Considering modern-day consumer behaviour patterns, it is imperative that brands consciously focus on the omnichannel routes. The journey of the consumer to reach a product being offered by a brand is just as important as the product or service itself. According to a recent PwC study, omnichannel experiences are increasingly finding greater importance. More than 80% of respondents reported shopping across at least three channels over the last six months. And the involvement of digital technologies across shopping channels is on a constant rise.
So, the more brands can ramp up digital infrastructure offering consumer convenience, the more they help consumers make informed decisions. It allows consumers to build an association with the brand and improves the chances of brands positively impacting consumer decisions. Considering consumers access both physical and digital channels to engage with brands, if brands offer platforms through which consumers can find their answers, they naturally become more credible. For instance, if a brand ensures that its store and product information are easily available on search engines, and also rank higher on digital searches, it is improving the consumers’ experience and increasing the likelihood of business growth for itself.
Digital approaches play a key role in smoothening the online-to-offline consumer experience. Globally, according to a Google report, “Open Now Near Me” searches have risen by a whopping 400% Y-o-Y globally. So it is clear that consumers are looking to conveniently access products and services close to them. And the first thing they do is to find out about outlets and physical locations that will offer what they required, through a simple digital search. As soon as they find relevant and credible information, they are encouraged to make a store visit. Their experience can be further enriched through appreciable engagement digitally via automated chat capabilities or physically through conversations with sales representatives during store visits. While consumers buy a brand, they do so from stores. Stores are where the association is deepened and transactions take place. Hence it is imperative that consumers build a positive association with storefronts, powered by digital touchpoints during different sections of their journey.
Local markets hold a lot of potential. The more they are known to the local audience, the more businesses can flourish. Stores and physical locations of brands can run local campaigns and offers and cater to the needs of the consumers in that geography. Customized offerings can be prepared. And building strong digital infrastructure and identities contribute to long-lasting consumer relationships with brands. While traditional ‘Above the line’ (ATL) and ‘Below the line’ (BTL) activities such as TV commercials, print advertisements, large format out-of-home, flyers and other formats are still prevalent, brands are taking measures to strengthen their last-mile connectivity with consumers. They understand the rising importance of purchases stemming from digital technologies in local markets and hence want to put in place the capabilities required to maximize beneficial outcomes.
Today, digital and physical consumer behaviour patterns are intrinsically intertwined. And considering this ‘intertwined’ nature, it is important for brands to maintain consistency between both these channels. The rising focus for brands now is on delivering unique experiences through ‘Phygital’ channels. As it stands, the concept of ‘Phygital’ offers unique, immersive shopping journeys that blend the convenience of online shopping with the personal touch of in-store shopping. With brands increasingly seeking to understand the modern-day consumer, tactics to align with the ‘phygital’ approach enable them to deepen consumer-connect. Though it may look trivial, the availability of credible information when consumers search for their desired products and services contributes significantly to a delightful experience. When the experience starts on a positive note, brands can refine it further to deliver an impressive, holistic journey. Such approaches visibly result in a rising number of consumers accessing the brand online and making physical visits. This eventually is something that brands thrive on when it comes to growing their business.
The focus on Hyperlocal has been on the rise. With the pandemic behind us and in-store visits becoming more prominent, brands are aiming to offer the best possible consumer experience. Helping consumers with digital enablement is a major part of it. Taking an example, according to our data labs, digital ‘Searches’ across categories have seen a Y-o-Y growth of 111% during the festive season. To highlight certain specific categories, during the beginning of the financial year around April-May, BFSI saw a YoY rise of 43% in digital ‘Searches’ and ‘58%’ in Digital Actions (Calls and Requests for Directions). Further, as the year progressed, consumer activity grew during the festive season with Consumer Durables experiencing a 74% YOY growth in digital ‘Searches’ powered by pent-up demand getting unlocked.
These insights show the growing purchase intent consumers have displayed over the course of the year and the increasing awareness on the part of brands, to offer consumers a frictionless journey.
Hyperlocal marketing, we believe, will gain more momentum in 2023. Technology is becoming a key enabler, and it is not just large enterprises but small and medium-sized businesses as well that are gradually understanding the role hyperlocal marketing play in contributing to revenue goals. There’s a growing focus on tools and digital capabilities and we can expect to see products and technological advancements enabling brands to leverage hyperlocal marketing and help consumers find smooth purchase experiences.