How Will Consumers Purchase Tech Products Post-Pandemic?

Habit Loops Can Tell Us

About a 2 min. read

Researching products online, gathering as much information as I can for all kinds of purchases from travel to tech has always been such an enjoying experience. However, I never thought I’d make a big-ticket tech purchase online without seeing it and trying it out in a store. Last Spring, my daughter needed to explore, select, and purchase a laptop for college. We looked forward to the shared experience of heading to the Apple store to look at various models, ask questions, and make that big purchase. Cue the pandemic. That laptop purchase was a unique shopping journey for me, and I’m still a little stunned the final purchase only took a few clicks.

As this Spring begins with a drop in most pandemic restrictions, will a shopper’s path-to-purchase creep back to tried-and-true in-person shopping habits, or has online shopping become the new normal? What is the new shopping journey?

Many of you are probably asking yourself the same thing. Fortunately, CMB successfully has helped our clients answer this with our proprietary solution Habit Loops. Habit Loops uncovers where disruption in habits may occur, helping brands to understand and influence the consumer path-to-purchase. Our analysis segments habits relevant to a brand and profiles each habit’s components, including motive, cues, behavioral routines, and psychological rewards. Habit Loops provides many benefits, including understanding what’s important for shoppers when researching and finalizing their tech purchases.

Recently, I was eager to get back into an Apple store to check the new products and ask questions; a chatbot simply cannot replace this important experience for most. However, as we all know, mandated retail store closings led to the necessity of more online research, so it’s likely that most consumers have become accustomed to initiating early shopping exploration online because there were less options and more barriers. This is good news for our clients who spent the past two years upgrading websites to fulfill online-only purchases. Companies also try to contain costs by providing online chat and support, as opposed to the more expensive in-person interactions with skilled salespeople. Perhaps the positive outcome for both companies and consumers alike is that consumers are now more knowledgeable before they come into a store for a final purchase. Thus, needing less time in-store. But they still want to come into a store at some point, right?

Recent research suggests that’s so, with 48% of respondents preferring to shop in-person at a physical store if given the choice. I was happy to swing by a Verizon store to discover my iPhone upgrade options last week. The stores were back to regular hours again, no appointment needed, no waiting outside of the store six feet apart in a line (or in your car). I did my homework online in advance, better prepared while also hoping I could save some time in-store. But if I’m honest, it was also a social outing considering my permanent work-from-home status. Count me in.

My colleague Mark also recently explored how Habit Loops work within online subscription services.  Interested in getting your customer journey research started? Let’s connect, engage, and innovate together.