How Australia’s retail playing field has been transformed over the course of the pandemic is only now coming into focus as brands reassess their strategies in the light of the New Normal.
It’s now time to step back and take an overview of how businesses should conduct brand building in Australia, now that 65 per cent of shoppers are reporting changes to their shopping behaviour, close to half are experimenting with different brands, and more than a third of shoppers are trying out different retailers altogether.
To take stock of what factors are driving retail success this year and beyond, Inside Retail has partnered with shopping app platform Klarna to release a new report that examines how local, meaningful, and innovative brands are winning considerable consumer support. The Brand-tastic! report reveals how shoppers have high expectations of brands and their behaviour, exploring what it means to be an outstanding retailer in this market.
According to the report, there are three major elements that indicate powerful brand building for the post-pandemic consumer. The first of these is demonstrating a local identity, reflecting the connection that consumers have to Australia and Australian brands. Secondly, brands putting social good at the heart of their brand essence are proving themselves meaningful to consumers. Finally, innovative brands are building truly customer-centric businesses with new approaches and practices to improve the user experience.
The trend to shop locally has been carried over from the Covid era when strict lockdowns channelled consumers into nearby stores. Whilst this was a necessity of the time, the satisfaction of supporting local traders has proved long-lasting, with 54 per cent of surveyed shoppers reporting a refocus on buying from local brands. According to the report, consumers cite the availability of unique and high-quality products as being among the major factors attracting them to nearby stores, along with better customer service and the convenience of the location. For many, this makes local retailers the go-to option on special occasions, as well as for alcoholic beverages and food.
Today’s consumers tend to have much higher expectations of the brands they purchase from than they did in the past. Klarna’s figures on the impact of consumers’ values on their brand choices reveal that 78 per cent of buyers believe the behaviour of a brand is just as important as what it sells. According to the research, more than half (55 per cent) of consumers will make the switch to an alternative brand that better matches their values, and 60 per cent of consumers have already made that call – migrating to brands they perceive as being more socially responsible. Popular values influencing consumer choice are recyclable packaging, a policy of avoiding cruelty to animals or conducting animal testing, committing to the transparency of product origins and ethical sourcing practices.
In terms of innovation, much of the energy retailers devote to successful brands now goes towards improving the shopping experience in recognition of the fact that consumers are now less willing to accept even minor frustrations with the purchasing process – especially online. The Brand-tastic! report lists the ability to track the delivery status of all purchased items in one place along with having all loyalty or membership cards saved in a single location as being amongst the key consumer expectations in the user experience for shoppers.
Of most alarm for those retailers who already think they’re getting things right (90 per cent of retailers feel they’re already providing their customers with personalised experiences), the data shows that only 61 per cent of customers feel that they actually experience this.
These and other insights suggest that retailers have a lot to gain from a broad reassessment of their branding strategies considering these and other distinct behavioural changes amongst consumers as detailed in the Brand-tastic! report. The data, which builds on previous collaborative reports and a new survey of Klarna app users in Australia, could prove transformative to retail business owners seeking to keep up with industry trends.
also features several case studies that provide invaluable context to the information revealed in the report. Studies of brand-building activities by Modibodi, Lvly, Zorali and Sheet Society demonstrate how retailers are applying their understanding of consumer drivers and making great advances in their businesses accordingly. By checking out these accounts of the retailers who have thrived in this challenging market, business owners may find new inspiration for practices that will pave the way to deeper brand success.
To download a copy of Brand-tastic! Click here .