The Future is Online


Many consumers who flocked to digital platforms during the pandemic have expressed their intent to stay in cyberspace. Bread, an online retail financing platform, was among the latest to validate this in a survey of more than 600 customers. What can brands do to improve their position in the marketplace and increase their ROI?

When the survey was conducted in September 2020, respondents reported spending more online than three months earlier in July. 47.2% added that they anticipate spending more online this year than in 2020.

Bread reported that consumer shopping focus has also changed to essentials and products they can use since they spend more time at home. Groceries topped the list of what consumers were spending more on among 81.3% of respondents, followed by apparel (33.3%), electronics (25.6%), home décor (24.2%), pet supplies (22.3%), beauty care (21.9%), yard and garden (19%), arts and crafts (17.9%), and home office (15.7%).

Bread said their findings revealed that respondents were more influenced by convenience rather than the brand name or quality. An earlier article discussed the importance of customer service, personalization and brand values, but the Bread report didn’t disclose the exact nature of their question(s) that resulted in their conclusion.

Another interesting discovery by Bread was that 55.4% of respondents said they decide where to shop based on the merchant’s checkout process. They added that 73.8% expressed uncertainty about even considering a store with a difficult checkout procedure.

One area that Bread studied was the main reason consumers made repeat purchases from online merchants. They reported that the top reason given was convenient buying and delivery (30.3%). 25.1% of respondents cited quality of products and 24.9% the price of products.  “Other” made up the remaining 19.6%.

Customer communication and cultivation remain important. Not only did 69% of those surveyed say they made a repeat purchase in the past 30 days, but 65.5% also revealed that they expect to make another repeat buy in the next 30 days. Another 63.1% said the ease of payment influences their repeat purchases.

Because of its focus on financing online purchases, a part of Bread’s survey asked how consumers would prefer paying for a $1,000 purchase. 51.9% expressed a preference in making interest-free installments. The remaining 48.1% said they would rather pay cash and receive a 10% discount. However, 51.3% also said they would make larger purchases if they could pay over time, and another 41.9% said they would make more repeat purchases.

What brands can learn from this survey is that seamless shopping and payment experiences are still important and will help foster repeat purchases. Those with higher-priced products and who don’t yet have a financing option might wish to consider that as another way to capture more customers. To gain clarity on the question of consumer preference for convenience over brand and quality, brands may wish to poll their own customers to validate this. What’s known is that placing a greater focus on online stewardship will help brands generate more revenue in the new normal.

“I’ve put it all on the line every time, win, lose or draw, and that’s what I want to be left behind in my legacy.” (Dustin Poirier, professional mixed martial arts artist and philanthropist).

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 275 professionals in the company’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

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