COVID-19 has changed current and future customer buying patterns, creating new product demands, and altering previously predictable business models. What was previously considered to be a great customer experience is no longer and many businesses have been thrust into reorganising their approach to serving customers. So, what exactly are customers looking for and how can brands compete to stay relevant?
This blog will provide a look at how digitisation has impacted customer buying patterns during COVID-19.
Harvard Business Review’s research on the psychology behind changing customer behaviour during a recession states, “Companies that put customer needs under the microscope, take a scalpel rather than a cleaver to the marketing budget, and nimbly adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings in response to shifting demand are more likely than others to flourish both during and after a recession.” This quote exemplifies why it’s time for businesses to accelerate the pace of digital transformation efforts and tweak their customer journeys to respond effectively in these challenging times.
Technology is a powerful tool in influencing and changing customer behaviour. As new technologies such as AI, Internet of Things, blockchain etc. emerge to disrupt industries, companies of all sizes can’t afford to sit on the side lines as these new technologies continue to change customer buying patterns and fundamentally influence business models. Customer experience is therefore no longer just a marketing priority but a critical factor in the age of digitisation.
The transition to online buying requires brands to offer digital customer experiences that create positive relationships and foster customer loyalty. The sudden boom in e-commerce means retailers must respond to a surge in orders to cope with the drastic growth. While the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 may have made online shopping even more appealing, this trend will likely continue post-pandemic. For business continuity, brands need to offer transparent and convenient omni-channel solutions.
Also, customers have become more aware of environmental and corporate behaviours. They question whether brands have credibility when it comes to their environmental and social obligations. According to Accenture, customers are more mindful of what they’re buying. They are striving to limit food waste and buy more sustainable options.
To add, the current pandemic has brought forth a customer that is more thoughtful and selective in their decision-making. Their priorities have become centred on the most basic needs and the factors that influence brand decisions are also changing. However, with customers at the heart of decision-making, businesses can better understand the current customer mindset and be conscious of the changes to their behaviour. Understanding these changing expectations is a vital component of designing the right solutions and experiences.
What does the future hold?
The emergence of COVID-19 has drastically impacted customer buying patterns. It throws light on the need for organisations to put the customer at the heart of their business, accelerating the demand for transformation more than ever. Therefore, as the world recovers from the pandemic, it becomes imperative for businesses to stay afloat and become truly resilient in these difficult times.