We all know consumer behavior is constantly changing, and when you throw a worldwide pandemic into the mix things start to change even faster (remember just a couple weeks ago when we were all hoarding toilet paper? Thankfully we have moved on from that...I hope). While it may be challenging, it is so important to stay on top of the latest trends. So let’s walk through some of the biggest trends of 2020, and how COVID-19 might alter them.
Consumers Are Buying From Home
First up, and this should be kind of obvious, all of your consumers are at home- figure out how to reach them there! While stay-at-home orders may be lifting, and stores and restaurants may be opening, that doesn’t mean consumers are going to start leaving their homes like they used to. Working from home is still happening, curbside pick ups are still happening, and social distancing is still happening. So, the best way to reach consumers is through their mobile device.
Email is not dead everybody! In fact, it is very much alive as 77 percent of US consumers have reported purchasing a product/service directly from an email they received. This beats social media posts by 151 percent more sales, social media ads by 134 percent more sales, and online banner ads by 180 percent more sales. So clearly, email is a key player when driving sales from a mobile platform, and this has rang true throughout COVID-19.
Making the Move to Mobile
Many consumers have already started to turn to mobile as a means of online purchasing, and COVID-19 restrictions have only increased this. Consumers are ordering groceries and other essential products online instead of going into the stores, and with retail stores closed it’s forcing consumers to buy online. Amazon and Instacart are great examples of this, as they both have consistently been in the headlines for how many new workers they are hiring or how much their sales are increasing due to an increased demand for mobile orders. While your company may not be seeing as high of a surge in demand as Amazon or Instacart, it doesn’t mean that your eCommerce strategy is any less important.
Give Consumers a Reason to be Loyal
Loyalty is more important than ever these days. Nearly 2/3 of consumers are willing to spend more on a product/service if they are loyal to the brand, and the best way to build a loyal customer base? Create a loyalty program! Loyalty programs have been proven to be very effective and 8 in 10 consumers have reported they are more likely to buy from a brand with a loyalty program. However, when you create your loyalty program you need to make sure it offers real value to consumers. Currently, the number one thing consumers are looking for in a loyalty program is redeemable points and rewards, followed by discounts on products and services, and exclusive/early access to products and services. So if you are looking to increase customer loyalty, these three areas are a great place to start.
Respect Consumers Privacy
Consumers are becoming wary of giving out their data to brands. Only 1/3 of consumers feel comfortable having their online activity tracked, and more and more consumers are starting to install ad blocking tech and turn off location tracking. This is largely due to previous data breaches that have impacted millions of people and been all over the news. However, this does not mean you need to stop asking consumers for data, instead you just need to make sure you’re offering value to consumers in exchange, like, discounts, coupons, loyalty program points, or exclusive access to new products.
You should also be aware of what data consumers are most willing to give. Right now in the U.S., consumers are most likely to provide product feedback, info on products they would consider purchasing in the future, info on products they purchased in the past, and demographic info. If you understand what data consumers are willing to share, you will have better luck receiving the data you ask for.
What to Expect After COVID-19
2020 has already been a crazy year, and while it is likely that we will see some of these consumer behavior trends may change once the dust of COVID-19 settles, it is also likely that COVID-19 will change life as we know it. It is very possible that consumers will continue to rely more on eCommerce and direct to consumer marketing, rather than interacting with brands face-to-face. So, it is important that you get ahead of these 2020 consumer behavior trends rather than ignoring them in hopes of returning to our definition of normal before COVID-19.