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Meeting the Demands of Budget-Conscious Consumers   

In the current climate, many U.S. households continue to struggle financially. Buying habits among shoppers have shifted drastically, leading to a rise in budget-conscious consumers. A recent survey found that consumers consider price first when deciding where to buy groceries, with over 80% of respondents actively look for ways to save money. To successfully meet the demands of these consumers, retailers must highlight ways that customers can efficiently manage their spending. Some ways to market towards budget-conscious consumers are detailed below:  

How to Market to Budget-Conscious Consumers

Maintain Convenience –  

With their minds focused on price, manufacturers must make shopping as easy as possible for customers. By providing options such as Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS), delivery and pickup, the shopping process will feel quick and seamless while avoiding the in-store experience entirely. However, budget-conscious consumers tend to be less willing to pay for add-on services or delivery services. As found in a 2019 survey focused on holiday spending,  14% of shoppers were concerned about expensive shipping. Furthermore, 22% of respondents noted that they would be more likely to spend more money if flexible payment methods, such as ‘buy now, pay later’, were available.  

Provide Guidance –  

Budget-conscious consumers often need direction when it comes to low-cost grocery shopping. Putting together meal plans and recipes for these shoppers will not only lead them to purchase specific items, but it will show them that consumer products companies are considering and meeting their needs. Promoting freezable foods and plant-based proteins, such as tofu and beans, is often essential for these consumers as well. Freezable foods last longer than fresh produce products, and plant-based proteins provide needed nutrients and are more affordable than traditional meats. Today, more and more Americans are focused on healthier diets and curious to try plant-based proteins. A recent survey found that 54% of teens prefer healthy snacks, with 49% consuming or willing to try plant-based meat. Leading consumers in the direction of freezable foods and plant-based proteins, with the help of meal plans and recipes, will improve their shopping experience exponentially.  

Promote Deals –  

For some customers, finding low-priced deals can be a struggle. Advertising special offers, coupons and discounts in-store and online will help guide these consumers and simplify the buying process. Enacting loyalty programs is crucial for customers and manufacturers alike, as research found that 52% of shoppers have joined loyalty programs to combat high prices and gain unique benefits. Highlighting ways in which consumers can further save money is essential in easing the process for budget-conscious consumers. 

Consider Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Consumers –  

In the United States, there are currently over 36 million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households, increasing almost 17% since February 2020. There are limited places to shop for groceries with SNAP benefits, as less than five retailers worldwide contain tools necessary to accept Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) payments online. This lack of accessibility makes the shopping process difficult for many SNAP customers. Investing in operations that meet the needs of these consumers, such as BOPIS and delivery, will lead to increased loyalty and a strong return on investment in the long run. Distinguishing what is and is not eligible for SNAP benefits is especially crucial, as it allows for an easy online and in-store experience.  

Leverage Social Media Platforms –  

Budget-conscious consumers often scour the internet searching for low-cost products, meals, and recipes, with more and more individuals watching videos related to at-home cooking. In 2020, 82% of users watched “to-do” videos on YouTube globally, with videos about sourdough bread alone increasing 458% daily in views. Home-cooked meals not only come at a lower cost and alleviate a sense of boredom, but they create leftovers that last much longer than restaurant meals. With a rise in at-home cooking, brands must find ways to market to these consumers. Considering the grasp that social media platforms have on budget-conscious consumers, companies should leverage this data and market via these channels.  

Invest in Analytics – 

Focusing on online purchasing platforms, investing in analytics is essential for companies to market to their budget-conscious consumers effectively. Measuring and tracking data not only allows for optimization, but it highlights key purchasing patterns and trends. Leveraging this data will then drive engagement and help foster targeted communication with shoppers. Most importantly, understanding consumer needs and desires will help build brand loyalty as these low-cost needs are met. 

Final Thoughts 

With an increased focus on price, manufacturers must understand and meet the needs of their shoppers. Several actions are pivotal to ease the buying process for consumers. Some of these processes include maintaining convenience with BOPIS and delivery, providing guidance with meal plans and recipes, and promoting deals via coupons and loyalty programs. Catering to the needs of SNAP consumers is also important, as a majority of companies lack the resources to accept EBT payments. While enacting these processes, companies should continue to leverage social media and data analytics to understand further and meet consumers’ needs. 

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Coauthor and contributions by Rachel Ruth

Tags: Data & Analytics, Digital Engagement, Direct-to-Consumer
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