Consumers began drifting toward online shopping once businesses learned how to monetize the internet. However, the pandemic lockdowns disrupted the buying experience, and sellers ramped up new strategies to acquire and retain customers.
The lockdowns and subsequent supply-chain problems significantly impacted brand loyalty, a marketing strategy that relies on relationships built on past customer behavior to optimize customer lifetime value.
Buyer behavior has always been a moving target that changes with economic conditions, demographic shifts, swings in taste and consumer psychology. “Two years plus of disruption by COVID-19 have dramatically stirred up what was already a murky brew to start with,” Newsweek notes.
The churn was most evident among late adopters of e-commerce. They migrated en masse to online shopping and quickly replaced favorite brands if they could find competitor products that filled the same need. Even in local markets, restaurants and retailers that added value to the transaction — curbside pick-up or free delivery — lured once-loyal customers to their brands.
Now, as brands brace for a potential recession just as the economy begins to emerge from the pandemic, businesses are placing a premium on management professionals with advanced expertise in consumer behavior, the factors that influence it and processes for analyzing it.
What Are Some Emerging Consumer Behavior Trends?
As people spend more time online doing everything from working at home to working out, successful brands will spend more time positioning themselves to meet customers’ demands for ease and flexibility than trying to persuade them about features and benefits.
Among its top customer behavior trends, the Marketing Insider Group identified demands for:
- Convenience. People are less wary of COVID-19 but hooked on the conveniences businesses began offering during the pandemic.
- Sustainability. Consumers want to do business with companies that align with their environmental and social principles, with 89% preferring a brand they believe makes a positive impact.
- Value. In an era of economic uncertainty, consumers want the most bang for their buying buck and will research landing pages, blogs, social media and other informational sources.
“As organizations rush to meet ever-growing customer expectations, greater care must be taken to provide the right service and support at the ‘speed of now’ to put the brakes on customer churn,” MarketingProfs warns, noting that companies now lose half of all new customers they acquire.
How Do Business Leaders Learn to Anticipate Customer Behavior?
Data analytics are the key to understanding buyer sentiment and optimizing the customer experience, according to the MarketingProfs article. Its research found that 73% of business leaders ascribe high churn rates to a failure to collect, organize and analyze transactional data.
As a result, businesses will place a premium on executive and senior managers who are data-literate in processes related to consumer behavior analysis and advanced business practices.
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, such as the one offered online by Bowling Green State University (BGSU), comprises a multidisciplinary curriculum that equips graduates for director-level roles in operations, sales and marketing analytics. The program includes the following courses:
- Quantitative Analysis for Managers develops analytical skills through a managerial decision-making lens.
- Consumer Behavior covers the factors that shape the buying experience.
- Customer Insights & Analysis explores research- and sample-design, data management, analysis, interpretation and other tools used to understand and predict customer behavior.
Students can complete BGSU’s online MBA program in as few as 12 months and be prepared to analyze consumer behavior in their business careers.
Learn more about Bowling Green State University’s online MBA program.