Adaptation Mentality: What is it, and How it Will Affect the Retail Customer Experience Over the Festive Period and Beyond
by Axel Heyenga
Posted on 12-03-2020
Which hobby have you adopted during 2020? Have you discovered a love for baking bread, a hidden talent for home improvement, or have you found that you can actually run for longer than 20 minutes without collapsing with fatigue?
Whatever new skill or talent you decided to explore during the past 10 months, odds are that you’ve purchased something to help you improve your hobby. And, for many people, buying these new wares has brought about new shopping behaviors and expectations regarding the quality of a product, service, or experience — especially among younger audiences.
Millennials want to experiment and adapt to lifestyle restrictions
The millennial age bracket has been the most open to adapting their behaviours and mentalities to the lifestyle restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Adobe research revealing over half (53%) have shopped for DIY/home improvement items or have taken up baking/cooking as a hobby.
This uptake plummets dramatically when compared with Silent Gen shoppers – typically 71 years and over – of whom 20% have picked up a new hobby or pastime, and only 14% have embarked on home improvement projects.
The adaptation mentality shift among young audiences represents a real opportunity for retailers to not only attract new customers, but to also secure long-lasting brand loyalty. Encouragingly for individual retail brands, millennials are increasingly keen to sidestep online marketplaces such as Amazon, and buy direct. In fact, 70% of them prefer ‘brand-direct’ approach.
The reason for this shift is that they want a variety of specialised products that can satisfy their new hobbies and out-of-work projects – and it’s up to retailers to use the technology and data at their disposal to map these new behaviours and deliver creative experiences.
Retail’s responsibility during the festive season
With such tight restrictions in place, almost all outdoor and indoor events have been postponed and cancelled. The world has, in many ways, lost its sense of celebration, and the 2020 holiday season has suffered because of it. Halloween, Thanksgiving and, looking forward, Christmas, have all taken hits.
For many people, shopping during the upcoming holiday season will feel like more of a chore than ever, with the traditional bricks and mortar experience restricted and all the magic that comes with it curtailed – think sparkling Christmas lights on the high-street, visits to Santa’s Grotto, and festive street markets.
But, there’s an opportunity for retailers to revive the magic, especially online. True, high-street shopping will still play a role this year, as it always has – but digital commerce will, undoubtedly, see one of its biggest ever booms in 2020.
For example, many big retailers have launched experiential virtual stores, enabling customers to browse the aisles of their favourite shop from the comfort of their sofa. Of course, not all brands have the budget, resources, or capabilities to launch virtual 3D tours or produce multi-million pound TV ads, but retailers who focus on shifting budgets to digital in order to refine the overall customer experience and optimise the customer journey, will be those who succeed over the coming months.
Authenticity and brand purpose key to holiday success, and beyond
It’s vital, therefore, that retail brands tap into their customers’ emotions when engaging online. People are increasingly viewing their online shopping as an underwhelming hunt for basic commodities, not a special or meaningful experience. Authenticity and brand purpose have been critical to building customer connections this year, and retailers must continue to demonstrate this in spades over the next few months.
Our research reveals that 80% of people who are going ‘brand-direct’ do so because they want to buy from more authentic retailers. They want retailers to recognise their specific needs and wants, and deliver experiences that speak to these new interests and hobbies, whether that’s a new-found love for baking sourdough, an interest in running, or discovering a hidden talent for brewing beer.
And, perhaps the most important point for retailers to remember is that good customer experience isn’t just for Christmas. The lessons we’ve learned during 2020 must be applied and built upon well into next year and beyond, not just in retail, but across all facets of business.
To learn more about how Adobe accelerates business growth for retailers, please visit Commerce Cloud.
Topics: Commerce, Customer Experience, Millenials, retail, Shopping, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA