8 ways the nordic consumers have changed their shopping behavior this year

Author: Mette Knudsen

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The Corona pandemic has turned many things upside down and retail is no exception. Google has examined the impact of the pandemic on consumer shopping behavior in the first half of 2020 and found eight insights all retailers should be aware of.

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When the Corona pandemic struck large parts of the Nordic region, it turned most people’s lives upside down – and one area that was particularly quickly affected was retail. Suddenly, many customer journeys took place exclusively online – from the first research to the moment of purchase.

But how can you best relate to this shift as a retailer? A study commissioned by Google in May 2020 shed light on consumers’ shopping behavior during the pandemic to help with this challenge – both now and in the future and here we give you the eight insights that Google came up with.

1. Some categories within retail have shown a greater shift to online shopping than others

With a large number of stores forced to close completely or temporarily in the spring, there was a strong shift towards online shopping in 2020. Especially in fashion, house and garden and consumer electronics, the shift has been large, while beauty products mainly continue to be purchased offline.

A good tip, now that the physical stores are open again, is to be clear to customers about changes in your opening hours and conditions. You can use ad extensions for that, which we can help you set up.

2. Consumers are increasingly preferring online and channel agnostic purchases

The physical stores are still a large part of the customer journey. But as everyday life has changed for retail, it has also changed for their customers’ buying behavior.

In 2019, 27 percent of Swedes answered that they always preferred to buy offline. In 2020 that has reduced to 24 percent. While those who always or mostly prefer to shop online have risen from 13 percent in 2019 to 15 percent in 2020.

Between the two consumer groups, we find the largest group, which are those who prefer channel-agnostic purchases. For them, the channel is completely indifferent in the sense that they buy a product or a brand and then they do not care which channel they have to find it on.

With this large consumer group, it is even more relevant to be present at all points of contact in the consumer journey. It is therefore important that your online and offline channels work together as a unit.

3. Convenience above all

Despite significant changes in consumer behavior in the first half of 2020, our motivation for choosing a buying channel has not changed. Convenience is still the largest factor across the vast majority of retail categories. Home delivery and availability has, hardly surprising also been a high priority in this time.

Therefore, make sure to always be available. For example, a good tip might be to show your shipping options in your ads.

4. More online shopping involves more pain points

As more consumers shopped online in 2020, the number of pain points in online shopping also increased. In 2019, 27 percent of Swedish consumers experienced problems when shopping online. In 2020, that number increased to 35 percent.

Most of the pain points are caused by inappropriate user experiences (it may be too little product information, too long responding time from customer service, lack of product reviews, etc.), registration or login and lack of availability.

It is therefore extra important to pay attention to your customers’ user experience. For example, make sure users’ wishlists and baskets are always synced to their account so the information is available no matter what device they’re on.

5. Searches and video play a larger part of customers' online product research

When consumers need to research their products at home, they increasingly use search engine – across all categories. The retailers’ website and apps have also increased in popularity.

In 2020, 75 percent of consumers used a search engine in connection with their research, which is an increase of 4 percent from the previous year. Simultaneous, 58 percent of consumers have seen a video on the subject in connection with a research, compared to only 47 percent in 2019.

Therefore, it may be a good idea to help customers in their research. Give them another good reason to choose your products by creating instructional videos they can find on youtube.

6. Price, availability and speed are reasons why consumers change merchant

Quality and recommendations from other users are not something consumers value significantly in 2020. Instead, what really matters is the price, the availability and the speed. In Sweden, the most important factor behind the decision to purchase is the price (44 percent), while availability (42 percent), convenience (26 percent) and speed (20 percent) follows.

If you want to attract new customers, fast and free delivery can be a good sales trick.

7. Brands are expected to address sustainability and social issues

Have you taken a stand on sustainability and social issues? In that case, that will be well received and you should let consumers know across your website, app and ads.

54 percent of consumers say that sustainable aspects have an impact on their online purchases in 2020. It can be anything from fair working conditions and diversity to environmentally friendly production and avoiding harmful ingredients.

8. The shopping apps are rising

Half of consumers have now installed shopping apps on their smartphones, compared to only 36 percent in 2019. It can be apps from both retailers and individual brands, but retailers are more commonly used.

The retail categories within which consumers most often have apps installed are consumer electronics and toys (both 59 percent), house and garden (49 percent), and fashion (44 percent).

If you do not already have an app, it can therefore be interesting to consider. Built-in apps can both provide consumers with a faster and more reliable experience. And because consumers always carry their phone, an app can be a way to increase your conversion window.

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The Corona pandemic is not finished ravaging and neither is its impact on consumer behavior. That is why you need to step up to meet customers in the best and most seamless way digitally.

At Iternum, we can help you review and optimize every corner of your digital presence so you can meet consumers in a way that live up to their shopping behavior in 2020.



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