Consumers are a group of individuals with different backgrounds, influences and sometimes needs. When we look at consumers as a whole we can identify similarities or trends that exist within these groups. If we interpret these trends correctly we as people in business can make the most of the information these trends give us. We’re going to look at 5 important consumer trends in Zimbabwe and glean some wisdom that can propel our businesses forward.
Trust based economy
Zimbabwe has gone through tough times in the past and present. Like many countries with troubled pasts people tend to lack trust in authority and this filters down to general trust in businesses and people. Add to that the threat of a volatile or uncertain environment like we have experienced with the pandemic over the last two years and trust becomes a really important tool for business. You will notice this in Zimbabwe as people will ask for recommendations from friends and social media acquaintances. Another case is where people ask for a connection or contact inside an organisation that should otherwise be completely transparent. As businesses, we should heed the message and hold sacred the importance of building and maintaining trust.
Brand and loyalty
Before we talk about brand loyalty we need to talk about the idea of the brand itself. We need to understand that Nike’s brand isn’t their tick logo. It is a combination of the ideas we get of “Just do it”, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams and Ronaldo (both Ronaldos in case you’re old enough to wonder). So a brand is a combination of all these expressions of our identity and it should show up in everything we do. Brand loyalty can then be built around the brand. It is more important than ever in today’s world but also easier to help build loyalty in customers.
It’s going to differ from business to business and how busy you get but nothing pleases a customer like a service that is tailored to them. It’s small things like remembering what you normally buy, telling you when things are available and offering you bundle deals on things you often use. Customers want something that is catered to them. And this is not just in courtesy and niceties but in the entire business offer. Find small ways to make sure that your business caters to your customers. This is achieved by firstly understanding your customers. The better you understand them the better
Machines not trusted yet
Zimbabweans do not trust machines yet and we really cannot blame them. Remember the Ecocash outage that was blamed on machines? In many cases where companies have decided to upgrade to new improved technology, consumers have suffered thanks to technical glitches along the way. We cannot say technology is bad but it certainly has in the public eye been implemented to the detriment of consumers. So you may want to think carefully about your approach to implementing computers and AI in your business. Just remember, the cases where technology has been implemented smoothly have never been mentioned because they worked. Testing can save you a lot of trouble.
As we have already detailed consumers in Zimbabwe have trust issues. One sure way to ruffle the feathers of a person with trust issues is to change right before their eyes. Absurd right? No! When a customer is transferred from one courteous employee to another who is less so that represents a change in the business before their eyes. The same can be said where a business has an easy entry (sales) process but proves to have complicated processes once the customer is in. The point is you need to work on creating uniformity between your faces, all of your faces. Having social media accounts that speak differently from your website is an example of lacking uniformity. It goes much deeper than that and is something you should guard against especially where you outsource a lot of work.
These trends tell us that customer is becoming more discerning and wants to be much more involved with the businesses they buy from or work with. These characteristics of course describe millennials. For millennials it’s not enough to buy the product, they must take a picture and share it with their friends. With millennials aged between 26 and 43, they are the economic power of the present.