Ep. 246: 5 Consumer Trends That Are Rocking It in 2021

Tips to Make 2021 Consumer Behavior Work for You

Who should listen: This episode is for brands and retailers wanting to be on the cutting edge of the hottest trending consumer behaviors of 2021.

Key idea: For today’s consumers, “value” means far more than getting what you paid for.

Action item: Consider and change, if necessary, the way you represent your organization’s values to your clients. How you communicate your values could be one of your most important marketing decisions.

Bazaarvoice, a shopper engagement platform, recently produced an e-book that describes five trends affecting consumers’ behavior in 2021:

  1. The meteoric rise of e-commerce;
  2. The desire to buy from socially responsible brands;
  3. The click-and-buy ease of social media;
  4. The willingness to elevate value over cost; and
  5. The lucrative practice of product sampling.


In today’s episode, we share some ideas for how you can use these trends to your benefit.

1. The growing popularity of e-commerce

It’s perhaps not surprising to discover that e-commerce experienced a dramatic rise in popularity during 2020 while large sectors of the economy were shut down because of pandemic-related restrictions.

Restaurants and bars, entertainment venues like movie houses, gyms, shopping malls, and much more were either entirely closed or severely limited to foot traffic. Those businesses ahead of the curve strategically pivoted to ideas like online ordering and new products.

The operations of many corporate businesses were also disrupted. Offices closed while employees transitioned to work remotely. Travel was suspended, and face-to-face meetings were replaced with virtual ones.

The day-to-day activities of the real estate industry were not spared. Open houses were eliminated and replaced by virtual tours. Agents who hadn’t taken advantage of many electronic tools, like electronic signing of contracts, found themselves needing to get up to speed quickly.

Similarly, financial professionals who relied on in-person educational seminars for new leads found themselves in empty ballrooms. Some firms gave up; others tried webinars with mixed results depending on their ability to translate what worked in person to the computer screen.

As our economy continues to recover and move forward, these adjustments have become normalized, which means they won’t be going away. Once the purview of the computer-savvy generations, online experiences have even been embraced by older generations.

Our advice for our listeners is to examine your customers’ online experience. Is it a pleasant one? Is your website designed to be appealing, and is it easy to navigate? Can most functions be performed in one or two clicks? Are visitors able to get their questions answered quickly? Does it include a chat function?

While evaluating your virtual capabilities, don’t simply think about today. What will your business look like in three years? Five years? When making changes, look to the future.

2. Branding and social responsibility

According to Bazaarvoice, it’s important to consumers that the companies they buy from reflect their personal values. When asked whether it was important that a company’s values be congruent with their own:

  • 83% of 18­34-year-olds said yes.
  • 73% of 35­54-year-olds said yes.
  • 60% of people 55 years and older said yes.

There are significant differences among the generations when it comes to the importance of buying from companies that reflect their cohorts’ personal values. But even on the low end, more than half of those 55 and older attributed importance to a company’s values when it came to their buying decisions.

If you’re going to remain relevant to consumers, the evidence suggests you need to pay attention to the values associated with your brand. Begin by asking whether your business has a clear set of values. What do you want your brand to stand for in the minds of your audience, and how do you communicate that to your clients?

We talk in the episode about giving back to the community and other ideas, but the important point is that you don’t twist and turn to satisfy someone else’s values. Determine what you stand for, and you’ll attract those who have the same allegiances. As Luke likes to say, “Your vibe attracts your tribe.”

3. Convenience as epitomized by social media

The model of e-commerce has already been laid out by social media. With a few clicks, retail shoppers can select their items, pay, and have them delivered in a 2­3 days if not 2­3 hours.

It’s a little trickier for service providers, but we suggest you try to mimic the experience, if not the actual transaction.

Examine whether you can provide your customers or clients with something of value that gives them the ease and convenience of click-and-pay shopping even though you aren’t shipping them a product. Could you, for example, offer a lead magnet? Can clients set up an appointment with access to your meeting-scheduling software?

Listen to the episode and find out the social media platforms most popular for online shopping. You may find ideas you can adapt. You might also consider placing your social media ads where people are looking to buy.

4. Customers/clients will pay for value

Value is more important to 34% of consumers as compared to 32% of consumers who reported the reverse.

On Stay Paid, we are adamantly encourage you to provide your clients with value and not just service. As Glennda Baker told us during her interview, when you are reduced to providing just a service, you become a commodity that is easily replaced. It’s the relationship your clients have with you, their experience in doing business with you, and the broader impact your service has beyond the mere transaction that will keep your clients coming back.

Bazaarvoice recommends asking these questions:

  • What experiences can your products/services play a role in?
  • How will your products/services create an elevated experience?
  • Why do your products/services improve your customers’ lives more than other products/services? (What’s your unique selling proposition?)
  • How are you curating and highlighting content from real people to highlight these things? (Think about client testimonials, reviews, and case studies.)

5. Product sampling

Ask yourself whether you’ve ever purchased a product after you were given a chance to try it for free. If you’re like 78% of Bazaarvoice’s survey respondents, then your answer is a resounding yes. (It seems like Costco was on to something when they decided to provide their shoppers with free samples of different food products.)

Providing free samples is not as complicated for retailers as it may be for service professionals, but the concept is no different. Simply ask yourself what can I give away?

Advisors can offer a free portfolio review.

Agents can offer free market reports.

Even more lucrative is an agent’s willingness to show a house before a prospect is prequalified.

Think about it  . . .  it’s your opportunity to start the process of them getting to know, like, and trust you. Who buys the first house they see, anyway? Treat them well, be accommodating, and they’ll want to reciprocate when the time is right.

A final thought

If you’ve been listening to Stay Paid for any length of time, you know that we believe the foundation of a successful business is built on the relationships you develop with your clients and prospective clients. Strong relationships are the way to referrals and repeat business, and, eventually, to the life of freedom we all want. Knowing what your clients and customers want and value, and delivering that to them, is the essence of smart relationship building.

Take these 5 trends seriously. Consider how you can use them in your specific situation. And keep an eye on the market as trends change, when you’ll have more opportunities to serve your clients like they want to be served.

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