The pandemic has changed purchasing patterns and some new consumer habits are here to stay. Your business needs to adapt. But how?
New consumer habits are affecting all businesses, including those that cater to consumers (B2C) and those that serve other companies (B2B).
We’ve seen various new consumer trends emerge since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are the most striking.
Consumers are taking a cautious approach to spending and focusing more on savings. When they do open their wallets, it’s for essentials. Non-essential spending remains below pre-pandemic levels.
Online sales have increased in most consumer categories. In fact, Quebec recorded a 118% year-over-year spike in e-commerce transactions in 2020. The most dramatic increase was in online sales of household appliances, electronics, building materials and home renovation products, which skyrocketed by 625%.
Consumers have also largely embraced home delivery and in-store pick-up services. These changes are likely to be permanent.
The crisis has shaken consumers’ loyalty to their pre-COVID favourites. In some cases, it’s because businesses didn’t have a robust online offer, while other reasons include complicated return policies and product supply issues. Faced with these obstacles, consumers were forced to turn to the competitors that had strong digital channels, including for essential expenses such as groceries or household goods.
It comes as no surprise that the pandemic has led to a sharp rise in consumer concern for public health and safety. More than ever before, people want to know what businesses are doing to keep them safe.
The pandemic has triggered a shift toward seeking products made and grown locally. This is particularly true in Quebec, where interest in buying local has risen faster than elsewhere in Canada [Léger and Lg2 Survey, May 2020]. In addition, several government and regional initiatives—such as Panier bleu and Stratégie nationale d’achat d’aliments québécois—have come out in recent months to encourage Quebecers to choose local products and services.
Does your business still offer what customers want?
To find out how these new trends have impacted your customer base, you’ve got to connect with your target audience, using whatever means possible. Your options include calling key customers directly, sending a courtesy email or short survey to your subscribers, or posting an open-ended question on social media. The simplest solutions are often the best ones. Once you’ve gauged their new needs and expectations, you’ll be ready to adjust your offer.
Realigning your value proposition
Your value proposition describes how you meet customer needs and differentiate yourself from the competition. It’s what makes you unique.
By defining or redefining your value proposition, you can gain a better understanding of your target market, while ensuring that you still offer what they’re looking for. In addition to being the basis for your sales pitch, your value proposition can help inform your communications content and digital strategy.
Given the recent shift in consumer habits, it’s essential to make sure your value proposition is still relevant. To get started, ask yourself the following:
- What are your customers looking to accomplish?
- What are their pain points?
- What are their expectations in terms of value or perks?
Next, ask yourself:
- How do your products and services create value for customers?
- How do they address consumer irritants?
The answers to these questions can help you figure out how to effectively appeal to prospective and existing customers.
The exercise might also make you realize that your business model is outdated and no longer meets the needs of your customers. If that’s the case, you’ll have to reshape your business model to meet evolving needs.
Simple and relatively inexpensive changes can have a major impact on customer satisfaction, translating into improved retention rates.
With change happening all around us, maintaining the status quo simply isn’t an option.
01 Oct 2020 | Written by :