How COVID-19 has impacted consumer behavior and attitudes, and what it means for your reopening strategy.
As the economy begins to reopen, customers will begin easing back into their shopping routines. They will shop, but their purchasing decisions will be influenced by a new, post-pandemic mindset. They will favor experiences that are safe; transactions that are frictionless; products/services that are essential; and brands that are optimistic.
How can you make sure your reopening resonates with customers in this mindset? We’ve isolated some of the key takeaways from RTi Research’s consumer sentiment and behavior study, and offer some implications below:
Customers value safety, security and health above anything else. Businesses that abide by new social distancing norms will integrate into daily life quicker than those that do not.
Reopening Implication: Customers want to know that your brand is doing everything in its power to protect their safety and health. As you reopen, it’s critical that you implement new practices and protocols that minimize crowds, allow for social distancing and ensure greater cleanliness (such as more frequent disinfecting of shops or spaces). And as you implement these new methods, make sure to let your customers know what you’re doing! Reducing any uncertainty or hesitation will propel your business forward as you begin to reopen.
Customers favor transactions that are frictionless.
Reopening implication: Frictionless transactions have always meant convenience, convenience, convenience. Now add another layer: cleanliness, cleanliness, cleanliness. Whether offering delivery services, cashless transactions or other types of contactless methods, these solutions will result in customers picking your brand over your competitors.
Customers are relying on online channels more than ever.
Reopening implication: Even when the economy reopens, consumers will still be relying on online channels. Make sure to pay close attention to where traffic is coming from as business begins to open back up. You may need to continue to shift budget to reaching consumers digitally, and your business may still be getting online traffic.
Consumers continue to spend on essentials: cleaning supplies, hygiene products, and groceries.
Reopening Implication: As business resumes, continue to focus your promotional efforts on your most essential items, or the products your customers will be the most comfortable purchasing. As it stands, consumers are not fully ready to spend on non-essentials. If your offering is considered non-essential, continue to convey - and get customers excited about - the value of your product.
Consumer positivity is on the rise and everyone is itching to get back to business. While we are not out of the woods yet, Americans’ outlook on how long the outbreak will last is becoming more positive with more people expecting the outbreak to end in Q2 ‘20.
Reopening Implication: With customers craving optimism, inject your reopening strategy with enthusiastic, positive and uplifting messaging. Show your customers that you’re excited to get back to business and that you’re optimistic about the future. Try to convey even serious messages - such as new social distancing protocols - in a light way, and try to get creative with it!