Consumer Behavior Is Changing - How To Adjust
This post was written by Isabella Thiele.
Isabella comes originally from Brazil, but lives in Berlin. She works with content creation at ogno.io while pursuing her bachelor degree in Media & Communication.
Our everyday routines have been disrupted by an unprecedented situation. Some of us are working different hours, in different settings - and depending entirely on our technological devices for any kind of communication. Some of us aren’t working at all. It is fair to say that Bob Dylan’s words ring as true as ever - the times they are a’changing...✌🏼
That being said, it is important to remember that this is not the time to panic - but instead, to think strategically. Things will get back to normal - but in the meantime, how can your business best navigate this crisis? Getting to know your target audience’s behavior is a great place to start.
Here are some trends in consumer behavior observed in the past 3 months - and tips on how to successfully adapt your marketing strategy to satisfy these changes in demands 🙌🏽
Longer customer journeys ⏰
No surprise there, our dependence on tech devices has increased for all kinds of connections (may that be in entertainment, shopping, working, socializing, etc). So, it comes as no shock that the average consumer is spending a considerably higher amount of time online.
As such, this could be an opportunity for you to take time to build momentum for your business and brand, start tracking and managing your leads better so you're aware of how your company is doing, if you aren't doing so already. Prepare yourself for when things get back to normal. With internet usage at its peak, you already know one thing: your audience is online. Now is the time to capture their attention.
A good headstart could be to focus on your inbound marketing for high-quality organic traffic.
Let me explain - inbound marketing is a methodology that was designed to draw potential customers in, rather than outwardly pushing a brand/product/services onto prospects in the hope of lead generation.
This is the time to focus on content creation and to optimize your website with new WordPress integrations. People can only see your online storefront at the moment - so make sure to boost it up.
More online shopping, less brand loyalty 💻🛍
According to recent survey data, the general consumer sentiment has turned sharply negative and yet, the vast majority is spending up to 30% more online.
It seems that anything that makes quarantine more bearable will be in high demand in the following months - may that be entertainment, informative content, deliverables, etc. While some businesses are likely to naturally thrive during a pandemic, others might have to pivot to different markets, channels & services.
Interestingly, not only do the surveys indicate that online spending has increased - but also that the latest circumstances seem to be affecting brand loyalty among consumers.Here’s what we’re seeing:
- 48% are remaining loyal to their usual/familiar brands
- 21% are purchasing a mix of usual and new brands
- 13% are “taking the opportunity to discover new brands”
- 19% are feeling less brand loyal, buying what’s available
See the opportunity yet? I’ll explain. This change in consumer shopping patterns indicates that not only is your target market most likely online - they are also open to experimenting with new brands. By making sure your website gets found (aka ranks high in the SERP), perfecting your content marketing strategy and offering a product/service that satisfies an existing demand you can most definitely not only navigate the crisis but even experience growth.
New times, new shopping priorities ☝🏼
As previously mentioned, knowing what’s in demand and when/how to pivot to new markets might be key for your business at this moment in time. While this depends on your industry, the first step should be to understand emerging consumer priorities in order to assess how your business could somehow adapt to the trends.
As we know, e-commerce technology is on the rise. And if possible, this is the time to shift your business online and meet the demand for digital sales. Or, to offer your services digitally so that your current clients can continue to engage with you throughout the crisis (and afterwards).
New channels are gaining traction - and this is the time to find them. Your communication strategy should follow a similar logic. Online gaming and streaming platforms have been seeing a steep increase in visitors/sales. Content creators on TikTok, Instagram & Youtube, podcast producers and online Newsletters are also experiencing an increase in audience engagement. All of this indicates that the average internet user is eager to consume new media.
And this might be worthwhile for your business. Try brainstorming ways in which your business could create new content for platforms/markets you haven’t reached yet. A couple of examples include informative/entertaining videos, articles, blogs, social media posts etc,. The goal is to increase your brand’s online presence while (remotely) suppressing a demand - may that be of entertainment, information, product or service.
Bonus round: Are some of these changes here to stay?
COVID-19 has impacted lives globally. It has changed the way we work, think and buy. According to Nielsen’s latest consumer research, consumers might indeed be changing their shopping behavior in ways that will affect future buying habits.
Nielsen suggests that once the pandemic is behind us, the average consumer will likely leave their homes and dive back into their local markets - but with a new sense of “normality”. In other words, people will return to their daily routines of work & school, but will continue to hold a different view on the use of e-commerce.
I’ll explain. There are many people who didn’t take part in the online shopping craze until now due to the simple fact that they didn’t feel like it. This invisible (and yet extremely powerful) force called “preference” practically rules the marketplace and is very hard to break.
However, social distancing rules have forced the vast majority of people to get acquainted and resort heavily to technology for solving their daily necessities.
And, let’s face it - once people get comfortable with the perks of buying/consuming goods from their homes, there is a strong possibility that some of the new consumer trends might consolidate into the new norm even after things stabilize.
Think about your consumers. Are there ways you could flex your company’s model in order to increase digital booking of your services, improve digital communications with your target audience in the long-term? Coming up with strategies that might help you strengthen your online presence might be highly beneficial.
Last but not least
Keeping up with the latest changes in consumer behavior can help your own marketing strategy moving forward. In order to get ahead of your competition later on, take this time to focus on your inbound marketing. Learn about your audience. Learn about new channels and markets that might be worth switching to.
Keep in mind: now is the time to think strategically. By taking this moment to reevaluate your positioning, you’ll be able to get ahead of your competition in the future.