The world has witnessed the largest lockdown which caused 1.3 billion people to stay home. The pandemic has rapidly changed the way the consumer lives and works. We are seeing a world where people are socially distancing as well as emotionally supporting one another.
Amidst all these, How has COVID 19 shaped consumer behaviour?
In this span of time, people have faced a greater change in their lifestyle and companies are facing a greater challenge in coping up with this as well. It really took some time for people including consumers and businessmen around the globe to realise the situation and react accordingly.
Consumers are facing new situations in life with their work from home schedules, new salary criteria, different leisure time and different ways of having fun. Consumers find it difficult or unwilling to go to most public places and they are more comfortable in visiting the nearby grocery and medical stores. Most of the consumers are financially unstable, therefore forced to stay indoors during the crisis and this has caused a major attitude change in what they buy and how they buy. This has dramatically changed the buying course from the regular course to only essential ones. The pandemic still continues with greater depression, shattering the global economy like never before.
Essentials goods and services
Crisis due to the coronavirus has triggered many companies and has prompted them to lay off the employees thus reducing their income and changing their lifestyle. The current financial crisis continues to hit the economy and we are witnessing the worst global recession. During this period people care less about luxury, branded or expensive goods that are not totally worth the price and concentrate more on the essential goods and services. The pandemic brought unprecedented shopping experience which has instilled many consumers to buy only necessities which involve groceries and pharmacy products and currently this is the mindful way to shop. In parallel to all the major consequences of the pandemic, many countries are striving to attain economic recovery.
Accelerating the eCommerce
With the outbreak of the pandemic, there is a sudden demand for eCommerce and thus digital adoption in our country and most of the countries. This could be due to the norms of social distancing and lockdown which are some of the government measures, to prevent the massive spread of the pandemic, which are completely accepted by the people. Not only eCommerce, even small retail shops are offering home delivery and provide efficient ways to shop for groceries and other necessities without leaving your house. More energy and innovations are brought up to making a better customer experience. Once the pandemic passes, the people might come back to their old habits but people get to experience the online services and if they feel the satisfaction and efficiency in the services they may continue this forever leading to a digital transformation across our country.
Why customers change brands?
Brands were once a top priority for most of the consumers but now, the crisis drives people to focus on the quality, availability and price. Various elements of life and business are being challenged during this period and if the customer doesn’t get a preferred product at the preferred time then there is a chance where customers try a different brand.
Focus on Health
Health, hygiene and personal care have taken new avatars globally especially in India. People started purchasing a lot of health and hygiene-related products with the outbreak of coronavirus. Moreover, they also look for those brands and stores which ensure safety by providing hygienic packaging and also have care and attention towards the well-being of their employees.
Work from home
The pandemic shows no signs of calming down and work from home is the only option to work in the upcoming days. Most of the employees find it more comfortable and productive than before. Most of the organisations focus on providing an office environment in the house which gives physical comfort to the employees. The employers take high effort to make work from home possible efficiently and they also care about the well being of their employees.
How does consumer spend their leisure time?
There has been a shift from offline to online activities during the pandemic and hence most of the leisure time is spent online which includes entertainment, online education, social networking, services, messengers, games, news/information and retail. People have spent a lot of time and money on the internet and many internet services provide various offers which attract people and companies get major benefits from them. Most of the people use the internet to work, socialise, entertain and explore the world around them. The whole world is connected by the means of the internet. As work from home is lifted, these pre-pandemic digital entertainments may become permanent new habits.
The ongoing pandemic and changing behaviour of the customers put companies at stake but they can revive from this loss by concentrating more on their customers and getting to know about the consumers.
How can they do it?
Consumer care and support
In this time of the pandemic, people look out for additional information, emotional support, care and concern and also pay close attention to how companies react to all this. So companies have the opportunity to show their care and concern for the customers and they, in turn, remain loyal to the company. Trust comes first in every relationship and it builds over time and this is the key to consumer retention. In order to achieve trust, companies should provide genuine support, financial confidence and make them feel safe in these difficult times and in this way companies can create real customer loyalty and keep them coming back.
Get closer to consumer
Life during the pandemic is turning out to be the new normal and there is returning back to the so-called memories of the past. People find it difficult to face these challenging life transitions and they are forced to stay home to protect themselves from this deadly virus. Even going to the grocery store and the medical store has become hard tasks. This is a perfect time for the companies to play their roles and be under the spotlight. They should show how they are concerned about their consumer and there is always a purpose beyond profit which involves the commitment to communities, society and the people. Companies should also bring new innovations and ideas which help the consumers go through the crisis securely. This could establish greater benefits in the future. Foreseeing this, many companies have already started to provide free subscriptions, online services to their consumer and these companies will have the opportunity to increase the adoption and save their consumer and maintain the connections.
Redefining customer experience
Companies can provide excellent customer experience even in the time of the pandemic. Companies should also focus on cutting down the cost without sacrificing the quality of the products. Companies previously depended on physical meetings which are now replaced by online services. Companies offer a wide range of virtual capabilities or online services starting from online learning class to online banking. Leading companies are making efforts to meet their customers’ primary needs which involve safety, security and everyday convenience. Companies are making all the physical operations touch-free, bringing the business to consumers house and accelerating the digital options. Many new applications are launched that can assist the consumers in the fight against COVID 19 as well as deal with all day to day services and these applications have been a surge since lockdown.