Online shopping: How consumer behavior has changed and what brands should do

Researches & Insights
February 28, 2022 / Author: Gaydova Christina

We all know ‌the ‌sales funnel, which includes four stages: awareness, interest, desire, and finally, action. The initial goal of a sales funnel is the reflection of the customer’s journey from the first interaction with advertising or product information to purchase. But the world isn’t static. It develops, one generation follows another, and digitization influences all spheres of life. Can the sales funnel of the turn of the last century still be relevant? Of course, not. 

During that time, not only did the Internet appear, but all services moved there with the help of different devices, payment options, and e-commerce platforms. All these innovations have influenced both the consumer and the sales funnel. We are going to reveal the changes in customer experience and tell you how brands can learn to coexist with these trends. 


Covid- 19 became one of the greatest boosters of changes in the shopping process. Restrictions on public places have forced consumers and brands around the world to accept the new rules of the game and move to an online format. But one of the most significant changes is a new way of communicating with customers. Before online shopping, there was a mediator between the brand and the customer — the shopping assistant. Even though people are not very willing to interact with them, in practice they are the ones who help customers make decisions when they are in doubt. Online, if a user doesn’t know what to choose or needs additional information, he will simply leave the marketplace. Even if he was at the last stage of the funnel.  

  • What to do about it?
    There are two effective solutions. The first is a virtual assistant that can answer up to 80% of questions twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Moreover, according to Statista, 34% of online shoppers prefer online chatbots for support rather than real human agents. But this method is too costly, both financially and in terms of time, and will not suit all brands. So, here is another fix — social networks. 

    Social networks work not only as an effective advertising channel but also as an opportunity to communicate with customers in a freer environment. With the help of relevant advertising formats, social networks can accompany and motivate the user at every stage of the funnel. But also it’s a great opportunity to build a strong reputation and increase Brand Awareness: 77% of shoppers contact brands on social media with questions concerning quality and availability. 


One of the influence factors is worldwide trends. Eco-friendliness isn’t an exception. Even in 2019, according to ‌PWC research, 37% of respondents said that they are looking for more environmentally friendly products. And since that time the popularity and actuality of this problem have unstoppably spread. Consumers now more often opt for artificial leather and fur, as well as plastic and other chemical additives. 

  • What to do about it?
    Trends are important, of course, but not so important as starting a new business built on sustainability. However, if you are already using elements of trend trends, it is worth telling the customer about it. Both on marketplaces and physical product labels. Studies show that a buyer needs only one minute to get acquainted with a product to make a decision. That’s why it’s so important to demonstrate your benefits clearly and catchily so that they won’t go unnoticed and the consumer will choose your brand. 


No one can deny that the Internet has given people plenty of new opportunities and comfort, and online shopping is just one of them. Hardly anyone wants to give it up. Already at the beginning of 2022, there is an increase of Internet users compared to 2021, an increase of exactly 192 million people. 81% of customers research a product before making a purchase and use social networks for this purpose, mostly with the use of mobile phones (more about mobile shopping). Going forward, these numbers continue to grow. 

  • What to do about it?
    It’s no longer a secret that social media is the key to success. Thanks to these networks, you can not only increase brand awareness, and attract customers but also better understand them.  As a result, you can offer the audience something they want to buy. Users turn to YouTube and Instagram to find out what the market offers them, as well as what is now fashionable and useful. Try not to be just a store page on social networks, but a treasure trove of useful information. 


With the advent of covid, online shopping has become more in demand than ever and in many ways has even replaced traditional mall walks. But these two areas had to learn to coexist and there was a tendency to separate online and offline depending on the scale of shopping. Now, all over the world, there is a trend for people to order large baskets of groceries for a long time and then buy small things in small stores, mostly near home or work. And this approach proved to be quite convenient and efficient, especially in terms of time. 

  • What to do about it?
    Brands, just like customers, need to combine these two approaches and also consider user behavior. First, you need to consider that the decisive factor in online shopping becomes the availability of delivery. This is especially evident in the younger generation, who can choose another store only because of the need to pick up the goods themselves (more details about generation marketing). Also, knowing about such customer preferences, you can offer special promotions, referral programs, or cashback to motivate them to buy. 


No-choice — customers are not satisfied, but too many choices harm both customers and brands. Due to the wide range of items and not knowing what criteria to rely on when choosing, today’s shoppers simply get frustrated and refuse to buy at all. 

  • What to do about it?
    Help your customers make a decision. This is where the trend toward personalization would prove fruitful. It’s easy to get lost in the variety, and with an app or website, brands can track user behavior, search history, and saved items. This way, personalized newsletters and push notifications will remind users of something they’ve already seen and suggest something similar all according to their tastes and preferences. 


Despite the rapid changes and innovations, do not worry. After all, one of the main principles of success is the ability to adapt and use circumstances to your advantage. Stay informed and grow your business with NT.