Findings Show Consumers Favor Brands That Provide Efficiency, Respond to Real-Time Needs

LIVONIA, Mich., Jan. 21, 2020:  Valassis, the leader in marketing technology and consumer engagement, today released a new research report “The Future of How People Shop,” offering brands and marketers a deeper understanding of the evolving behaviors and attitudes of consumers, and catalysts that drive engagement.

Partnering with Kantar to conduct an analysis anchored in a survey of 1,000 U.S.consumers and conversations with industry leaders, the findings show that understanding the consumer’s rich, life context gives brands critical insight into how they shop. While traditional purchasing journeys present consumers as rational, shoppers are also emotional – and an emotional connection to a brand can drive their decisions. Therefore, most journeys are non-linear rather than sequential. Instead of fixating on stages within the customer journey, advertisers and marketers should focus on the triggers that motivate people to move from one stage to the next.

“Consumer expectations have dramatically increased – demanding brands to deliver exactly what they need in real time,” said Carrie Parker, vice president, marketing, Valassis. “Marketers have an opportunity to better connect with consumers by shifting focus beyond the traditional purchasing journey and addressing individual motivations and consumer context.”

Product awareness is especially important in establishing go-to purchase behaviors. For example, some consumers create a valuable bond with a brand without making a purchase, which could influence future decisions.

“Today’s shoppers have more tools than ever at their disposal to research brands and products. Whether through exposure to online reviews or targeted ads, consumers are constantly converting information into new decisions,” said J. Walker Smith, chief knowledge officer, Kantar. “While the acceleration of innovations, such as algorithms and artificial intelligence, are helping to remove a lot of the ‘information sludge,’ it’s important for brands to prioritize informative and educational interactions that act as an integrated part of the information ecosystem.” 

Five key findings surfaced from the research, which will help marketers and brands break into the consideration set and influence consumer purchasing decisions:

  • Information drives the purchasing journey
    • 68% of all consumers believe they’ve become better equipped to make informed purchasing decisions compared to five years ago.
    • Consumers are hungry for information – 60% of consumers often research products online before purchasing and 62% closely read product labels.
  • Consumers want experiences and efficiency
    • Shoppers expect advertising to act as an in-store pathfinder – 43% of all consumers think targeted advertising should be able to guide them through the store to locate products.
    • Consumers look to brands to facilitate exploration with 51% of all consumers (and 68% of parents) expressing a desire for advertising to help educate and obtain the best experience following purchases.
  • Shoppers short-circuit their journeys
    • 69% of consumers prefer to complete their shopping as quickly as possible.
      • Driven by brand loyalties and demand for convenience, 24% of consumers have also signed up for auto-replenishment services.
      • Similarly, 39% of consumers noted they prefer to shop at a retailer that provides buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) options.
    • Although consumers are adopting time-saving measures, shoppers recognize there are often better options available and 38% wish advertising helped them discover something new.
  • The journey is social
    • 30% of all consumers (and 51% of millennials) will try new products based on influencers’ recommendations
      • 25% of all consumers trust advertising more when it features influencers or celebrities they follow online. Millennials have developed an even deeper trust for influencers with 48% noting heightened trust.
    • 28% of consumers enjoy engaging with brands on social media
      • 30% expect brands to “respond immediately” if they share a negative experience with a brand.
    • Consumer context is king
      • Consumers value advertising calibrated toward their needs – 47% of all consumers wish relevant advertising appeared when researching solutions to address personal needs.
      • 34% of consumers appreciate when companies use their data to deliver personalized advertising.

For more information, download a preview of the report: “The Future of How People Shop.”

About the Study

“The Future of How People Shop” study was fielded on behalf of Valassis in conjunction with Kantar, a global marketing research and consulting firm with proficiency in internet surveys. The survey was fielded Oct. 23 – Nov. 1, 2019 among 1,000 shopper-respondents 18 years and older. Responses were weighted by factors obtained from the national census to provide appropriate representations of demographic groups at summary levels.

About Valassis

Valassis is the leader in marketing technology and consumer engagement. We work with over 60,000 companies and brands in a wide array of industries, partnering to anticipate consumer intent, inspire action, and create demand. NCH Marketing Services, Inc. and Clipper Magazine are Valassis subsidiaries, and RetailMeNot Everyday™ is its consumer brand. Its signature Have You Seen Me? ® program delivers hope to missing children and their families. Valassis and RetailMeNot are wholly owned subsidiaries of Harland Clarke Holdings.


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