Understanding What Shoppers Value Beyond a Deal

A great price is important, but convenience and brand preference matter, too

Consumers love a good deal, whether it’s in the form of a coupon or a discount. But there is more to value in these deals than getting a better price. Our recent consumer research suggests that shoppers incorporate several factors into their purchasing decisions to buy, such as brand preference, brand loyalty and convenience. And it’s all affected by what pundits refer to as the stay-at-home economy. The result: Deals matter quite a bit, but for several reasons beyond the dollar value.

Convenience is king

With people enjoying staying at home, convenience has become an even bigger deal for them when making purchase decisions. Online shopping increased significantly across food, household goods, and health and beauty care products in 2020. Yes, it’s partly out of necessity. But they also find it more convenient.

Our consumer research found:

  • Three out of four said it’s easier to learn about new health and beauty products online.
  • More than a third find it easier to stock up on health and beauty products online.
  • Even after stores reopened, only 9% of people cut back on shopping online.

However, this does not mean the end of in-store shopping, especially for certain categories. Case in point: 81% of people still shop in person for food at a local store.

Online shopping for food, household goods, and health and beauty care products also seem to have peaked, as the latest numbers have dipped to pre-pandemic 2019 figures.

Still, Covid-19 has forced many consumers to try online shopping for the first time. This presents an opportunity for brands to elevate their online and in-store experiences to complement one another and adapt to new consumer patterns and preferences.

The power of brands 

Brands still have a strong influence on shoppers. After all, people look for stability, familiarity, consistency, trustworthiness and transparency in their buying decisions. And as great brands offer these, consumers will choose them by default. Three-fourths are more likely to buy from a brand or store they trust.

However, brands cannot be complacent. They must reflect the values that are important to their target market. People are increasingly socially conscious as consumers. Over half of people in our survey said they prioritize buying from companies with values matching their own.

So, it is critical that marketers offer a consistent customer experience, a relatable marketing message and an authentic image. More than half of consumers typically purchase from brands they’re familiar with because of their brand communications.

Deals still matter

Brand values that are relatable and authentic are important to consumers. But so is getting a good price—perhaps even more. Around 41% are now less loyal to specific brands and half are less loyal to food brands due to rising prices.

That is why 60% are looking for more coupons, discounts and deals to offset higher prices. According to the 2021 Deals & Coupons Report, 57% said coupons, discounts or deals have a high or medium influence on their purchasing decisions.

People feel good about buying from brands that care about similar values. At the same time, they also feel good about getting a good deal. They feel more satisfied with their purchase when they get to use a coupon or discount. In fact, almost 40% get excited when they do so.

Context as a consideration

You may be wondering what exactly consumers want? Is it convenience, brand preference or deals?

The answer is more nuanced: It’s about context. People want different things depending on what they are buying. A deals shopper buying household items may be a convenience shopper when purchasing groceries, for example.

Consumers know exactly what they want in each CPG category. When it comes to groceries, nearly half want quick and convenient shopping, and 45% want to buy their favorite brands. Deals still help, with more than a third wanting discounts and money-saving coupons to help cope with rising prices.

For household items, there is a greater need for a good price. Almost half of shoppers prioritize value. Thirty-six percent want coupons and discounts and 34% need to counteract rising prices. It’s the same priority in health and beauty. Forty-five percent expect the best value at the lowest price. Approximately one-third want discounts and money-saving coupons. Almost the same percentage want to find their favorite brands and manage rising prices.

Brands should adjust their marketing strategy and message by focusing on the priorities of their target market based on each category.

More to value than deals

People appreciate a deal, but just throwing coupons and discounts at them misses the point. Your target audience also values things like convenience and socially responsible brands too much for price-cutting to be your only focus. Sure, the deals need to be good, but so do the brands—and the brand experience.

Challenging and complex, to be sure, but that’s what it will take to engage shoppers. For an even more holistic view of the CPG consumer and what they value, check out “Riding the Waves of Change: Four Things Your Shoppers Wish You Knew,” a new report from Vericast.

Sarah O’Grady is the vp of brand for Vericast. A veteran of content, brand and social media marketing across CPG, beauty and technology, she brings an experienced yet experimental point of view to b-to-b and b-to-c brand-building and customer engagement.