11 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2011 from Trendwatching: Applying these Predictions to your Online Business

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Check out these consumer predictions for 2011 and learn how you can apply these ideas to your online business for success all year long.

Each year, trendwatching.com releases evolving trends and insights for the upcoming year. This report is packed full of interesting tidbits and campaigns that a global network of ‘spotters’ have seen. If you love learning about innovative product strategies, unique advertising concepts and creative marketing ideas that could be applied to your business, this report’s for you. Each trend is backed by examples of companies who are actually executing on the ideas and making them actionable.

Apply these insights to your business by:

  1. Further shaping your company’s vision
  2. Finding ways to create new business concepts or an entirely new brand
  3. Adding a new product or service for a specific group of customers and/or
  4. Better speaking the language of those consumers that are experiencing the trend first hand

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We thank our friends at Trendwatching for delivering a report that’s like a present under the tree (well, for marketers at least). Here is a recap of Trendwatching’s “11 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2011” and possible applications for your online business. Find the full report here.

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1. Random Acts of Kindness  (R.A.K)
Having a bad day? There’s a company out there listening (and they’ve got flowers ready for you, too). Flower delivery service Interflora engages in R.A.K by managing a social media campaign that better connects with consumers. The goal is simple – brighten Twitter users’ days by sending them flowers. Consumers are experiencing brands in new forms – be it through a surprise gift or a compassionate action. Charismatic brands that provide the human touch through their interactions with consumers are getting noticed.

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Applying this trend
Think about your online business – what’s one single, priceless thing you can do in 2011 to better connect with your shoppers? A thank –you note or a little something extra with the order goes a long way. Find ways to brighten your customers’ shopping experiences every day and experience the impact of word-of-mouth for your business.

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2. Urbanomics
According to Intuit, “Today, half the world’s population – 3 billion people – lives in urban areas. Close to 180,000 people move into cities daily, adding roughly 60 million new urban dwellers each year.” This shift changes the consumer landscape by introducing more daring, tolerant, experienced consumers who are more open to trying new products. Cater to these city-citizens by creating products and services that appeal to local, specific markets.

Applying this trend
Find the common language between your product and these consumers. Think about catering your products and services to ‘city-citizens’. What messages and channels would you use to reach them?

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3. Pricing Pandemonium
How many deals have you purchased off Groupon, Living Social, Daily Deal or Tippr this year? Group buying is all the craze with consumers being more connected through social circles like never before. A good deal travels quickly online. Take Chinese group buying site Taobao for example – 200 Smart cars were sold in 3 ½ hours. Wal-Mart also used Facebook to run a group buying offer, where 5,000 ‘likes’ were needed to make the deal happen in 24 hours.

Applying this trend
Research group buying sites and evaluate whether or not they make financial sense for your business. These sites usually charge a commission (Groupon’s typical commission is 50% of the offer*), but it could make sense for your business is you’re looking to acquire new customers.

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4. Made for China (If Not BRIC)
In 2011, expect an increasing number of ‘Western’ brands to launch new products or even new brands dedicated to consumers in emerging markets. Western brands are still favored over local ones and consumers appreciate products that are tailored to their needs, wants and desires. Various brands are taking advantage of this trend today. Dior developed the Shanghai Blue Phone, only available in Shanghai stores. Levi’s created a global jeans brand, dENiZEN™, for global communities. The brand is now available in China, Korea and Singapore.

Applying this trend
Who is your target market? Is there an opportunity for you to create a specific product for a global community? If so, learn about that community’s history, culture, traditions and lifestyles or better yet, meet 1:1 with a person or group of people who are part of the community. All consumers appreciate products that are tailored to their specific needs and lifestyles.

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5. Online Status Symbols
Online status symbols are the intangible things that communicate popularity, interestingness and creativity in our culture. Think Facebook friends, Twitter followers and Foursquare badges. All of these symbols communicate how “wired in” we are in our online social circle. In 2011, expect status symbols to merge the ‘real’ and ‘online’ worlds. For example, Twournal allows Twitter users to transform their tweets into a published journal. Foursquare now enables members to receive badges for performing tasks (going to the gym, checking-in with 10 friends, etc).

Applying this trend
What type of status symbols could you create for your online business?
Think about unique ways to create symbols that are relevant to your business mission. Maybe you donate 1% of your profits to charity. Consider including a button or sticker with every order that your customers can display and further connect with your brand.

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6. Wellthy
The greatest wealth is health. ~Virgil
More than more, people are looking to improve their quality of life with products or services rather than just treating illnesses. Consumers look to products that that are designed to make them feel better, track their health and provide a benefit. For example, the Phillips DirectLife is a lightweight, wearable monitor that creates a record of users’ daily activities. This record is then uploaded to their personal site where they can compare progress against their own targets and other members of the community.

