Scroll to top

Understanding Today’s Omnichannel Shoppers

New data from market research firm Nielsen is revealing how, since the start of COVID-19, shoppers’ basic needs have shifted and how brands can best adapt to these changes.

Overall, the data suggest shoppers are now motivated largely by a “need it now” mindset, which has been reinforced by a growing suite of brick-and-mortar, e-commerce and social shopping platforms. For retailers and manufacturers alike, understanding how customers want to shop is pivotal in capturing sales today and tomorrow.


What Defines the Omnichannel Experience

For today’s customers, the act of shopping might be less about actually buying an item and more about the entire shopping experience, both online and offline. Nielsen identified a framework of four ways brands and manufacturers can reinvent the customer experience to meet modern needs.

1. Availability

Product availability helps spur routine spending. Brands need to make their inventory transparent and easy to navigate for customers, especially in times of need.

2. Curation

Brands can inspire new purchases by prioritizing product discovery. Try to be relatable and easily searchable to help connect customers with new products.

3. Immediacy

Brands need to capitalize on spur-of-the-moment decision-making, Nielsen says. Finding ways to convert on shoppers’ impulses is more important than ever. Aiming to upsell on predictable shopper behavior is a key opportunity.

4. Excitement

Inspiring emotions that lead to future purchases is paramount. Brands can even celebrate shopping milestones using sales data to create new shopping habits in customers.


How to Increase Customer Loyalty

On a basic level, customers expect product availability. Consistently meeting this need, whether online or in brick-and-mortar destinations, will be pivotal to retaining customers in the years to come.

After more than a year of drastically shifting consumer behavior, demonstrating product availability is a true necessity for brands and manufacturers. Even if product availability is not possible at a given moment, brands can still aim to build customer loyalty by curating relatable content, like recommending related products and streamlining store layouts for maximum convenience.


Building Purchase Momentum

Once shoppers have connected with the products they need either in stores or online, today’s customers expect a heightened sense of immediacy from the brands and manufacturers they’ve chosen. Companies that excel at meeting modern shoppers’ needs can also pivot to capture “what else” purchases from these same customers.

Today’s shoppers want some level of intrigue and excitement in their shopping experience, Nielsen’s findings show. Shoppers want to be both surprised and delighted by the overall experience, which will motivate them to look forward to their next interaction with your company.

Whether creating a unique unboxing experience or enhancing your existing customer service options, there are numerous opportunities to build genuine pleasure from connecting today’s shoppers with today’s products.


In summary, every customer’s shopping experience should have the goal of incorporating and delivering on new expectations of product availability, discovery, immediacy and excitement.


Hardware Retailing, published by the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA) offers nearly 34,000 readers with how-to management and new product advice every month. Hardware Retailing offers a range of digital and print advertising options to help you get your message to key buyers in both the retail and wholesale markets. And, the revenue generated from advertising is reinvested to produce education and research for the independent home improvement channel. Download our media kit for more information.

Author avatar

Todd Taber

Todd is an assistant editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. An Indiana native, he graduated from Indiana University where he majored in journalism and French. Throughout his career, he has aimed to highlight small businesses and their community value. He joined NHPA in 2017 and now writes a variety of content, including industry news, marketing, research and operations stories. In his free time, he likes to run, spend time with family and work his way through Charles Dickens’ bibliography.

Related posts