Calm Commerce: Creating a Pleasant Experience for Your Clients

So much about life has changed in the last year — especially when it comes to shopping. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar shop or you’re all digital, we’re covering the trend toward Calm Commerce. Find out how you can make the new shopping experience a pleasant one for your clients.

Consumers have had a value shift when it comes to the products they consume and where they spend their money.

WHAT IS CALM COMMERCE — AND WHY DOES IT MATTER FOR WEDDING PROS?

Think about the changes that have happened in the last year to how people shopped — and how couples shopped for their wedding. From dress fittings to cake tastings and everything in between, it’s gone virtual, delivered, or comes complete with an antiseptic smell. Senses drive a lot of the shopping experience. That’s why stores have certain lighting, music, and even candles — or other scents working to create an atmosphere.

Now that much of that is off the table or greatly altered, it’s important to see what the newest trend in sales will be — that’s calm commerce. Calm Commerce revolves around assuaging customer fears and fostering a reassuring B2C relationship, both digitally and in-person.

Consumer Sentiments Post-COVID

Trend Forecaster, WGSN, has projected that the Future Consumer 2022 will be on the lookout for Calm Commerce after navigating this turbulent season. Their goal in sharing this information is to help business owners recension-proof their business.

According to the WGSN ‘Future Consumer 2022’ report, here are consumer sentiments post-COVID —

  • Fear: Fear is a global – and demographic – unifier, from eco-anxiety to financial uncertainty, and how emotional contagion has been amplified by the Coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Desynchronized Society: The standard nine-to-five, five-day workweek has lost its dominance, giving way to desynchronization and the breakdown of communities due to the lack of consistent human interaction.
  • Equitable Resilience: Resilience is leading to toxic positivity and driving consumers to look to emotional acceptance and gravitate towards dedicating time to feel.
  • Radical Optimism: Optimism isn’t uncool – it’s rebellious, and in times of uncertainty it’s a brave choice.

In addition to this, it’s important for busissnesses to realize that COVID created a rise in —

  • Digital experience focus and consumption — Digital experiences were the primary way to connect during COVID. In fact, 2020 is being credited with bringing about the Great Digital Acceleration. (Read more about that here.)
  • Loneliness — Isolation during lockdown brought a loneliness epidemic and that will affect how people shop as well as think.

The growing trends along with the impact of COVID have created what forecasters are calling — The Value Shift. It’s one of the quickest and most significant shifts we’ve seen in recent history. Moreover, because it has affected the entire world, every demographic needs to be addressed.

Why Consumer Sentiment Should Matter to Wedding Pros

Why is it important to note consumer sentiments — or feelings? Because these feelings will be what is driving your consumers in a post-COVID world.

According to Cara Busazi, Managing Director of WSGN —

  • Despite varying paces of recovery, the emotional state of the world seems to be unified.
  • Consumers are looking for certainty, stability, security, and even a sense of optimism in uncertain times.
  • These “sentiments” will likely reshape the economies, industries, and even the daily lives of consumers.
  • Taking note of these will help businesses create new product priorities and service opportunities as well as consumer/shopper strategies.

What does this mean for wedding pros in the next phase of recovery?

Busazi indicates that the next 1-2 years is critical for businesses and she highly recommends aligning perspectives and plans with these new consumer sentiments in mind.

“The uncertainty of the coming years will require businesses to be light on their feet – ready to adapt products and services to meet the new needs of consumers in the ever-changing coronavirus landscape. There may be a vaccine in the year ahead, or perhaps – more likely – we will just have to adjust our lives to coexist with the virus for some time.”

The Post-COVID Innovation

Calm Commerce is the response to these new consumer sentiments. Essentially, it is all about calming consumer fears (where possible) and focusing on building a reassuring relationship with your customers. It also takes the actual shopping experience into consideration.

From the very beginning of the pandemic to nearly a year later, many of the same principles apply. Taking mental health and comfort into consideration is important even as you move forward.

TIPS FOR CREATING CALM COMMERCE STRATEGIES IN YOUR BUSINESS

Consumers are “prioritizing stability across all aspects of their lives in reaction to desynchronization and feelings of chronic uncertainty. They want simplified retail experiences, calm commerce, and a reassuring relationship with brands.”

While we’re not glad to be in these circumstances, there is a great amount of opportunity if businesses can look ahead with optimism.

Below is what is called a Change Curve. It’s based on the human grieving cycle by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. The trend forecasters at WGSN are projecting that this is likely how consumers will process the major disruption that COVID has been to daily life.

Image Courtesy of WGSN

The Value Shift

For wedding pros and business owners looking to future-proof their business, it’s worth reviewing WSGN’s projections on how to respond to the Value Shift in the consumer market.

The Value Shift Matrix

This matrix showcases the report’s details on consumer drivers (reasons consumers are acting the way they are) and the resilience strategies that businesses can adopt.

  • ‘Financial Anxiety’ — Add Value
  • ‘Health Concerns’ — Deliver Wellness
  • ‘Loneliness’ — Promote Togetherness
  • ‘Quest for Truth’ — Gain Trust
  • ‘Safety Fears’ — Offer Comfort and Reassurance

Take these insights into consideration when creating your marketing materials and any new products and services.

This is a unique time in business because there is a universal set of sentiments and pain points that you can speak to to help your clients.

Practical Ways Wedding Pros Can Get Started

  • Reduce product/service choices. This may seem counterproductive, but too many choices lead to fatigue and stress in today’s climate. Opt for a few, clear selections or services
  • Reduce visual and verbal clutter. Keep messaging clear and concise on your website and social media. That doesn’t mean you can’t write a lot, just keep the message unified.
  • Add mental and physical wellness to your content plan as it relates to your products and services.

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Written by Corrie McGee

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