Stores are re-opening, people are starting to daydream about their future, and summer is upon us. We’re also seeing stronger than predicted retail sales. Here’s SIA’s Consumer Behavior Pulse for May 28, 2020.
NPR had a great piece posted on May 18, 2020, titled: Businesses May be Reopening but Customers may not be Ready to Go Back.
“I think some mall owners and retailers have been taken by surprise as to how slow this build is,” said Neil Saunders of Globaldata, a firm that follows the retail industry. “Consumers are very concerned about coming out. And some are just not confident to go out to locations and shop like they used to.”
Another study published in Footwear News on April 24, 2020, shared data from a report published by retail predictive analytics platform First Insight.
SIA Take: Best practices with communication to audiences applies to readying a brick-and-mortar store: follow CDC best practices and let your consumers know that; communicate updates regularly, always leading with the facts, and make it a practice to connect with some of your most loyal customers through the re-opening process.
Meanwhile, on the brand messaging front, it appears we’re a bit off the back from where consumers are. Adweek points out that the majority of U.S. consumers are already trying to return to planning for their future.
Like other editorial outlets and reports, Adweek classifies consumer behavior in four quadrants:
- Triage and information: audience is disoriented and needs immediate help (messaging should not be transactional at all, oriented toward support and essential needs)
- Empathy and relevance: audience is worried, grieving (messaging should be ‘supporting our customers’)
- Escapism and optimism: audience is beginning to get restless, bored or lonely and want to look to the future (message shift from support to inspiration, giving people something to look forward to)
- Recovery and rebound: audience is rebuilding and their behaviors and habits have changed – permanently. Your brand message must change too – goal is to show them how you’ve changed with them.
The article points out that most brands are in phase one or two, but most consumers are securely in phase three, with some even moving to phase four.
SIA Take: Move your messaging to match by enabling them to dream about their future, and slowly offer them ways to transact around that as you gauge their sentiment by studying how they’re consuming your content, or what you’re sharing on your social media. Also, if we know one thing that will stick with the consumer behavior change, it’s the fact that they’re going to be voting with their dollars more than ever before. Consumers trust their favorite brands to make the change happen more than they trust their governments (from this March, 2020, Edelman Trust Barometer Study). Make sure you’re prioritizing sharing your values and how you’re supporting your community, and your internal and external stakeholders, through COVID-19. Check out the SIA Resource Hub for Channel Mastery COVID-19 podcasts for more in-depth information and strategies to accomplish this.
NPD held a webinar covering the week ending 5-16 and 5-9. Here are the highlights:
- Consumers are spending in the U.S. close to last year’s numbers. While the growth is coming from select categories in several specific industries, consumers are spending very differently
- Entertainment dollars have shifted from dining out, movies, events, activities, in home entertainment, toys, sports equipment, and tech-itainment
- Consumers are spending in the here and now and with more money in many people’s pockets in the short time with funds from stimulus and additional money in the unemployment checks, they’re making some big purchases.
- NPD cautions for a second dip (or more going forward, as no one can really pinpoint a horizon line) as PPP and stimulus dollars wane
More highlights on the way next Thursday. Please let us know if there’s something specific you’d like for us to include in our weekly Consumer Behavior Pulse.