Price and Quality used to be the most important motivators for consumers, but things have changed. Consumer values have been reimagined and people are quick to abandon brands that don’t support these values. The pandemic has caused people to take a hard look at what’s important to them in life and their motivations for what and how they buy are meaningfully different. Digital technology has leveled the playing field as everyone now has the ability to immediately cross-reference price (comparison shop) and quality (ratings/reviews). While these two factors are still important, other motivations carry more weight. Shoppers want to have confidence in and feel better about the companies they do business with. Want to know how to motivate today’s consumers? Here are five distinct purchasing motivations:
1. Ease and Convenience
The ease and convenience people discovered shopping online throughout the pandemic will continue to remain important even after the pandemic. Consumers want the same prices and deals in store as they would get online. They also want contactless payment, “click and collect” options, fast home delivery, longer return windows and easier returns and better self-checkout methods. For example, IKEA is beginning to offer small format stores to shop for furniture for those who would rather buy online.
2. Health and Safety
People everywhere have become obsessed with safety and it’s here to stay. Brands and retailers have to actively promote healthy practices. Many consumers will either pay more or switch to another brand to ensure their safety concerns are addressed. Accenture’s recent survey of more than 25,000 consumers across 22 different countries found that for retail, travel, healthcare, and consumer electronics retailers more than 45 percent would pay more for health and safety-related experiences. 68 percent would switch brands if they felt health and safety were lacking. Asda Stores, a British supermarket chain, alleviates customer safety concerns by passing their shopping carts through a machine that sprays anti-microbial liquid on each one in 15 seconds.
3. Product Origin
Environmental concerns are top of mind and consumers increasingly want to know how products are produced, what goes into them and how far they have been transported. Making these factors transparent on packaging goes a long way to favorably influencing a purchase decision. People want to know they are making sustainable choices and even supporting their local community. Ralph Lauren has launched a new water dyeing technology that recycles and reuses water from the dyeing process for its clothes.
4. Service and Personal Care
Shoppers want to be remembered and have a personal experience. They want more interaction with customer service as well as faster response times and more respect for and attention to their individual concerns. When times get tough, they want to know the companies they do business with will be there for them. For instance, Best Buy offers free in-home consultations about which products serve a customer’s specific needs. This builds trust with consumers and helps to lure shoppers away from online competitors.
5. Trust and Reputation
Consumer values are shifting, and people want to make sure that the company they are buying from has values that are aligned with their own. They don’t want to feel guilty after they make a purchase. Is the company clear about how they will contribute to society and do they treat their employees well? Many consumers would be willing to pay more to support a retail brand that takes action to have a positive societal impact. In the Netherlands, online supermarket Picnic uses 100% electric cars to deliver their groceries.
For at least half of all consumers, motivational factors other than price and quality are greater influencers on buying behavior, and many more people are likely to follow. Some of these factors are more important in some industries than others and have a direct effect on loyalty, price elasticity and switching. For brands and retailers to remain market leaders, it’s crucial to embrace these new differentiators to survive.