Consumers will dictate how B2C firms sell to them, forcing companies to continually adapt and keep up with changing customer expectations and buying behaviors.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 9, 2020 — According to Forrester (Nasdaq: FORR), consumers no longer need to trade off price, convenience, and emotional experience when making buying decisions. They expect new products, services, and delivery models to cater to all attributes at once —forcing firms to enter their most frenzied phase of innovation. As a result, the future of B2C buying is not a shift from traditional to digital or an abandonment of self-service in favor of delivery; it is all the above.
As consumers demand better experiences of every kind, Forrester’s new research explores four trends that will define how B2C firms evolve to meet consumer demands over the next decade:
- Marketplaces will lose market share to brands. While companies like Amazon have gained tremendous influence in the past 10 years, brands will be the real winners in the next decade. Brands like Nike that have pulled their products from marketplaces already understand they must be in control of their own products to build experiences that create loyal customers. In 2019, 50% of US adults were indifferent to online marketplaces, however this dropped to 44% in 2020, most likely due to lockdowns preventing in-store shopping.
- Experience, not marketing, will drive demand. The traditional buyer journey must be reinvented. Today’s buyer wants to buy or test products before fully committing, emphasizing the use, ask, and engagement pieces of the buying model. Spotify is an example of a brand using innovative pricing and distribution that enables access instead of ownership.
- Values, specifically privacy, will influence purchase decisions. While climate change and racial and gender equality are top-of-mind, privacy is the most important to consumers when buying. In fact, the most popular corporate value among US and Canadian online adults is a commitment to information confidentiality and data privacy. Firms that don’t make privacy, security, and data ethics a core tenet of their corporate social responsibility efforts will face the ire of consumers and regulators.
- Traditional business models will become extinct. Startups and nimble tech companies are forcing even the most established consumer-facing business to rethink their strategies. To survive, companies will need to evolve through alternative revenue streams, expanded partnerships and new channels.
“Companies will need to discard orthodoxies around pricing, distribution, promotions and products,” said Forrester VP and Principal Analyst, Sucharita Kodali. “Companies that survive by 2030 will have new products and solutions that constantly adjust to fickle and changing consumers. These transitions are painful because firms have a lot invested in their current go-to-market approaches. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that sometimes even large capital expenses carefully invested in over the years need to be re-evaluated.”
- Download Forrester’s guide to how consumer buying is changing in North America and Europe.
- Forrester clients can access the related report.
- Read Forrester’s blog on B2C buying.
Forrester (Nasdaq: FORR) is one of the most influential research and advisory firms in the world. We work with business and technology leaders to drive customer-obsessed vision, strategy, and execution that accelerate growth. Forrester’s insights are grounded in annual surveys of more than 690,000 consumers and business leaders, rigorous and objective methodologies, and the shared wisdom of our most innovative clients. Through proprietary research, data and analytics, custom consulting, exclusive peer groups, certifications, and events, we are revolutionizing how businesses grow in the age of the customer; learn more at forrester.com.