Marketers often look back at historical data to inspire their next big idea. What if we could look ahead instead? Digital communication design expert Amit Ghosh shares his insights on how to be ahead of time for digital marketers.
Rapid evolution on the data-driven world, along with hyperconnectivity brings new challenges to business everyday. Marketers have to constantly work and rework on value propositions and strategies to reach their consumers. Asia being the hub of fastest growing economies we are surrounded by signals, of our future consumer behaviour. Marketers who detect these signals and invest in future insights will stay ahead of the curve. It is time not to dig in history to predict the future but to follow the future to be there.
To get a glimpse of the future here are few emerging trends that have the power to shape the future. it will give an insight into how consumers interact with and what they expect from businesses.
Understanding The Future Consumer
As the line between digital and analogue diminishes, consumers are increasingly making no distinction between what is online and what is offline. If we try to describe the future consumer, two elements recur;
one being “the category blur” and other “the enhanced experience”. They are merging ideas to create
a seamless environment that straddles both the worlds. From the enhanced experience perspective, category and industry barriers are breaking down
as consumers are demanding more.
Traditionally brick and mortar categories such as beauty and food are rapidly digitizing. Conversely, some consumers are seeking more analogue environments such as farmers and flea markets, foregoing the convenience of e-commerce for a real-world interaction.
Traditional business models often do not often exist in newer economies, and opportunities exists on the space creating a vast potential for invention, and innovations.
Following are the 5 consumer trends that will impact and influence business & industries in the coming years. Entrepreneurs and business owners can leverage them to innovate product and services which will build stronger market positions.
[n. ˈʃɒpɪŋ məs]
Consumer moments that combine deals with entertainment to create carnival-like experiences.
Consumers are increasingly participating in shopping festivals held on certain occasions. A mix of commerce and entertainment, these extravaganzas thrive by creating carnival-like experiences.
During these events, both online and offline retailers leverage excitement around limited-time purchasing opportunities to harness buzz. This also allows consumers across Asia to save, splurge, and participate in a collective experience.
Singles day (11.11) In 2017, Alibaba gave out rewards worth 270 million yuan and televised proceedings in China with a litany of international stars; ensuring full coverage across all online and offline channels. Celebrities including David and Victoria Beckham, retired NBA star Kobe Bryant, and Jack Ma entertained audiences at a live TV event. Alibaba is working to make 11.11 as international as possible and has been adept at leveraging the natural link between shopping and entertainment. Source : South China Morning Post
Singles Day is one of the perfect example of people opting to shop during Shoppingmas and not just during festivals as we have observed in the past. 2017 Singles Day saw a total gross merchandise value (GMV) increase of 39% compared to 2016, which previously saw an increase of 32% compared to 2015. 93% of Chinese consumers planned to shop during the 2017 Singles Day to “buy something good” i.e. imported goods beyond discounted items.
It is also to be noted there has been 2.6 times rise in Google search for different shopping festivals like Black Friday sale, Cyber Monday over last few years, limited period sale in Xiomi phones and Smart TV
in India has been a huge success, the product goes out of stock in few minutes after the sale starts.
It’s very important to design the communication in sync with operational function, that all campaigns take that into account and marry compelling and engaging content with limited-time deals. That leads the key to a successful Shoppingmas.
The management implications for the above trend across organizations are profound and require bold actions from business leaders to integrate these events seamlessly into their plans.
As these events occur for a very short period of time and are intense in nature, proper planning,
demand forecast, supply chain, customer service, and other functions need to work in tandem to kick them off successfully.
An end-to-end strategic role during these events, which also serve as a golden opportunity for marketers to place themselves at the operational epicentre of the company and showcase the important role of marketing as a strategic value driver.
[n. riːteɪl ærɪti]
The point where retail and machine intelligence merge to turn every environment into an opportunity for shopping
Retailarity is a tribute to the concept of Singularity by blurring the line between online and offline retail. Omnichannel is a term used by marketers that attempts to marry traditional retail channels with an online store sales strategy.
Being able to purchase any product, any time is one of the core features of e-commerce. Retailarity ramps that up a notch by taking any surface, any device, any location, and merging it with AI to create tailored shopping opportunities which also feel more tactile and sensory in nature.
