January 09, 2024
Brand intelligence steered by AI will aid marketers in navigating changing consumer spending trends. The rising cost of living is impacting households globally, with higher prices for everyday essentials putting increasing pressure on consumers’ budgets. In fact, in PwC’s June 2023 Global Consumer Insights Pulse Survey, 46% of shoppers reported that they expect to spend more on groceries due to rising food prices. Marketers need to be prepared to respond to the ongoing changes in global consumer spending trends in 2024.
According to Inmar Intelligence’s, 2023 Holiday Trends: Grocery and Everyday Spend Survey, more than 73% of consumers had planned to make cutbacks on their holiday spending due to economic conditions. So, now is the time to focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience and building brand love and loyalty by engaging with customer feedback. AI-powered technology and deep listening can help brands tap into what customers are saying in real-time, gaining actionable insights to authentically engage, retain, and attract customers.
Brand Loyalty Can’t Be Taken for Granted: Focus on Delivering Exceptional CX
Consumers have more choices than ever before and they’re doing their research on brands to make informed purchases. A 2022 Google study found that shoppers are being more intentional about holiday purchases, with 80% of holiday shoppers reporting that they researched or browsed before making a purchase.
This year’s Black Friday responses, in fact, showed that U.S. consumers were increasingly savvy and did their research to find good deals. While many retailers saw larger crowds compared to 2022, shoppers approached deals with a healthy dose of skepticism last year. In fact, some noticed that large retailers were advertising items at the same prices and just adding new signage for Black Friday. Consumers took to TikTok to expose these practices with videos. While sales were up overall, a Bloomberg analysis found that a group of 40 retail chains, which included some big-box stores, home improvement stores, and clothing retailers that rely more heavily than others on Black Friday sales, saw a 4% dip in sales.
Rather than sticking to familiar brands, consumers are becoming more willing to shop around, spending their dollars on brands that deliver exceptional CX. According to McKinsey, in 2022, approximately 50% of consumers reported switching brands, up from one-third in 2020. And, about 90% of consumers who switched brands shared that they plan to keep switching.
Consumers’ expectations of brands are also rising. They expect brands to listen and quickly engage with their feedback, are much less willing to wait for products, and are looking for brands that prioritize values like sustainability. Heading into the holidays, it will be important for brands to engage with customers who take time to leave feedback by providing responses that are personalized and authentic. When a consumer takes time to leave a comment on their experience, whether that experience was positive or negative, responding thoughtfully, and moving beyond the standard “thanks for your feedback,” will help brands stand out.
Going forward into 2024 and every holiday season, marketers need to be paying close attention to every step of the consumer’s buying journey. From ensuring listings and hours are current and easy-to-find, to staff interactions with customers in stores, to what customers share about their purchases on social media, every step is an opportunity to improve. CMOs will be going beyond online reviews to carefully take a deeper look at the feedback from consumers about their experiences.
Use AI-Powered Technology to Listen to Customers
Consumers are sharing their experiences with brands every day in the form of unstructured data. The amount of data available today on consumers’ experiences can be overwhelming, especially for a large, global brand with thousands of locations. Previously, extracting the most valuable information and insights from massive amounts of unstructured data was challenging for marketers. AI is making it easier, faster, and more efficient to discover opportunities and extract valuable insights from unstructured data.
To minimize the impact of changing consumer spending trends and leverage potential opportunities, marketers need to have systems and technology in place to turn unstructured data into actionable insights. To retain and attract customers, Forrester’s 2024 Planning Guides recommend that companies invest in AI-powered technology. AI can help companies gain a deeper understanding of what consumers are saying in real-time, pulling out key themes and sentiments from online feedback.
By combining different types of feedback, marketers can get a more holistic view of their customers’ experiences and take action to improve those experiences. AI can help brands extract themes, sentiments, and valuable information to foster more authentic, two-way relationships with customers. Tapping into these data-informed insights and, then, taking action based on themes that surface can help businesses navigate changing consumer trends, and engage consumers in ways that are more personal and tailored to their needs, wants and expectations.
Discover Brand Intelligence and Act Based on Customer Insights
When marketers use AI to discover insights from large amounts of unstructured data, they gain valuable brand intelligence. Brand intelligence combines structured and unstructured data about a company’s reputation, customer perceptions, competitive landscape, and industry trends and developments. This allows marketers to make more informed decisions to improve CX and helps brands discover the most valuable opportunities for growth and increased profit. Businesses can use AI-powered brand intelligence to quickly respond to shifts in consumer behavior, preferences, and spending.
Brands that make customers feel not only heard, but genuinely understood, will enjoy better customer retention, more opportunities to grow, and will be able to respond to shifting consumer spending trends. By gathering and applying insights from customer feedback, brands can better align their products, services, and experiences with customers’ real-time preferences and expectations. According to McKinsey & Company, brands that improve customer satisfaction by at least 20% can see a range of significant financial benefits including a boost in share of wallet by 5 to 10%.
As competition for business increases, brands that truly listen to and engage with customer feedback will emerge ahead. Changing consumer trends can spell trouble for those who aren’t tuned into what customers are saying. For brands that are willing to listen and have the right technology in place to turn unsolicited data into brand intelligence, there will be many opportunities to delight and attract new customers.
Cynthia Sener is President, Go-to-Market, of Chatmeter, a leader in brand intelligence and reputation management. She brings nearly 25 years of experience to Chatmeter with a background in local SEO, product development, strategic marketing, revenue generation, and sales. Cynthia’s customer-centric approach to driving business value, growth, and revenue will support Chatmeter’s expansion into new verticals. She joined Chatmeter from a previous role as VP of operations and product at Rio SEO and has held leadership roles at data-centric organizations such as Acxiom, Hanley Wood, and Constellation Software. Cynthia is an active Forbes Council contributing author.
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