The client-centric perspective is here to stay, understanding the customer is mandatory. Today we share key aspects in the new purchase behaviour for you to build your brand strategy.

People are not (only) consumers, and finally marketing practices are becoming transversal, treating clients as what they have always been, people. “The customer is not a moron. She is your wife”, David Ogilvy stated back in the fifties. To update that coined phrase, I would say it, now – the customer- is all of us, all around you, no matter country, gender, social status, age, or background. 

Customers are always evolving from segmentation boxes into a hybrid typification where lifestyle and attitudes are more important to define (and search for) a loyal clientele. Due to the pandemic, several social habits have changed forever and new ways to communicate (and shop) have emerged. 

Globalisation, online shopping, internet culture, and the complex changes in the markets are exposing the continuing fragmentation of customers within all areas into small niche groups which want and demand a wide range of products or services. 

Fashion and lifestyle industries are overseeing this fracture, as not only the younger generation is targeted for marketing plans or brand activations. There is a richer perspective in distinct fashion segments, as they behave differently no matter if their social and demographic constitution is the same. 

Understanding the Customer Behaviour: Practical Tools to Frame It

Traditionally, one of the main structures to build a market segmentation for users in fashion business has been a combining analysis of age, gender, family size, income, race, religion, education or occupation. 

However, covering the purchasing behaviour has always been important as, in fashion categories and product offering, as the user occasion of wearing that product, the benefits -practical or emotional- wanted, the loyalty level form the client to the brand, as well as, the readiness to purchase are all clues for the brand.

In that order, it is important to consider all stages of the AIDA model (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action), knowing that each one of them would be different if we target several groups in our business. 

The psychographic segmentation is a perfect approach if you mean to study your customer deeply, as lifestyles, social attitudes, and spending habits are crucial in this framework of analysis, besides digging in personality types to understand what they really want or will want, even if they do not  know it. 

The VALs system or Taylor-Nelsen lifestyle segmentation can help any marketer or entrepreneur to understand consumer approaches and internal motivations to a certain category and main attitudes towards income, spending, and life goals. 

We can analyse our targeted consumer through the main three categories, the principle-oriented, status-oriented, and action-oriented customer. Inside the categories we can sub-divide them into Achievers, Experiencers, Makers or Fullfilleds, to name a few, exploring aspects as financial resources and how they spend it, social causes and environmentally aware, conservative spenders or constantly desiring experiences.

Customer Experience and Framing Our Ideal Client (Not Just Targeted Numbers) 

To profile our ideal client, it is important to know what she/he wants, their main needs, and inner perspective for the brands’ offering. It is helpful, inside creative or marketing teams, to create a character, a fully realized client to frame all the brand’s strategy

“Buyer persona”, “Customer avatar”, “Pen portrait”, all mean the same thing. I would rather call it “Client Stories” -even before our world was invaded by stories in social media-, because I find it more human, as everybody, has a personal and particular story. 

Their use is rooted in treating the client as a person and not just a single demographic. It had different kinds of versions in marketing literature in the past. All tools, or I might say, aspirational/realistic analysis of possible clients want to map the inner world, in order to try to predict certain outcomes regarding the purchase or the satisfaction. 

In this perspective, applying inside your business certain Design Thinking practices such as an Empathy Map is worth it, not only for product development, but also to imagine the emotional impact of your brand’s decisions in your clientele to push forward into offering the best experience you can give.

The customer experience (CX) is a multidimensional construct focusing on a customer’s cognitive, emotional, behavioral, sensorial, and social responses to a firm’s offerings during the customer’s entire purchase journey, according to marketing researchers, Lemon and Verhoef in their article “Understanding Customer Experience Throughout the Customer Journey”. 

To provide the best customer experience we must know what is happening in the market, what society behaviour is taking place and changing to get into the action. Having a deep understanding of our client story and to know what it cares about the world, is the best way to trace a strong strategy.

Emerging Customer Behaviour Trends and Useful Data to Understand The Year Ahead

Worldpay’s 2020 US Consumer Behavior Report states some key aspects to be aware of for displaying payments and customer interactions regarding what is important to them in terms of money. 

For example, they found “85% of Gen Z respondents follow brands on social media, with nearly half making purchases via social media platforms. Among those Gen Z respondents who have made purchases via social media, more than a third (34%) do so every day”.

However, people who were unlikely to make a purchase via social media or social shopping “51% said they don’t trust social media sites for secure purchases, while 46% would rather shop on retailer sites and apps directly”.

In the same report, more than 50% of the consumers use a mobile wallet, because it is faster, safer and it is convenient; they believe that in five years, smartphones will replace credit/debit cards as their primary payment method. 

According to Deloitte’s 2021 Global Marketing Trends study, the consumer sentiment toward digital technologies due to Covid-19 is expected to grow more than prior to the outbreak. 66% of respondents affirm they appreciate more well-designed technology. In this sense, brands and executives state that digital technology in sales and marketing are their priority; to fulfill a channel strategy that works across the customer journey. 

56% of people engaged in at least one digital activity over the course of the past year.- Deloitte’s 2021 Global Marketing Trends study

Deloitte identified some activities/habits done for the first-time during pandemic and people were really satisfied with them. All of key points ranked above 50%, as a superior positive alternative – to in real life (IRL)-; People had tried video-chats /calls, has tried an educational app, attended to an online workshop, watched a movie with friends located elsewhere, ordered food and tried exercise apps, purchased groceries to home or ordered delivery from a restaurant, besides being evaluated or treated through telemedicine.  

Forbes Magazine and a panel of experts in their business council discussed customer behaviour topics that were -and continue to be- important to clients, such as value-based spending (client identifying with brand values) and more socially conscious shopping (shopping local and considering the political, social and ethical ramifications of supporting businesses). 

Also, the rise of green products; an increment on DIY culture; a demand for more anonymity (protection of sensitive data, navigation data) and a greater “human” element in their virtual interactions (due the zoom-fatigue or full digital platforms).

People’s behaviour will always be changing. In this customer centric business culture it is really essential, as a strategist, to be open and flexible in consumer demands, how they feel, and as a brand, how we can make their life better.