Adapt for Success in the Post-COVID Era

If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that our lives have changed dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After months of being stuck in a standstill, people around the world are now becoming used to a new normal.

We are now becoming familiar with limited socializing, new hygiene standards, a dented economy, limited traveling, and remote work. Although the pandemic’s impact has varied across regions, four themes have become evident among consumers across the globe:

Flight towards digital

While COVID-19 has forced us to stop visiting certain physical locations or attending events, businesses have turned to digital commerce in order to serve their customers. In fact, most industries have seen more than 10% growth in their online customer base and online shopping has doubled during the pandemic.  Furthermore,  many consumers say they plan to continue shopping online even after physical locations reopen.

The economy of “hygiene”

The pandemic is always on people’s minds and when deciding where to shop, consumers look for retailers with visible safety measures such as social distancing, masks, enhanced cleaning, and physical barriers. Furthermore, they buy more from brands that demonstrate care for employee and customer safety.

The actions that businesses take during this pandemic are likely to be remembered long after COVID-19 has been conquered.

“Stay-at-home” Economy

Across the globe, more than 70% of people still don’t feel comfortable With resuming activities that are outside of their homes. People are now continuing work, school, and other social activities from the comfort of their own homes via digital tools.  

Consumers do plan to resume some of their out-of-home activities soon, and shopping is first on the list. Large events and air travel, on the other hand, are last on the list

Shift towards value and disruption in loyalty

Even as most countries reopen, many consumers are continuing to fall behind economically. Consumer sentiment varies greatly across countries but in general, consumers are being more mindful about their spending and are trading down to less expensive products.

Furthermore, COVID-19 caused a supply-chain disruption for a lot of brands. When consumers couldn’t find their preferred brand on the shelves, they had to try different brands or retailers. Value and availability of products were the main drivers for consumers trying a different brand.

How your company can adapt

With the world upside down, here are a few ways you can adapt in order to survive and thrive in the post-COVID era.  

Go Digital

Digital channels are here to stay and might event be the only way for your potential customers to interact with your brand. Physical interactions are now being replaced by your website and online presence. Your goal as a company is to offer the best digital experience possible to your customers. You can achieve this by:

  • Having a user-friendly, mobile-adapted, website that is designed in a way that delights your customers.
  • Offering digital alternatives to your customers and prospects such as video meetings, virtual demonstrations, at-home delivery or curb-side pickup.
  • Creating high-quality content for your customers. Now that people can’t judge you by interacting with your products or staff, your content is how they will evaluate your brand. This means you should invest in good quality photos and videos, creative design, and copywriting.
  • You follow safety and hygiene regulations but your customers don’t know that. Use your digital channels to clearly communicate the steps you are taking in order to protect them, and your employees. Also, you’ll want to clearly state your social distancing and hygiene protocols within your physical location. This will assure that your customers and employees follow clearly
  • Continue to host events through virtual tools in order to stay connected with customers.

Invest in your Brand

As consumers’ needs and behaviours shift, businesses from all industries will lose loyal customers. In order to avoid this, businesses need to invest in building a strong brand customers can relate to. In addition, your competitors are also affected, they are loosing valuable customers. By maintaining awareness in the market through your brand, you will have the opportunity to attract those valuable prospects. You can build your brand by:

  • Investing in strategy and creative design in order to have a brand that tells a compelling story, that is relatable and that attracts your target audience.
  • Using Social Media and other digital advertising mediums to generate awareness in your target market. As businesses slash marketing budgets, you have the opportunity become a "top of mind" brand amongst your target audience by investing in marketing.
  • Being consistent across all your channels. By always using the same tone, colours, fonts, and imagery style, your target audience will more easily recognize your brand when it encounters it.

References:

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/a-global-view-of-how-consumer-behavior-is-changing-amid-covid-19#

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/online-shopping-covid-19-1.5661818