With competition growing increasingly fierce, direct-to-consumer brands must find ways to differentiate and innovate. The Tinuiti D2C Summit tackled this critical challenge for D2C brands today, with sessions highlighting 2021’s emerging retail trends and expert insight into how brands can more effectively adapt their approach to retail in order to meet new consumer expectations.
In her presentation, “Leaning into the New Customer Journey,” Klarna Commercial Director Anoush Schaefer spoke about the shift in how consumers are shopping and paying, the rise of flexible payment options, and other must-know trends for D2C brand’s to craft a winning consumer strategy. Here, we’ve compiled 3 key takeaways from her talk.
1. It’s time to engage with online-first shoppers in new and unique ways.
The shopping journey often begins online or via social media. Consumers are now browsing and discovering products in new ways, across multiple channels, engaging with brands they love on social media and researching new products via mobile apps.
To engage with these online-first shoppers, brands must implement more engaging, tailored digital shopping experiences. For example, in March 2021, Klarna partnered with Cosmo to host HAULIDAY, a virtual shopping event that incorporated a livestream shopping element to allow shoppers to discover items and shop in new ways. In markets like China, the livestream shopping market is expected to hit $125b this year—and this growth is expected to be mirrored in the US. As more retailers embrace this new platform, the possibilities for it to have a significant impact on the experience for consumers is dazzling.
Another tactic retailers should consider is leaning into partner networks to reach new shoppers and drive discovery. The Klarna platform is just as much a discovery tool as it is a shopping service—we have a global network of 90 million shoppers and 18 million active users of our mobile app, including younger Millennial and Gen-Z audiences. We highlight our retail partners through collections and curated content, enabling them to reach our new audiences. Plus, under the Klarna for Business offering, we’ve built out an enhanced suite of marketing services to help retailers grow and connect with consumers across all channels.
2. Shoppers continue to spend mindfully—so give them more flexible ways to pay.
In a global survey of over 4,000 Klarna shoppers in the US, we found that consumers across all demographics were unified on the fundamental aspect of retail that makes for a stand-out experience: good value for money. In fact, over two thirds (67%) of shoppers suggested that good value has become more important since the start of the pandemic. On top of that, consumers are moving away from credit, towards more flexible, transparent spending options. According to the Federal Reserve, credit card balances declined by $49 billion in the first quarter of 2021. During the first two months of 2021, consumers’ usage of buy now, pay later services also grew by 215% compared to last year, according to a recent Digital Economy Index report by Adobe.
There’s a huge appetite for more transparent, flexible ways to shop and pay, with the younger generations leading the way. As a brand, one way you can cater to this new customer behavior is by providing flexible payment options for your customers.
3. Convenience, personalization and flexibility are paramount—take advantage of data and omnichannel strategies to elevate the shopping experience.
As shoppers stayed at home, they got a taste of the highest level of convenience and flexibility—and now expect it 24/7. We’ve seen this through the rise of omnichannel, with shoppers increasingly looking for a more cohesive shopping experience across online, in-store and mobile. These conveniences aren’t going away: a recent Klarna survey of over 41,000 shoppers found that BOPIS improved the shopping experience for 81% of consumers, while 61% said that contactless payments have also elevated their experience in physical stores. To meet consumers where they are at this moment, ensure you’re implementing an omnichannel shopping experience that puts convenience and flexibility at the forefront.
Shoppers also expect a richer shopping experience that caters to their personal wants and needs. Klarna survey data has found that consumers across all generations agree that brand values factor into their purchasing decision. The most important brand value for younger shoppers is diversity and inclusion, while older generations are more concerned with sustainability and innovation. To personalize the experience for your shoppers even more, lean into your own consumer-permissioned data to elevate their experience and stand out to today’s consumers.
Watch the recording from the Tinuiti D2C Summit here.