Retailarity is a practice in which consumers are encouraged to move from the digital space to physical environments to shop. As we shift into a world where everyday machines such as fridges and rice cookers could potentially shop for us either on command or autonomously, IoT helps enable Retailarity’s momentum.
Retailarity takes consumers away from the flat world of “swipe, swipe” e-commerce and back into 3D. Retailarity is a truly hybridized model that adapts to a customer’s needs and desires. Any location
becomes a shoppable playground, with analogue environments harnessing the best of Search and targeted recommendations. The real and virtual shopping environments powered by machine intelligence come together to create an experience that feels as tangible as a walk through a farmer’s market for one click shopping.
More than 40 % of of those who use their voice-activated speaker say they use the device to order products they need like groceries and household items at least once a week.
Amazon Dash – An early example of the growing trend of IoT and Retailarity is the Amazon Dash Button, a device that enables consumers to buy products with just one click. Amazon Dash is one of the fastest-growing services for the e-commerce giant and grew almost fivefold since its initial launch.
Google Voice Assist is growing at a tremendous pace as all Android phones are powered with Google Voice Assist. Click to read more on Google Voice Assist
Also Read : Amazon Echo and Alexa
The Future :
VR-powered stores are more visual, immersive, and highly interactive, and bridge the gap between the often flat world of online retail and the convenience of offline retail.
To conclude on the implications, organizations and marketing leaders will have to consistently gather insights and use them to deliver timely, relevant, and seamless Retailarity. Marketing leaders need to educate organizations internally about how these new formats and integrate successfully across functions, planning cycles, and management systems.
A re-interpretation of leisure experiences in a way that straddles categories.
Leisuressence already forming as a trend; a 4X increase in volume for search trends around travel
experiences in the past three years, with curiosity for Experiences specifically growing more than 96X globally. [Source Global Internet Data]
Furthermore, the fact that more than 50% of travel-related content watched on YouTube is about tourist destinations indicates that people are looking to curate experiences beyond what regular travel operators provide.
Leisure has been reinvented, creating a new wave of leisure activities. Flights have become gateways to new countries with new experiences. Holidays now have become opportunities to learn new skills, follow
an influencer’s digital footsteps, or get fit. Even day-to-day downtime in Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Tokyo, and Shanghai now treats leisure, as well as fitness categories, fuse with other activities. This merger of multiple experiences creates a unique digital fingerprint. Daily routines become an experience—dining establishments have become photographic backdrops, fitness centres the equivalent of a digital playground for adults, while young consumers connect with their communities via live streaming.
With technological advancement, our downtime moments amplify into a shared theatre as animation and VR integrate with live streaming. Even the briefest of leisure experiences feel like a micro-holiday—short, quick vacations that revive the mind and body—as digital enhances analogue environments. Just
like their social media and favourite YouTube content, consumers expect eclecticism and a touch of visual magic from their leisure activities, as online behaviour influences what is expected offline.
Singapore’s Pure Fitness gym has launched the country’s first “immersive fitness” concept17 at one of its centres. Cinema-quality video content is projected onto a screen in a custom-built studio for its cycling class. Patrons get to ride over steep glaciers and through a space age city, enjoying an interesting mix of exercise, gamification, and fantasy. Immersive Fitness feels like a big movie theatre or a gaming environment, targeted at customers searching for more from their typical exercise class. It provides a forum that enables consumers to linger. It blurs the categories of what the wellness industry and consequently, the leisure industry have become.
With technology such as AR and VR continuing to grow in popularity, brands may want to tap into the virtual world to create communication and storytelling that was previously viewed as too expensive.
For example, airlines or hotels could bring France to life with VR or even live streaming the streets of Paris to better articulate promotions
Creating and delivering seamless, relevant, and differentiated experiences are the key to success. Marketing leaders must put themselves in a pivotal role. More traditional industries and typical legacy players may not have the same depth of knowledge compared to younger organizations and more disruptive brands. Adding in experiences and what comes with it into leisure products is exactly what could help drive differentiation and create an impact in the mind of consumers of future.
