Consumer behavior during pandemic COVID-19 is driving brands crazy.
Everything looks changed. The old way is over.
Brands, shopping centers, restaurants, all categories need an alignment to the shift.
What is the change in consumer behavior? Can we design new directions to approach?
Is everything over, and now we can sit down and make the “new normal” strategy?
We will go through the habits, emotions, and desires that the last few months showed up in our consuming way.
I will share some actionable data-driven suggestions for the upcoming holiday season. The tips aim to make the shift and engage with your current and new customers in a meaningful way.
How consumer behavior is changing during the COVID-19 pandemic
According to the latest Deloitte 2021 Global Marketing Trends, customers are trying to respond to the pandemic. Lockdown and COVID-19 are going online to make searches and shopping more than ever. DIgital channels usage is blowing up.
63% of interviewed people declared their willingness to continue to use digital technologies more often well after the pandemic subsides.
Nobody still knows when the pandemic crisis will end. We should all move forward and meet consumers’ requests for digitalization.
We have to adapt to the dynamic world.
Which consumer behavior COVID-19 pandemic most changed
Research from the New York Times, the special Insight Group, highlights five reasons people share content online.
Reasons for sharing stay in need of contact or self-establishment towards the group.
Also, emotions are the most important driving element that activates the sharing of information.
But, pandemic COVID-19 is changing the old reasons for sharing, transforming how people react.
The emotional element still stays with the driver, but the reason behind it is a desire to help others.
People are participating in the conversation. They respond to the desire to be helpful. Engaging, they help favorite brands, maintaining social distance.
Ironically, we say “social distance” by meaning move the contact to a virtual world. At the same time, we have to increase our “social presence,” that, funny to say, is a virtual one too.
For sure, most of the activities are now available also on the digital version.
What does it means COVID-19 for marketing and sales
Marketers have seen their role and importance increasing to face and understand that new consumer’s habits.
The old way of marketing and sales of a product, shopping physically, interacting with the customer in presence, is now over.
Most discussions and interactions happen now virtually everywhere: virtual environments, events, presentations, showcases.
People live online and share online.
It needs to observe and run target market analysis to understand the new normal and act most effectively.
Brands and service owners have to embrace digital space with urgency. What before COVID-19 was a long-term digitalization plan is a “now or never.”
More digital than ever before
Consumers shifted to digital due to COVID-19, increasing their appreciation and using digital technologies more than ever.
Even those more traditional prefer to go to the bank for their businesses, paying with real money, going to the shop, trying on a dress, going to IKEA, and imagining your new sofa and how it fifths in your living room, are changing their mind.
Electronic or contactless payment requests are flying.
Remote banking services are updating.
New insurance services linked to virtual life are emerging.
You still want to ensure your luggage or, since we are reducing our travels, do you prefer to secure your online purchases?
Cancellation policies and post-selling activities are now more critical than ever.
The virtual link to the real
So, habits are changing, but every business needs to change?
Well, most of the earthquake stays on those businesses that have a long-lasting tradition of physical presence, like retail, banking, and insurances.
Retail, in particular, embraces a wide range of different goods to sell.
Fashion and make-up companies are doing their best, incorporating artificial intelligence and augmented reality in their strategy.
So, to integrate augmented reality, companies address their efforts to create communities around their brands.
They build their Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) strategy, listen to their customer’s needs, and reach them directly.
Amazingly, the first in line for implementing a Direct-to-Consumer strategy are big brands.
For example, the Heinz e-commerce website has different subscription plans for home delivery of your favorite stuff.
Engage with your user base, catch new customers, and stay meaningful in a long deep relationship.
How that? I have a tip for you.
Start an (easy) Artificial Intelligence project to stay updated about your customers’ needs. Study them to deserve them your best value.
Understanding consumer behavior during the pandemic using AI.
Like Ghostwriter AI Target Analysis, AI tools help brands take out from the crowd meaningful insights. They give back to the marketers the voice of the customers.
Listen to consumer’s requests embracing the digital during the pandemic.
Some businesses have seen crazy incomes during the lockdown period.
Among them: food delivery, on-demand video, webinar, and video conference platforms.
More customers mean more subscriptions and e-shopping.
What about travel, banking, and insurance services?
Which future is there for shopping malls, restaurants, fashion, and beauty sectors?
Their revenues have dropped from a waterfall, and with the same fury.
People can’t go out shopping or meeting. They can’t travel for business or leisure.
The result is a decrease in clothes and make-up requests.
Consumers have changed their needs.
People are looking for home office furniture, electronic equipment, e-learning devices.
Families are looking at how to keep the children engaged.
Everyone is looking for symptoms and how to face the lockdown period: home fitness, cooking, and education.
All those business categories need to meet the new wave of requests.
Transform your weekly gym class in a remote session.
Provide home cooking sessions, sell the recipe knowledge, and deliver your sauce’s secret ingredients to the consumers a new kind of experience (and the products to do it well).
Help others organize their home space, and suggest what to buy to do it at best.
Try not to be salesy or spammy, deliver real value, and occasionally suggest that you help.
Anticipating the conversation using AI to analyze consumer behavior during the pandemic
We already know how Artificial Intelligence helps personalize our marketing efforts.
But it’s worth highlighting how AI is essential to track the customers’ behaviors.
Take advantage of using Artificial Intelligence-based tools to analyze and segment topics, trends, and behaviors.
Predict the trends thank you technologies powered by machine learning.
How can you do that?
First, set your goals. What do you want to achieve? More engagement? Increase your brand awareness? The purposes depend on the data you need and the tools to use.
Second, collect the (right) data. Not all data are the same. You may be full of data that is not what you need for your goal.
Third, ingest the data, and analyze the result, put it into action.
I’m not saying that it is easy. Usually, SMB and local businesses don’t want annoying data to manage. They are not data analysts; they only want to reach, stay in touch, maybe grow their customer base.
In Ghostwriter AI, we have a process to help SMB to get actionable suggestions. We enable SMB to navigate digital activities easy and fast, getting results.
The aim is a rapid prototype—and launch—new offers.
Interaction is the key. Don’t let your old customers or new ones forget about yourself.
Stay live on digital channels, organize challenges, virtual meetings, one-to-one sessions.
Also, don’t forget content curation to keep your customers updated on the topics they care about.
Test it (before and after) using AI predictive A/B testing
Always test and measure what you are doing.
All the data will be a new precious value for your business in the future.
Test the activities but also test the messages!
How AI predictive A/B testing works? By analyzing customer’s and consumers’ behaviors and reactions to your content, machine learning algorithms segment, and classify the elements. The analysis includes text, image, words, and how people react and interact with them. So, it can suggest and explain possible future behavior.
Conclusions: a real relationship needs between customers and companies
Also, interactions and new ways of communicating on the Internet shows new importance for relationships.
I’m pretty sure that each of us said at least one time in our life (or received by someone else) the sentence, “you take me as granted.” Unfortunately, these are some of the things we allow ourselves to take for granted and that the pandemic is showing us we shouldn’t.
Everything is changing around us: our beloved, our health, how we go out to buy something at the mall.
We are changing and, the right side of the pandemic effect is that some are increasing the care for others.