COVID-19 knocked people out of “autopilot” mode and forced them to rethink their everyday decisions. And even when the pandemic is over the habits acquired during the quarantine will develop and strengthen.
Even before the pandemic, we saw a growing interest in the topic of mindfulness. Gradually, consumers are beginning to realise that buying the things they need is more beneficial to them than the so-called “experience economy”, the attributes of which can be traced in many of today’s advertising campaigns. The coronavirus has accelerated the changing priorities of people.
For a long time, the most important thing for people will be a concern for the safety and health of their loved ones. Therefore, brands should not forget about increased customer anxiety.
If a product or service can provide this security, the brand is more likely to survive. Companies will have to think about more hygienic packaging, more thorough disinfection, and contactless delivery.
Online business is a must-have
The second inevitability for brands that the coronavirus has spawned is omnichannel. Those who have put off this basic tool in their strategies from year to year can no longer resist. It is a must-have — it becomes the first necessity.
During the quarantine period, all possible industries went online, now even such a traditional sphere as medicine is online; developing virtual cultural events, visiting museums. Streaming services around the world have grown by 52% over the year (spring 2020 to spring 2019).
And this is not the limit. People are not only forced to perform their usual actions via the Internet but also understand how this service format is beneficial in terms of saving resources — both time and their budget. Some people will forever switch to online training at home, continue therapy with online psychologists, learn new languages online , and more.
Due to this surge of activity, new opportunities for analytics have appeared. It is not known when we could have seen such a sudden jump in partly forced interest among users, and indifferent, previously uncharacteristic categories for them. New interests, new patterns of behaviour, new patterns of content consumption — all this creates new opportunities.
Updating and, more importantly, enriching all user databases from all suppliers will allow new hypotheses to be generated. It is important to understand what the audience thinks and what worries them because understanding real problems can become a growth point for business development.
Customers also changed their habit of making impulsive purchases: during the quarantine period, the checkout area has sagged at retailers. The pandemic taught us to go to the supermarket for essential goods, and the crisis taught us how not to spend too much.
On the other hand, persons on the internet have different information field: they consume more entertainment content, watch all advertising in a more relaxed state on Instagram or YouTube, at this moment other triggers can work: to pamper yourself, order something for a gift, remember what they wanted to change for a long time…
New-old rules of the marketing game
Despite these trends in consumer behaviour, it is likely that the underlying laws of the genre will not change. Marketing is working with a product, distribution, price, and then with promotion and advertising.
Some businesses are changing their positioning to reflect new habits, but first, it is worth revising their assortment, working with security, and developing an omnichannel consumer experience in order to strengthen relationships with the audience.
During a crisis, the consumers save money, which means that they will be even more demanding in terms of the quality and manufacturability of the product they choose. Each product category will have to look for a new approach and innovations; for business, this is task number 1 — to think about how to quickly adapt processes.
Of course, online selling and online communication will become the focus for the majority. Companies need to win over those consumers who, during the quarantine, just learned to buy online.
A very important thing that companies, when going online shouldn’t neglect is storing their goods and the safe national warehousing can help them a lot.
Businesses in the future
Businesses will be much more careful about their budgets: you need to think about where to invest in a time of crisis. Before quarantine, the biggest fear of category leaders was to move all other players along. They invested in advertising, but they raised their competitors. Previously, this was giving the nervous tics to marketing teams, but now it is better for players in sagging categories to join forces and raise their product group together.
In addition, brands will become more selective in their communication, they will be more attentive to the degree of courage in creativity. Some companies, out of fear of risk, will do even more bland, but “safe” advertising, while brands with bolder positioning and team, on the contrary, will decide to go all-in.
In 2020, the main “trend” of humanity is confusion. Nobody knows what to do today and what to expect from tomorrow. Behaviour patterns are being transformed one after another, and in this context, brands need to be on the lookout: adjust to new realities, come up with ways to support, and communicate with the audience even more actively.
How long the process of returning to the usual life will last, it is not yet clear, most likely, our life will not be the same. And instead of waiting for people to return to pre-quarantine behaviour, companies are better off embracing new customer habits and changing themselves.