Today’s consumers are increasingly complex, motivated by a number of different and often competing drivers.

They move seamlessly between instore and online, and their purchasing decisions can often be unpredictable, making it difficult for retailers to fully understand the journey they take before making a purchase.

Understanding these factors is therefore a never-ending task for brands, and it’s crucial that they understand what motivates their shoppers to buy – and, crucially, keep buying.

Introducing the 5Ps

This is why we conducted global research with over 5,000 consumers across 13 countries to gain a better understanding into the factors that are most likely to influence purchasing decisions. From this, we identified five shopper profiles: Peer, Price, Practicality, Personalisation, and Perk Motivated Shoppers.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest group in our 5Ps of Shopper Motivation report was those motivated by price; 51 percent of people fell into this category globally, and accounted for 52 percent of UK respondents. But away from price, a small – but very important – group also emerged: Peer Motivated Shoppers.

Defined by their influence on where their friends and families shop, as well as what they read about products and brands on social media or review sites, peer-motivated shoppers like to take inspiration from others before making purchasing decisions.

From a global perspective, peer motivated shoppers are most likely to be found in the US and Turkey. So why are they important, and what can retailers do to harness their influence?

Nurturing Peer Motivated Shoppers

They matter because they’re among the most loyal of shoppers, being three times more likely to shop daily (16 percent), compared to, for example, six percent of Price Motivated Shoppers. This group represents just five percent of UK shoppers, but if retailers can win the heart of this category, they are likely to become the most ardent supporters and continue buying products again and again.

Back in the days before online shopping, our network of influence tended to be smaller, with opinions shared via word-of-mouth rather than listed on brands’ websites or mentioned in tweets. However, in a world where we’re now bombarded with marketing messages every day, it’s natural that we’re turning to our trusted peers for advice and recommendations.

The proliferation of review sites, and visibility of reviews on brands’ websites themselves, means we have quick and easy access to see how other shoppers have rated products.

Amazon, Boohoo, Topshop, and Boots – to name but a few – all have reviews integrated in their e-commerce sites, so shoppers can see at a glance whether products have a one-star or five-star rating and can make their choice based on this.

This is a trend with millennials in particular, who are more influenced by their peers than older consumers. Considering this group has been raised in tandem with the growth of social media, it’s understandable they’re more socially minded.

This is backed up by a study by Barclay Consulting Group, which found 68 percent of millennials won’t make a major decision until they have discussed it with a few people whom they trust, compared to around half of all non-millennials.

Similarly, 70 per cent of millennials are “more excited about a decision they’ve made when their friends agree with them, compared to 48 per cent of non-millennials”. This propensity to engage with their peers makes shopping a much more communal experience and brands that piggyback on to and encourage this will reap the rewards.

How can their needs be met?

Many brands, particularly those which are focused on millennials, are all too aware of the power of peer-motivated shoppers and are working hard to meet their needs. Here are some examples…

  • As usual, ASOS is a brand leading the way in understanding how consumers live their lives and chat with their friends, and is adapting its mobile platform to meet these needs. Earlier this year, the e-commerce giant launched a ‘screenshot and share’ function to motivate customers to share its products via social media, WhatsApp, or any platform they choose.
  • As a platform, Instagram is offering brands the opportunity to directly reach consumers and capitalise on their engagement through its Stories function.  250 million people around the world watch and create Instagram Stories every day, and this platform is becoming an increasingly powerful way for brands to stand out and inspire action. In August, the “swipe up” function was introduced, allowing people to access the products their favourite influencers and brands are endorsing. Fashion brands in particular have been quick to adopt this function, and although conversion numbers are limited, no doubt Instagram has more plans in the works for enabling brands to further commercialise this.
  • In September, fashion brand Pink Boutique launched a range of t-shirts with the slogan “U ok hun” printed across them, as the expression took off in popularity on social media memes. Although it’s unlikely people will still be wearing one of these tops in 10 years’ time, this is good example of how a brand has reacted quickly to a social media trend and brought a new product to market

Today’s consumers are increasingly complex and motivated by a number of different and often competing drivers.

Understanding these factors is a never-ending task for brands, and what motivates one shopper may be completely different for another. However, it’s clear that peer-motivated shoppers should be engaged with, nurtured, and incentivised as they may well become what every retailer is seeking: a loyal customer.

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