10 trends shaping consumer mindset and behaviour in 2013

Consumers are more likely to get hooked on recreational pursuits, de-stressing activities and new technology in 2013 according to New York marketing communications brand JWT.

Every year they forecast trends for the near future; trends that will drive or impact consumer mind-set and behaviour in the year ahead.  Amie Lightbourne, Awards Manager at Booksellers NZ went along to a Marketing Association presentation about the ten trends to learn what might be good for retailers to hear about and what booksellers can do with them. 

Not everything here will be 'do-able' for bookshops but it's always good to hear new ideas.

1. Play As a Competitive Advantage
Adults should have plenty of unstructured play and recreational pursuits to balance out today’s organised and tech-structured activity.  Many businesses have incorporated this into their work ethic, with staff encouraged to take ‘adult recess’ at work. People increasingly feel they don’t have time for activities that don’t have a specific goal attached. However, the flip-side of that is a greater awareness that unstructured time leads to greater imagination, innovation and creativity which adds   competitive advantage.

2.    The Super Stress Era
The pressures of the modern day working era is taking its toll on people, raising serious health concerns and the rising cost of dealing with stress and anxiety.  Some businesses are recognising this and positioning their products and campaigns in ways that encourage relaxation and taking time out.  Bookstores can take a stronger position here by promoting reading as a peaceful way to take a break, by increasing the relaxation and reading spots in-store and by promoting their products that aid in stress reduction.  

Stroking cats is a proven way to reduce stress, the cat cafes in Japan reflect this trend by having cats available to stroke while you sip your cup of tea.  I think Time Out might be ahead of the trend on this one!

3.    Intelligent Objects
Everyday objects are being developed into smarter, more technical solutions in ways that make things easier, safer, more efficient, or more fun.  How can your brand or product affect these traits? Oakleys new Airwave goggles use GSP sensors, Bluetooth and a display so that skiers can see their speed, location, altitude and distance travelled, and also read text messages and emails on screen.  

4.    Predictive Personalisation
The science of data collection and analysis is becoming more sophisticated and cost efficient and we are generating more measurable data than ever. In response, brands will increasingly be able to predict customer behaviour, needs and wants – and tailor offers and communications precisely. 

The question for bookstores today is how can you shift your activity to be more nimble and real time responsive, and at the same time consider how you can earn consumer trust in taking that information. A good start is to learn how to use the tools that are already available to you: add Google Analytics to your website, understand which parts of your newsletter your customers are reading, know which demographic your Facebook audience fit into… all these tools are free and well worth exploring.

5.    The Mobile Fingerprint
How can you incentivise customers to take advantage of the valuable data you’ve made available to mobile smartphones?  Smartphones are becoming the one-stop shop for all information, functioning as wallets, keys, like a kind of fingerprint.  As a business, your information needs to be accessible to a smartphone and you want to be top of mind on that medium. A good first exercise to do is to look up your website on your (or a friend’s smartphone) and see what it looks like to customers who access the internet that way.

6.    Sensory Explosion
Imagine if more businesses convinced customers that it made sense to visit the real rather than the online, by making their space a sensory explosion that can’t be beaten?  Can you create an enhanced version of your product that appeals to the senses?  For example, Dunkin’ Donuts installed a technology in buses around Seoul that released coffee aromas whenever the brand’s jingle was played.

7.    Everything is Retail
Shopping is moving from an activity that takes place in physical stores or online to a value exchange that can play out in multiple new and novel ways.  Since almost anything can be a retail channel, thanks to mobile technology, brands need to get creative in where and how they sell their goods. 

Examples include shoppable walls and screens, and shoppable television where you simply press a button to buy.  During the 2012 holiday shopping period, Mattel and Walmart Canada created a ‘virtual pop-up toy store’ in Toronto’s underground walkway, featuring two walls of 3D toy images with QR codes that consumers could scan with their phones to purchase. Countdown did something similar in New Zealand for Christmas 2012.

8.    Peer Power
Trade Me is an example where people are by-passing traditional stores and buying off one another.  Possibly originally because they could get goods cheaper, it’s moving into a social trend where people place trust in one another – even someone they don’t know – rather than a business.  Popular peer-to-peer marketplace sites expanding the scope include Couchsurfing, My Task Angel, ParkAtMyHouse, CampInMyGarden.  Part of the trust movement is trusting strangers reviews and advice. Search Google for reviews of your bookshop and see what others are saying about you.
   
9.    Going Private in Public
With our wider online presence, we are living more publicly every day. People are coming up with more creative ways to keep things private in their lives.  The trend is toward defining and managing a new notion of privacy for the 21st century. 

Applications such as Snapchat, Pixelgarde, and Tigertext can blur images or control how long a text can been seen before being automatically deleted. The opportunity lies in how to amplify existing measures to retain privacy in your business, or how to encourage the sharing of information without people thinking you’re just taking.
Argentina’s Norte Beer distributed the ‘photoblocker beer cooler’ to local bars: when it detects a photo flash, the cooler emits a bright light, making potentially incriminating images unusable. 

10.    Health & Happiness: Hand in Hand
People are connecting health and happiness together more than ever as core components of general health and wellbeing. The rise in popularity of happiness indices shows us not only that we regard those states as important but we recognise that our fast-paced lifestyles seemingly take us further away from them.

The opportunity is for business to help us connect with long-term fulfilment rather than instant gratification.

The rising notion is that a happier person is a healthier person, and vice versa.  In Australia, Nestle’s “Happily Healthy Project” is a bid to educate consumers about the health-happiness link.  The campaign’s website lets users take a test to measure the HHQ, or Happily Healthy Quotient, which asks about lifestyle, behaviours and attitudes.

JWT “10 trends for 2013” is a result of quantitative, qualitative and desk research conducted throughout the year and for this report.  It includes input from nearly 70 planners across more than two dozen markets and interviews with experts and influencers across sectors including technology, health and wellness, retail, media and academia. See more on their website.