Understanding the "smart consumer"

With more technologically savvy consumers turning to online platforms for purchases, trying to identify your consumer and target audience can be quite an uphill task.

According to Patrick Steinbrenner, regional director for onsite marketing, ZALORA, as many as one in four Singaporeans shop online at least once a week, with 69% of Singaporeans researching online before making the purchase. This is especially so when it comes to higher-priced items.

The demand to stand out is greater than ever, with brands being urged to have a personalised approach without the risk of losing mass appeal.

According to Dennis Tay, founder of Naiise, one measure brands can take to boost their mass appeal is through personalisation and finding values which answer to a universal theme.

Citing Apple’s iPod as an example, Tay talks about how Apple’s overarching theme – Music – is a universal one. By having a universal brand message, marketers are enabled to target a larger set of people.

Understanding “smart” millennial shoppers

To Tay, consumers should not be looked upon as merely numbers, instead, they should be friends who your brand can relate to and vice versa. He said:

“Humanise a brand and showing it to your consumers. Be honest with them.”

Tay urges brands to be transparent and show customers the team behind the product and the story, which can be done through blog posts chronicling team activities to simple behind the scenes social media postings of the team at work.

“These are the people who should be recognised because they are the ones who are struggling and trying to achieve something for the brand – that is something which is relatable to the next set of people, who are your consumers,” Tay added.

Understand the “smart consumer”

According to Steinbrenner, the first step to reaching out to the “smart consumer” is recognising that relevance is key when it comes to the content brands put out, to connect with its consumers.

“Users are not a homogeneous group of people, they respond to different specifications and preferences. Having relevant information is not only key in acquiring customers but more importantly – retaining them,” Steinbrenner said.

He adds that having a cross-device mind set is important, when it comes to personalising the experience for a brand’s customers as it allows for a seamless transition from different screens during the purchase process.

Emphasising on the importance of this, Steinbrenner states the example of Myntra, a popular Indian e-commerce site which shifted to an app-only model last year. It returned with the revival of its desktop and mobile sites last month upon realisation that cross-device transactions consisted of 40% of purchasing behavior.

Understanding Millennials

Values such as meaningful, simple and stylish are those that resonate most with millennials or “smart consumers”,  according to Bojan Blecic, senior vice president and head of experience design of OCBC Bank. There comes a stage in their lives where they need to see a meaning in everything they do, they are at a stage where having both a view as well as opinion is paramount.

“They need a rationale why they connect with the brand or product, why it is important not only for themselves and the group they are in,” Blecic said.

This was what OCBC learnt when launching OCBC Frank. Frank is the brand’s offering for the youth, and has successfully encapsulated around 70% of the market share when it comes to credit or debit cards targeted specifically at the student demographic.

According to Blecic, brands need to recognise that when it comes to reaching out to the rising “smart” consumer, it is not always about the crazy ideas but rather finding intelligent ways to organise the experience in the perspective of the customer.

“It’s not about us and our product, it is about the consumers and what is valuable to them,” Blecic said.

Agreeing with Blecic, Tay points out that although having data is important when it comes to mining insights about customers and their preferences, it is difficult to win them over if the product or service is not up to mark. He said:

“Data and solid marketing strategies are worth nothing if your company is unable to create value.”

Read more from OCBC on what its youth content marketing strategy is like here.

Read also: What does the age of the consumer really mean?