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2021 continues to be the year in which consumer buying behaviors and sentiments are seismically shifting. The pandemic seemingly continues to have aftershock effects on the nation at large, permanently alerting consumer views and habits on everything from how they choose to spend their money, where they want to live, how they want to work and more.
For retailers and brands, it can feel daunting to keep up. To understand how to best appeal to consumers and what will keep them coming back, let’s explore and define the newly emerging shopper personas as we, together, look to navigate yet another unprecedented holiday shopping season.
The Hybrid Hopper
One minute masks are required indoors, the next minute it’s at the individual’s discretion. Now, with the delta variant causing major destinations to retract previous statements (New York, Florida and Louisiana, to name a few), the Hybrid Hopper is in a constant state of distress.
She is playing by the rules but as the rules are changing by the hour … so is she. The Hybrid Hopper is most likely vaccinated but is still choosing outdoor dining as a main preference compared to indoor. And in terms of shopping, she might be shopping online one week, only to hit the stores the next. And vice versa!
The Hybrid Hopper is someone who—with the holiday season quickly approaching—is likely to remain as chaotic as her actions now portray. Her shopping behaviors will continue to be inconsistent with a splash of impulsiveness from time to time. Retailers try to keep up and have Plan B and C ready to tend to her needs because she’s going to shop around for the foreseeable future.
The Last-Minute Larry
Last-minute Larry is stressed out and overwhelmed and it’s impossible not to notice. He is suffering from instant gratification syndrome—he jumps from one activity for any sort of fleeting feeling and comfort and satisfaction after a year too long of being cooped up.
He leaves mundane chores and tasks to the absolute last minute (like buying that birthday gift for his cousin), because he’s almost certain that we are heading into another winter lockdown and wants to live life to the absolute fullest. He might run into a store, but he’s looking to get in and out. If he’s shopping online, he’s looking to spend all of two minutes browsing before heading straight to cart checkout.
The Discount Dani
Discount Dani is on the hunt for a bargain. They have been very cautious about how they are spending their dollars ever since the economy started tanking in early March 2020. They are all about bundling savings and not spending on anything too extravagant or that might be perceived as a superfluous purchase by their peers, friends, or family.
They can’t help it! Discount Dani will not rock the boat; they will stay the course and be fiscally responsible until this pandemic is a distant memory.
The Newly-Online Nervous Nelly
Newly-Online Nervous Nelly is an extremely anxious and cautious person and shopper. As restrictions have started to lift, Nelly is still reluctant to shop in-person, with or without a mask as in Nelly’s mind, we are still at the start of the pandemic.
What’s fascinating about Nelly is that prior to the pandemic, they wouldn’t be caught dead ordering any household products online, let alone fashion and apparel. Fast forward to today, online shopping is all Nelly knows and has seamlessly integrated it into their day-to-day routine.
Nelly is more confident in their online shopping capabilities; however, they still have strict protocols at the top of their mind before completing any purchase. Newly-Online Nervous Nelly is holding businesses responsible for upholding their Covid-19 safety precautions and values into the endemic era, and in doing so, will only support brands that pay attention to all the little details, from intuitive web interfaces to smart and safe logistics.
The Marvelous Mall Meanderer
The Marvelous Mall Meanderer is bold and brave, to say the least. Following all safety precautions for over a year and sacrificing so much of her time has caused the Marvelous Mall Meanderer to be extremely impatient and persistent. She is boarding trains, planes and traveling all over.
The Marvelous Mall Meanderer is doing every possible activity, trying every new restaurant and spending BIG on items she may not necessarily need. Why is that? She wants to enjoy life, her newfound sense of (albeit, limited) freedom and live each day as it comes.
The Marvelous Mall Meanderer is also doing everything in her power to not experience any FOMO, or fear of missing out; this type specifically lends itself well to Millennials and Gen Zers as social media’s impact has increased during this time.
What this means for retailers
Retailers should expect any associated sales spikes to happen closer to the holiday in question. Times of uncertainty, while difficult to navigate, often present a window of exceptional business opportunity. It is a small window, and nimble retailers will realize huge gains by planning well in advance, preparing back-up plans, and overall anticipating and acting to address changes quickly.
Now is not the time to sit back; now is the time for retailers to get aggressive and increase their brand awareness through creative ad spend. Redefine KPIs now and be prepared to cater to and address all these newly emerging persona types as we head into holiday shopping and beyond. We may be forging our way into an endemic era, but together we can—and will—get through this.