It’s a new year — time for new sales tools

Consumers are embracing new ways of doing things. Are you giving them what they want?

Here we are, looking 2023 in the eye, but I wonder how many of us will try something new to jump-start our businesses in the new year.

For the sake of all involved, I hope you intend to greet the new year with new strategies, new messaging and new ways to engage your customers because numerous consumer studies strongly suggest consumers are already embracing new brands, new shopping channels and more.

A recent study by McKinsey found that the pandemic has resulted in 75% of U.S. consumers confirming that they’ve embraced new shopping behaviors in response to economic pressures, store closings and changing priorities.

Those changes, the study maintains, have tossed brand loyalties out the window, with 36% of consumers trying a new product brand and 25% incorporating a new private-label brand.

However, here is the real game changer. Of the consumers reporting having tried different brands, a whopping 73% intend to continue to incorporate the new brands into their routine, with Gen Z and high earners being most prone to switching brands.

The study determined that the beneficiaries of this shift include big, trusted brands, which are seeing 50% growth during the crisis, and private labels, which have outpaced the retail market. Some 80% of customers who started using a private brand during the pandemic indicate they intend to continue using it once the COVID-19 crisis subsides.

Online shopping going nowhere — nowhere but up

The study also confirmed that two byproducts of the pandemic physical distancing and sheltering-in-place mandates — forced whole consumer segments to shop differently with online shopping spiking significantly.

But, here, too, the game changer is that survey respondents confirm their intent to continue to shop online, even after the Covid-19 crisis abates.

Based on input from consumers taking the survey, online sales of furniture and appliances are expected to spike by 30%, McKinsey maintains. 

Another research firm, Statista, made this observation regarding online sales of furniture: “Although typically done in brick-and-mortar stores, buying furniture online has become a developed segment in the e-commerce world. In the United States, furniture and homeware e-commerce generated around 133 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. In the same year, sales in this sector accounted for 17% of total retail e-commerce in the country.”

While Statista says this share of online sales is projected to decrease in the next few years, “the household goods and home improvement category still has a compound annual growth rate of 10%, beating out both the electronics and media retail e-commerce segments.”

So as the clock begins ticking down the hours of a new year, it may be the perfect time to consider some new sales tools that have not seen massive adoption by our industry.

Let’s take a quick look at TikTok as one example. According to Investopedia, “TikTok is a popular social media app that allows users to create, watch and share 15-second videos shot on mobile devices or webcams. With its personalized feeds of quirky short videos set to music and sound effects, the app is notable for its addictive quality and high levels of engagement.”

But before you dismiss it as a platform for folks to post cheesy videos, there is also a business component to TikTok. And as one considers the massive audience TikTok has assembled, let’s not dismiss the platform’s potential to drive your business in the passing lane of the fast track.

Statistics I’ve seen suggest that in the few years since its inception, TikTok is ranked as the world’s third-largest social network, boasting a billion active users, who are said to spend an average of 32 minutes per session.

Assuming the number of active users and the time those users spend on the platform are correct, the implications for using TikTok to engage customers, particularly younger shoppers, are huge.

As evidence, here are a few stats from two recent campaigns using TikTok:

The Chipotle restaurant chain recently hosted a Halloween “Boorito” coupon giveaway campaign inviting TikTok users to dress up for the holiday and post their images. The campaign scored millions of views.

The NBA signed up for an account to boost worldwide awareness of the organization and slam-dunked close to 11 million hits.

When TikTok conducted a global research study with a customer intelligence and experience design consultancy called Material to help define its play in the consumer purchase experience, it says it discovered a shift in consumer purchasing that it calls TikTok’s Infinite Loop.  

Specifically, TikTok concluded that the old ways of the traditional marketing funnel are growing outdated in today’s constantly evolving world where community, shopping and entertainment sync. 

TikTok maintains that today’s consumers rarely go from the top to the bottom of the traditional funnel to make a purchase. Instead, they often enter, exit and re-enter at different stages of the purchase journey based on their needs and wants.

Additionally, the funnel often leads consumers to make one-time purchases, failing to help brands nourish long-lasting and meaningful relationships with consumers.

 But instead of trying to force consumers onto the linear purchase path of the past, TikTok says its path to success has relied on “putting the power into our users’ hands, building around their behaviors, and following their lead.”

Lastly, the infinite loop accelerates through the TikTok community’s willingness to buy something immediately after they discover it. According to the study, it did with Material; TikTokers are 1.5 times more likely to immediately go out and buy something they discovered on the platform compared to other platforms’ users.

To bring this opportunity closer to home, I’ll share a summary of a case study TikTok conducted with a successful Australian furniture retailer called Fantastic Furniture, which sought to better engage with its customers and create more traffic to its site.

To learn which style of ad would resonate best with homeowners, renters and furniture enthusiasts, Fantastic Furniture set up a creative test using one of TikTok’s marketing partners called Incubeta.

With input from Incubeta, Fantastic Furniture was said to have created more organic, DIY transformation-style content to reach new and existing audiences.

According to the retailer and TikTok in a side-by-side comparison, the influencer videos’ click-through rate was 8% better, and their cost per click was 10% better than the repurposed TVC, successfully reaching their target audience and driving more traffic to the site.

Not only that, but the strongest performing TikTok creative saw a massive view-through rate increase of 108%.

To me, this is all food for thought as we face the new year.

And speaking of the new year, I bet that we will most likely meet 2023 with a hangover due to a host of challenges (supply chain issues, inventory imbalances, inflation, etc.) from last year that are still hanging over our heads.

Even so, I also believe that conditions will improve as the year unfolds. I also believe that now, more than ever, is the perfect time to surprise, delight, engage and capture your customers in new, clever and creative ways.

TikTok and other creative platforms certainly seem worth looking into.

Either way, the clock is ticking, and it certainly seems like it is high time for a change.

And now, there’s just enough time left here for me to wish you a year filled with promise, prosperity, perseverance and peace!

One thought on “It’s a new year — time for new sales tools

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our Newsletter for breaking news, special features and early access to all the industry stories that matter!

Sponsored By: