Understanding the Digital Consumer
How is the digital consumer different?
The new generation of consumers is less influenced by the factors that were considered to be the major influencers of purchase decisions some years back. With the availability of a wider range of options, factors such as marketing persuasion and brand loyalty are no longer as important as they were. The digital consumer appears to make purchase decisions based on value and customer engagement. Shopping around and comparing prices is easier than ever before. And if you would be convincing the new generation of consumer to purchase your product or service at a higher price, you would need to deliver the best value for the money.
A new meaning to competition
To the digital consumer, the traditional definition of competition doesn’t exactly apply. The availability of options isn’t simply restricted to the product or service rendered but to other brand elements such as customer satisfaction, consumer engagement, and brand honesty. All these elements have also become important factors within a purchase decision. So, even if you have the best products or offer the best value in your niche, there is a need to constantly compare yourself with brands in other niches and see how you measure up in other aspects that also improve the consumer experience. This is because digital consumers would not restrict themselves to your direct competitors’ before passing judgment on your brand.
Shorter attention span
The advent of social media channels meant newer, more effective ways for brands to deliver their messages to consumers. It appeared that consumers were initially fascinated by this development and business pages had massive followership. But this positive side only lasted for a while. Today’s digital consumer has a very short attention span. While it is very easy to get the message to them, it is very hard to get them to listen to the message. People pay little or no attention to regular brand adverts, unfollow brand pages or turn off the visibility of such pages on their news feeds, direct advert emails to the spam section, and do just about everything to ensure their private space is kept private. The digital can easily decide not to patronise a business because the business disturbs too much. The range of options available doesn’t help the cause of businesses. There is a greater need to balance advertising efforts. The digital consumer wants businesses to convince them without becoming overly bothersome.
Lower tolerance thresholds
The digital consumer is a part-time marketer, part-time opposition
Digital consumers easily go out of their way to promote the brands they love even if there is no reward involved. Asides from the reviews dropped on important forums, personal social media pages and blogs are also used as marketing tools. Discussions about businesses patronized, products tested, etc. are commonplace in these forums and positive comments from a social media influencer can go a long way in promoting a brand. Conversely, negative comments could cause or catalyse the death of businesses. As always, word of mouth is king but it appears that the voices of consumers have become amplified. Consciously or unconsciously, the digital consumer can act as a marketer or opposition to any business. This creates a need for honesty on the part of brands. The rule remains the same: do not promise what you cannot offer and deliver on all your promises. Once a business is able to do this, the online reputation can be secured, to an extent, at least.
What next for businesses and brands?
Adapting to the ever-changing philosophies and approaches of the digital consumer is no simple task. But it must be done if any brand is to remain relevant. The rise of the digital age has seen many traditional powerhouses and systems crumble due to an unwillingness to move with the times. For emerging businesses, there is a need to enter the market strategically. Business approach and ethics must focus on customer satisfaction and meeting the demands of the changing times. A failure to do this could lead to the death of the business even before it has received any life.