Applying this trend
If you have health-related products, look into medical social networks where people share, compare and discuss their personal health issues with others (ex. Phillips DirectLife, patientslikeme.com). Learn about what is most important for these consumers to better understand their needs.

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7.
Social-lites and Twinsumers
In 2011, expect consumers to talk about brands more than ever before. “TWINSUMERS are consumers with similar consumer patterns, likes and dislikes, and who are hence valuable sources for recommendations on what to buy and experience) are all about improving ‘search curation’, SOCIAL-LITES are all about discovery, as consumers become curators; actively broadcasting, remixing, compiling, commenting, sharing and recommending content, products, purchases, experiences to both their friends and wider audiences.”

Applying this trend
If you haven’t made the leap to start engaging in social channels, 2011 is your year. Consumers want to share, ‘like’, retweet and work with others when making product decisions. The connections that consumers establish with one another are extremely valuable for your business. If you’re already helping consumers connect the dots, think about other things you could do to take your business to the next level. Two simple things that Volusion store owners can do to increase their social reach is enable
Social Store Builder™ as well as the Facebook “Like” button on all product pages.

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8.
Emerging Generosity
Eighty-six percent of global consumers believe that business needs to place at least equal weight on society’s interests as on business’ interests. In 2011, GENERATION G(ENEROSITY) will continue to contribute towards the greater good.

Applying this trend
Think of creative ways to give back. If you’re an online business owner, give a budding entrepreneur business advice. Connect him or her with others who can support his journey. Support your local community, volunteer, organize an event, help others succeed with their endeavors. Do good.

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9.
Planned Spontaneity
Every day, your potential customers are checking in at local coffee shops, retail stores and restaurants. Geo-location is becoming a key feature in various networks and web apps, including Facebook’s Places, Twitter’s locator, Google’s Hotspot, Foursquare and Gowalla. Consumers are opting it to share their location with others to meet up with friends and family.

Applying this trend
If you have a physical store location, consider running a geotargeted offer through a service like Foursquare. In April, Gap offered a 25% discount for all Foursquare checkins. McDonald’s also ran a campaign on Foursquare and increased foot traffic to stores by 33%**. While this trend may not be appropriate for your online business today, the technology is something to stay atop of.

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10.
Eco Superior
Products that are eco-friendly, functional, tout superior design and save consumers money are on the rise. “58% of global consumers think that environmentally friendly products are too expensive, while 33% of global consumers think that environmentally friendly products don’t work as well (Source: GfK Roper, September 2010).” So while the number of people purchasing ‘green’ products is reaching a plateau, eco-friendly brands are positioning themselves stronger with superior quality, design and durability. The appeal of eco-friendly products will shift from a niche target to a more broad appeal – reaching even the “eco-skeptic”.

Applying this trend
If your product is positioned as eco friendly, take that positioning to the next level. How does your product provide the benefit of saving costs, help tackle a problem or prove superior amongst its competitors? According to the Journal of Marketing, 40% of consumers say they are willing to purchase green products but only 4% actually do when given the choice. Give the consumer additional reasons to purchase your product that they just can’t say ‘no’ to.

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11. Owner-Less
For many consumers, “access is better than ownership” and various brands today allow consumers to rent products – from textbooks, to video games, handbags, jewelry and even cars. Consumers have the option to upgrade to new products once available without having the responsibility of owning many styles of the same item.

Applying this trend
Think about your business model – is there an opportunity for you to enable sharing between consumers? Maybe you sell high quality handbags that are sold at a premium price. There could be an opportunity for you to implement a separate service where customers can rent or borrow handbags. Check out brands like Rent the Runway, Avelle and Adorn that are currently implementing this model and see if this could be an opportunity for your business in the future.

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And that’s it! We hope you enjoyed this summary of Trendwatching’s Crucial Consumer Trends for 2011 and learned a new thing or two. We’d love to hear your ideas about applying these trends to your own business – please post your ideas and comments below.

Wishing you and your business a prosperous new year,

-Olga Kazakova, Marketing Manager, Volusion

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Source: www.trendwatching.com. One of the world’s leading trend firms, trendwatching.com sends out its free, monthly Trend Briefings to more than 160,000 subscribers worldwide.

*Internet Retailer, 2011 promises more social media and group buying for Threadless, http://www.internetretailer.com/2010/12/28/2011-promises-more-social-media-and-group-buying-threadless

** Mashable, McDonald’s Foursquare Day Campaign Increased Checkins by 33% http://mashable.com/2010/09/16/mcdonalds-foursquare-campaign/

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One Response to “11 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2011 from Trendwatching: Applying these Predictions to your Online Business”

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