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BizReport : Ecommerce : March 01, 2021

Look for virtual events, social commerce to stick post-pandemic

Virtual events may have been a shot in the dark for marketers and brands at the beginning of the pandemic, but their success is causing many to consider these types of events for the future. That, according to new data out from AnyRoad. Their new State of Virtual Events 2021 report finds that while many found virtual event planning challenging (46%), 85% believe these types of events are now here to stay.

by Kristina Knight

Zoom meetings, Facebook Lives, YouTube Meet & Greets. These are just a handful of event types brands and marketers turned to in 2020 to engage their followers and customer bases. About half of those surveyed in AnyRoad's State of Virtual Events report said pre-2020 they hadn't participated in virtual events. However, 58% now say they will increase their virtual event budget moving forward, because the events have proven to be a good way to engage customers.

"With nearly a year of sheltering in place and the prolonged absence of in-person events, it's been amazing to see the creative ways that brands have continued to engage with audiences through transformative virtual experiences," said Jonathan Yaffe, CEO and co-founder of AnyRoad. "While we look forward to once again gathering in groups and real human interaction, whether it's at large-scale events, in-person classes, or brewery tours, our research shows that online experiences will remain an important aspect of customer engagement for brands of all sizes. The future is hybrid, and while 2020 may have thrown us all for a loop, we now have incredible lessons learned to shape experience strategy for years to come."

More data from the report can be accessed here.

Meanwhile, brands might also want to up their investment in social commerce, whether through clickable social content, influencer-based campaigns, or an increase in social advertising. That, because new Bazaarvoice data indicates about one-third of American shoppers are now turning to social to find new products, and that one in three shoppers have now made a purchase on social media.

"COVID-19 has not only drastically changed consumers' shopping habits, but accelerated the trends already in motion before it began," said Keith Nealon, CEO at Bazaarvoice. "But even though more shoppers are utilizing e-commerce than ever before, they still want the brick-and-mortar experience of truly getting to know the product they're buying. As the pandemic continues, brands and retailers must have an omnichannel approach so their consumers can shop, and meet them where they want, when they want. No matter what channel consumers shop through, brands need to bring the in-store experience to the shoppers front door, and leave them with the confidence to make the right purchase decision."

Other interesting findings from Bazaarvoice's Shopper Experience Index include:

• 53% of shoppers have purchase private label brands
• 52% say brick-and-mortar stores have a better experience because they can touch, see, and try on items
• 32% of shoppers 'have reduced' store shopping trips

Overall, ecommerce saw a 39% YoY increase for 2020.

Consumers haven't only changed what they want in shopping and ecommerce excursions. According to new Redpoint Global data a growing number of consumers want personalized options when it comes to banking. Their new report finds that a majority (82%) of consumers want their online banking experience to be personalized but only about one-third (38%) feel their experience is currently personalized.

Other wants from the consumer side of banking include:

• 88% want seamless communication/interaction across channels including their local branch, the banking app, and the banking website
• 45% feel their current bank offers this seamless approach
• 67% say retailers deliver better personalization than banks
• 54% believe online banking options like Apple and QuickenLoans offer better personalization

More Redpoint Global data can be accessed here.

Tags: AnyRoad, Bazaarvoice, ecommerce, ecommerce trends, online shopping trends, RedPoint Global, virtual events

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