Online Experience: An Emerging Consumer Trend

As the digital space thrives, many new avenues for consumer experience emerge.

The alcohol industry, among many others, has shifted and consumers have adopted new ways to connect with the beverage brands that they once enjoyed at beer gardens, festivals, and wineries alike. Though the concept of building a consumer relationship online prior to purchase is not new, the social distant nature of the Covid-19 pandemic has catalyzed an unprecedented amount of innovation. With this innovation comes greater consumer expectations for the brands they use to engage with them on a digital level.

The first blog in this five part series introduced convenience as a consumption trend among younger generation drinkers. Part two will showcase examples of why creating a dynamic online experience for consumers is essential, now more than ever, in their path to purchase. 

In general, millennials value experience more than any other age group, so many brands have officially said ‘challenge accepted’ in finding new routes to their customers. Ashlynn Persing, social media strategist at Sparkloft, says “They [millennials] want unique experiences that go beyond the product itself, so beverage brands [have been] required to ramp up [their] innovation.” Virtual events, augmented reality (AR), and strategic partnerships are all emerging paths that brands have taken to heighten digital experience.

Many alcohol brands have turned to virtual events to dial up consumer engagement. Whether it’s a live stream that features a sommelier or beer connoisseur reviewing beverages, or a more structured happy hour tasting at home, these events offer a way for consumers to get to know a brand below the surface.

AR also offers a unique and exciting virtual experience. It can be found in many forms and offers an interactive user experience that combines a real world environment with a level of virtual enhancement. Think Snapchat and Instagram filters. These offer an opportunity for brands to creatively and tactfully interact with potential consumers. On-brand Instagram filters, for example, present a unique perspective, giving the user a glimpse into the sense of community that a brand represents and ultimately establishes an emotional connection. 

An emotional connection only begins online. A relationship that has begun through a social media app must be nourished and one way to do that is to take a component offline. Influencer sampling mailers allow product to get into the hands of highly engaged and interested online users. Establishing strategic partnerships and adding a tangible layer creates in person interaction without face-to-face risks. 

Deloitte‘s CMOs remind us that ‘Today, the alcohol industry faces significant disruption—but with that disruption comes an opportunity to lead and shape the future of the industry.’ Brands that take advantage of online trends will connect with their consumers in innovative ways and build a relationship that goes far beyond retail shelves. Stay tuned as we dive into three more consumption habits expressed by younger drinkers very soon. 

Sources: WSJ | Beverage Industry