The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way consumers behave. Systemic and permanent changes in branding and marketing are in play and the businesses that adjust and respond will benefit from boosting cash flow recovery.
Your Brand Reimagined
Across the world consumers have leapfrogged the adoption of online purchasing. What would have taken 3-5 years to emerge has occurred in 6 months. Furthermore, this change in purchasing behavior will stick because it is more efficient, economic, and easier than shopping in-store. For example, Amazon’s sales were up 26% year-over-year for the first quarter.
This fostered a rethinking of the consumer connection. Now begins the D2C (direct-to-consumer) purchasing model. This new model will be accompanied by ever narrowing customer demographic segments.
Rapid Revenue Recovery (Increasing Cash Flow)
First, marketers will need to redesign their shoppers’ journey. The consumer is at ease with online shopping. It is more comfortable, time select, browser friendly, and you can ‘add to cart’ and come back later.
Second, e-services will expand exponentially. Banks, media, and entertainment have had a high penetration of online service. They will be joined by telemedicine, governments, food preparation, health, real estate, auto purchasing, etc. The list will be long and broad. Moreover, the home became ‘the spot’ for working, learning, shopping, playing, sleeping, entertainment, cooking/eating, et.al.
Given all of these behavioral changes, marketers will need to reimagine their media mix to include video conferencing platforms, virtual reality, and even video games. Businesses will now be selling to a ‘homebody economy’.
Moreover, people now stay closer to home. With travel and other lockdowns and constraints, the local community has become more relevant. Supporting familiar, local businesses will be the new normal. Now, the goal is to position your brand as a go-to place for purchasing.
In-store retail buying will take time to recover, if it recovers at all. However, consumers are pent-up and want to get out and shop. Depending on their location, and the reduction or increase of COVID-19, local government mandates, and good, old-fashioned fear, retail, brick-and-mortar shopping may or may not recover by the end of 2020.
Curbside pickup and self-checkout are now commonplace in grocery stores and big-box locations. Scan-and-go will become popular. This entails customers visiting display walls where items are showcased then scanned for delivery-to-home.
With the pandemic came thrift as a main factor in purchasing. Store brands have increased by 20% since January as value replaced luxury. Trust is another key purchasing factor. Brands that consumers consider trustworthy and of value will be the big winners in the post COVID world.
Brands will be held accountable for problem solving and easing consumer pain points. Their involvement in community, the employee experience, and good citizenship bolstered with real results will be required. Yet, consumers are not so brand-loyal anymore. Moreover, competition is fierce and you must watch what your competitors are doing if you don’t want to get left behind in the dust.
In conclusion, business marketing and branding has changed forever and the sooner businesses react and adjust, the sooner will be their rapid revenue recovery.