Conversations with CommerceNext: Emotionally Connecting with Consumers

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In our most recent episode of Conversations with CommerceNext, Co-Founder Scott Silverman interviews Bill Schneider, VP of Product Marketing at SheerID, to discuss CommerceNext’s latest research report. In partnership with SheerID and Bizrate Insights, the report surveyed 1000+ shoppers to uncover how Covid-19 has impacted consumers as well as what they expect from brands’ messaging and behavior both now and after the pandemic.

Read the recap below or watch the full episode here:


Be sure to download the report that Schneider references throughout the interview.


Consumer Trends

Consumers remain pessimistic about the future of Covid-19—67% believe Covid-19 will impact their lives well into 2022, while a minority are hopeful that it will be less prevalent by the end of the year. About half of consumers reported the pandemic impacting their friendships, social interactions and mental health.

A few impacted populations include:

  • College students—53% reported Covid-19 having a negative impact on their mental health and financial situations.
  • Essential workers—they report being overworked, not having much time for their personal interests and hobbies and ultimately wanting to disconnect and recharge. 
  • Seniors—they report a higher than average negative impact on physical health from the pandemic.

What does this mean for retailers? Schneider emphasizes, “Areas for self-care, social connection […] and hobbies and exercise are all opportunities for retailers to provide some support to those types of communities and groups.”

Doing The Right Thing

Even though shoppers are pessimistic and more isolated than ever, their needs are quite selfless. Consumers still want promotions and deals to help alleviate their difficult financial situations, but they also respond well to brands who are keeping their employees on staff and keeping them safe. Contactless commerce options and clear messaging about precautions taken are top priorities for customers these days. Despite the individual hardships, companies who value our collective societal desire to keep each other safe during the pandemic are coming out on top. Additionally, shoppers value special offers and programs for Covid-affected populations.

Consumers are attracted to brands “doing the right thing” and stand for something bigger than just the product they sell. There’s an opportunity now more than ever for brands to figure out their main brand attributions, beliefs and pillars, and communicate that message out to the broader community. Those who do will be rewarded for sharing their values—36% of consumers said they feel better buying from brands that shared their values, and that feeling is even more amplified for Gen Zers, who are known to hold brands to higher ethical standards. 

Looking Forward

What can retailers and brands learn from these reports? Schneider made three recommendations for areas to focus on:

  1. Understand the benefits of being value-oriented: The current environment lends itself to brands doing the right thing—consumer appetite is at an all time high and is going to be the new normal moving forward.
  2. Messaging matters: Be clear about how you’re keeping people safe and supporting the broader community, especially frontline workers.
  3. Stay alert: Keep your ear to the ground and listen to what consumers want; those who stay connected to their consumers will come out of the pandemic stronger. 

Over time, consumers demand more and hold brands to a higher standard. Now is the time to deliver on those needs and build your consumers’ trust. Doing so will ensure they remember you post-pandemic as a brand that stood up for the right thing and made them feel connected when the world was uncertain and isolated. They might end up being some of your most valuable advocates in the future. 


Stay tuned for the next Conversations with CommerceNext and be sure to watch the full interview on our Youtube channel