The Covid-19 global pandemic has shifted consumer behaviour permanently. Changes to the way we work, our financial security and time spent at home during and after lockdown have altered the way customers purchase, and the ways in which their buying decisions are influenced.
In this article, we look at some of the ways in which consumer behaviour will change post-Covid.
1- Shopping Habits Have Changed
One of the main consumer behaviour changes we’re witnessing is a change in shopping habits. Not only are more people online shopping than ever before, but they’re also purchasing more often, too, due to the convenience of delivery to their homes, where they’re spending more time.
The coronavirus pandemic has also driven bulk-buying habits – particularly for certain foods and essential items, and, in some cases, restrictions were put in place because of this to discourage panic buying. Although this seems to have calmed down, an anticipated upcoming winter spike may put consumers back in a similar position, especially as countries are re-entering lockdown and tightening their restrictions in the run-up.
2- Customer Expectations Have Increased
During the pandemic, many businesses had to go above and beyond to retain and acquire new customers. As a result, customer expectations have increased, and it’s difficult for brick-and-mortar stores and smaller retailers to keep up. Leading e-commerce stores have kept up with innovations and set a high standard, meaning that smaller businesses and retailers aren’t always able to compete. Some of the newer customer expectations include omnichannel approaches, self-service customer support, 24/7 instant live chat and even frequent discount codes.
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One of the main things for businesses to prioritise both during and in the post-Covid period is that customer retention is key. While it’s common knowledge that acquiring a new customer costs between five and 25 times more than retaining a current customer, with more competition online than ever before, it can be tricky for businesses to compete effectively.
Some of the ways in which businesses can retain their customers include:
- Customer engagement initiatives
- Community management and social media engagement
- Loyalty schemes such as points and discount codes
- Tailored and personalised comms based on purchase history
- Referral schemes that reward both parties
By rewarding customers, they are more likely to stay with you, and brand-loyal customers tend to refer their friends and family to your business.
3- Changes to spending habits
Globally, forecasts suggest that the global economy will shrink by 5.2% in 2020 –the largest recession since the Second World War.
While this varies between countries, the UK has put initiatives into place to support self-employed and employed workers whose businesses are affected by a coronavirus. These were put in place to protect jobs and inject money into the economy, but now the scheme is ending in October, many people are finding themselves redundant.
Retail businesses have also suffered, with high-street giants such as Debenhams entering administration and shutting hundreds of stores, and employers in the hospitality sector now severely struggling with very little help.
The snowball effects of the lack of jobs will mean unemployment will increase, and research so far has shown that even those who are still working are being more mindful with their spending during this period and with Gen Z and millennials, in particular, tightening their wallets.
To conclude, the coronavirus pandemic has likely changed shopping and spending habits for the foreseeable future. Our spending, shopping and even working styles have changed, and it’s now time to look towards the future, and embrace the new normal.