The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every aspect of our lives, businesses, and disrupted global trade. The outbreak has changed and reshaped so many things – one of these is customer behavior.
We can observe changes in all areas of life, ranging from how we work, how we purchase, to how we learn and attend classes. This sudden change has impacted the retail industry in particular. This has given businesses a chance to improve their eCommerce websites and prepare for the new normal.
Remote tools could be incorporated into your training even if you don’t plan to operate fully remotely. They could also be used in a brick and mortar office and provide an easy way to switch back and forth between in-person and remote styles of running your teams.
Switching to remote operation won’t be that difficult; you only need to choose your remote sales tools carefully. Check out SalesHood’s review of the best sales tools to make running the operations easier, and to see if there are some easy and free solutions you can incorporate into your sales environment as soon as today.
Let’s look at the four ways customer behavior is changing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Drastic Shift to Online Shopping
It is no doubt that online shopping has experienced robust growth since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak. The lockdown orders, coupled with people’s fear of being infected with the virus, have forced many customers to change their purchasing and consumption behaviors.
The amount of shopping we do online has risen dramatically, especially when it comes to medicine, tools, clothes and personal care items. It’s worth mentioning that while online purchases have expanded in these niches, they have been on a downward trend overall.
This is a big incentive to make your online business as visible as possible, because it represents a valuable opportunity of growth in a recession. This is a trend that is most likely to stay with us even when the pandemic ends. Once people have realized that buying certain items online is easier and more convenient, it’s likely that they will continue this habit.
Business owners have also taken note of this massive shift to online shopping and invested in their online marketing. One industry in the United States that has experienced a noticeable change since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic is e-commerce as most people have self-isolated and turned to technology for work, shopping, and communication.
Prioritising Basic Needs
Gone are the days when we go to different stores on weekends just for window shopping or to purchase items we “want” and not “need,” at least for now. The COVID-19 outbreak has now changed what we buy and why we buy.
According to a 2020 survey of 4,859 shoppers conducted in the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe by EY, 72% of the customers now spend less on clothing with the majority of them saving and stockpiling against future financial drop-off.
Currently, customers give priority to their basic needs – their purchases are now focused on more important items such as toiletries, groceries, staple products, drugs, nutrient supplements, etc.
The factors that have influenced customers’ decisions during the recent pandemic are important ones. People are trying to stay safe and healthy – the personal health of us and our loved ones is a priority.
New Virtual Spaces
We are gradually forgoing our brick and mortar offices as many companies now ask their staff to work from home. A recent study on the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on remote workers suggested that at least 16% of employees who currently work from home will continue working remotely after COVID-19.
People now embrace technology and value it more than before as we slowly enter the new virtual world. In the quest to continue with our professional, academic, and personal lives, many of us have taken to using several online video conferencing tools.
Interestingly, many information and technology companies have now capitalized on the shift to the new virtual space and offer innovative technological solutions to customers to make life easier and more convenient.
Growing Desire to Shop Locally
The desire to buy local products is another behavior that has changed since the pandemic began. Customers have now been showing the willingness to support community and local businesses to ensure retailers are not put out of business.
The lockdowns and quarantine orders in many countries have confined consumers to their homes, increasing the number of online purchases across numerous industries. The situation had a huge impact on customer behaviors worldwide. Because of this, many industries have been forced to change rapidly, and many experts believe that a lot of these changes are permanent.
The question is, for how long will this new customer behaviour last? Well, the truth is, no one knows. But as a retailer, you should capitalize on understanding these customer behaviours and build into your market strategy.
As a business owner running an eCommerce company, you must understand how your customers’ perceptions, expectations and habits are changing in this new reality. If you are running a remote sales team, you should use the newest tools out there to make their remote work easier and more organized.
In addition, all business and company owners should make every effort to adapt to the change in customer behaviour by tailoring their objectives to meet the needs of their customers.