There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, and play. And for those of us in the marketing field, we’ve seen countless challenges to our pre-pandemic methods for reaching our audience. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to know where to start. But with a little bit of insight into 5 ways that COVID-19 has reshaped consumer behavior, we can figure out fresh, exciting ways to reach our customers during this “new normal.”
Read on to learn more about the impact that COVID-19 has had on your potential customers.
#1 Buying Local
As communities watched small mom-and-pop businesses struggle to stay above water during the initial pandemic, many banded together to support them through “buy local” efforts. You may have seen your Facebook or Instagram feeds filled with this message as these local small businesses fought unexpected shutdowns in March and April. And as the pandemic continued to gain strength, so did the “buy local” movement. Consumers were living in unprecedented times, and they wanted to support the local economy and do business with brands they can trust.
So what does this mean for your business? Put simply, it’s time to increase brand awareness among your community, no matter how prominent your business has become. Customize your product or service to meet the needs of those closest to you and engage in your community in ways that are relevant to your industry and the difficult times we’re facing.
#2 A Focus on Needs
When the pandemic began rearing its ugly head, people tried to predict the potential impact on the economy and, ultimately, their families. Would there be a food shortage? Should we add more per month to our savings? Should we cut non-essential spending?
No one knew what was coming, and this caused a shift from buying non-essential or even luxury items to only buying “the basics,” all in the name of financial security. If you sell a non-essential product or service, you most likely saw a dip (or maybe even a scary decrease) in demand.
To combat this challenge, businesses that sell non-essentials need to pivot to stay afloat. In this market, you’ll need to make your product or service irresistible. This could mean lowering your prices or offering additional, more essential products until the pandemic is over. Some companies just switched up their products or services altogether, and who knows if they’ll ever return to the business they had in mind when they first started.
#3 Increased Online Shopping
With quarantine forcing most of us indoors, e-commerce became our only choice when it came to shopping. Of course, some companies did well with this conversion — namely, those who were already making most of their sales online. However, other businesses scrambled to get organized and make a way for customers to buy online. Several months in, most of the businesses who survived are characterized by their ability to switch up their game when it came to how to deliver their products or services. Those who refused to change, unfortunately, have struggled to make ends meet or have closed altogether.
Once consumers have realized the relative ease of shopping online, we will probably see an uptick in their engagement with e-commerce brands. Even when the pandemic finally comes to a close, brands can expect a higher consumer dependence on online shopping. This means that, if they haven’t already found ways to sell online, businesses will need to do so soon or risk closure.
#4 Increased Focus on Personal Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has understandably caused consumers to take a good hard look at their own health. Of course, as people have begun to prioritize healthy living, we’ve seen an increased focus on brands that promote both physical and mental well-being.
Businesses that can offer products or services that can contribute to their customers’ health will set themselves apart from the pack, especially during and post-pandemic.
#5 Experiencing Brands
Forced inside and isolated from their communities, most consumers can agree on one thing: the boredom is real. This leaves an open opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves by offering experiences and inspiration where others just offer a simple product or service. Consumers are looking for more than just a “scroll and shop.” They are now expecting to be drawn in with more than just a good deal.
Brands should take advantage of their potential customers’ new need for entertainment and motivation. Emotional engagement leads to sales, and online experiences are the new key to drawing a crowd.
Changing With The Times
As COVID-19 shifts consumer needs wants, and mindsets, successful marketing teams must make the shift as well. In light of the 5 ways that COVID-19 has reshaped consumer behavior that we talked about above, what changes should you make to your marketing strategy to maintain and increase your customer pool?