Part-time Preneurs :
[n. pɑːt taɪmprəˈnɜːz]
Consumers who have a full-time job but also a business on the side
Quitting work and launching a start-up is not everyone’s dream. Sometimes just making an extra buck on the side provides enough incentive to spend less time-consuming content and more time doing stuff. The spread of co-working spaces, which can feel as ubiquitous as coffee shops in some parts of Bangkok, has enabled consumers to drop in for a few hours rather than committing full days to monetize their passions and abilities.
There has been 3.8X growth over the last five years in co-working space queries.
With the data above, it is not difficult to predict that digital users are showing a strong shift in mindset about workspace environments. Searches around personalized part-time jobs have risen exponentially
in the last two years (9.7X) and those for location-specific co-working spaces have grown 4X.
On the other hand, traditional working environments, have stayed relatively constant. It would be safe
to say that the trend of Part-time Preneurs is on the rise. This conclusion is backed up by Euromonitor’s Global Consumer Trends Survey 2017; it shows a spike in the number of people who desire flexibility
at work, and hence aspire to self-employment, versus those who choose financial stability. According to Euromonitor, close to 60% of millennials expect to be self-employed, versus less than 20% who opt for
On the changing definition of what constitutes an entrepreneur, the phrase “start-up” could take a broader meaning compared to the general perception.
Launching a business can be as straightforward as making ten bars of soap a week and selling these items on a Shopify platform.
Here’s a prediction. Every business will eventually become a tech company in some form. One way or another, AI and other emerging tools and technologies will power their businesses. Consumers don’t think of their day-to-day realities as either digital or analogue. Nor do they indulge in conversations about digital transformations or AI. Instead, they focus on tools that enable what they aspire
The winners will be brands that integrate these tools without being tech-heavy and provide an outside-in perspective that puts consumers first, instead of technology.
The implications for marketing leaders and their organizations are numerous. Firstly, Part-time Preneurs may become the new entrants in the market, providing challenges for established brands as they don’t operate in traditional, legacy models, as opposed to conventional competition. They may seem small at first, but with the change of technology, access to consumers, and marketing communication,
Part-time Preneurs may suddenly scale up their businesses with unusually high growth rates. They may also be a source of innovation, inspiration, and co-operation, so marketing leaders should monitor
them closely, not only for competitive reasons but also to assess whether there are opportunities for partnerships, joint ventures, and other forms of win-win situations.
Curated For Me :
[ˈkjʊərɪtɪd fɔː miː]
A practice where customized shopping experiences and acceptance of AI recommendations are the norm and not the exception
With advancements in technology one-to-one messaging, and on-demand product and content personalization are now possible. Traditional definitions of segmentation are disappearing as lifestyle
and behaviour become more relevant to targeting than location and income. In the future, messaging could take into account mood and would be more responsive to emotional factors and create recommendations, rather than only relying on what consumers have looked at previously online or what traditional segmentation suggests. Brand interactions are becoming more intimate, informal, and consequently, relevant as AI learns more about our wants, needs, and desires.
There has been more than 60% growth in “for me” searches on mobile phones in the past two years
Chatbot On the emerging trend – to offer a more personalised experience. Previously, most brand communication was a one-way interaction from brand to all consumers. Chatbots allow a more personalized experience as well as bring more personality to generally faceless corporations and brands, all enabled by technology for the consumers of future.
This shifts the dynamic from many-to-one to one-to-one. One of the most exciting applications
of Curated For Me is the growth of influencers and celebrities that are as niche as the consumer demands.
The implications for marketing leaders and organizations to deliver in a more personalized way to consumers are quite profound. It requires a distinct approach to deep insights on consumers which are
relevant, updated, timely, and actionable. Bringing this concept to life is not only a task for marketing—it requires typically the entire organization to work in tandem and towards the same goal. From ideation/design, prototyping, sourcing, supply chain, and all the way downstream towards consumers; organizations need to align processes and functions to reflect this approach of delivering products and
services in a more personalized, curated manner.
Please share your thoughts on – How to respond to consumer trends and address the changing needs of Consumers of Future.