uncover consumer insights that power media, content, and creative planning, buying, and optimisation. Based on these insights, you can create more-relevant ads and experiences, personalised to shoppers at every touchpoint to drive more conversions at a lower cost and fuel long-term growth and lifelong customer loyalty. 

Data is power — but it’s tricky.  Our findings show that 60% of shoppers will abandon a site out of concern over their Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and that the same percentage of shoppers believe brands can do more to protect their PII. It’s no easy feat to navigate the complex intersection of rapidly evolving industry, local, and international regulations—but navigate it retailers and brands must. Further, given the demise of third-party data, an investment in a Customer Data Platform (CDP) provides the capability for brands to understand their customers by collecting, resolving, and actioning zero- and first-party data. It’s the right investment for any brand looking to craft a customer data strategy and campaigns that leverage CDP insights to deliver trusted, highly personalised cross-channel buying experiences.

Sustainability is more than a moral imperative.  With two-thirds of global consumers citing a brand’s sustainable practices as at least somewhat important, a number that only rises when isolating the data for younger shoppers, employing such practices is no longer just a moral must-do — it’s also a business-critical imperative. While actions like choosing lower-emission delivery methods and recycled packaging may be obvious choices, attention must be paid to the fact that online channels and websites contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and consume vast amounts of electricity. From reducing “fast fashion” to moving toward the creation of a greener online experience, developing a sophisticated and actionable sustainability strategy is complicated, multi-faceted, and crucial. 

Download the report to learn more about these themes, including specific metrics on everything from loyalty and returns to fraud and the metaverse.