With the advent of Covid, a lot has changed worldwide. This also applies to consumers. With the closure of physical stores, there has been a shift from offline to online purchases, which still allowed many companies in the retail sector to keep their heads above water. The travel industry is starting up again. In this article, we discuss current changes in consumer behaviour, changes in future prospects, and what we can expect from the current distribution of online and offline purchases. Are you wondering how your company can best respond to the most current situation and the associated needs of potential customers? Read on.
During the pandemic
A positive shift seems to have taken place for online retailers, as consumers made 43% more online purchases in 2020 than in 2019, according to the Thuiswinkel Markt Monitor.
Despite this increase, there is a big difference in online consumer behaviour. In uncertain times, such as during the pandemic, consumer behaviour is different from ‘normal’ times. When we are in a crisis, our needs shift and we react differently emotionally, both consciously and subconsciously. Because most psychological principles are based on subconscious habitual behavior, we also see a shift in online influence.
The uncertainty the virus brought with it made people need more control. And this need is continuing during the final days of the pandemic.
With a good website experience and personalisation, your company can persuade visitors. As a result of the pandemic, many companies have a reduced media budget, which can be put to good use by smart advertising targeting the right audiences! By using our data platform, you will be able to properly map out your visitors’ purchase intentions and respond to them by deploying the right channels and campaigns at the right time.
Some behaviours that can be taken into account during the pandemic:
- More people are working from home. This is why there is an increase in the purchase of products for home use, as well as products that make working from home easier.
- Not being able to go on holiday or going out means that there is more money left over for other expenses. This is translated in purchases to improve the home experience.
- An increase in comparison behaviour.
After the pandemic
Because the shops were closed for a long time, the purchasing behaviour that normally took place on the high street was shifted to websites. ‘Shopping’ as we knew it moved to online shops, just like the ‘bargain hunting’. And, because this is a lot easier online, comparing played a much greater role than before. In addition, finding a real bargain is a challenge, for the consumer it can feel like a fun game where the aim is to find the cheapest product. This is similar to finding a nice product in the sale or in a cheap shop, where you know you’re getting a bargain.
Now that the shops are open again, it is important for online sellers to keep online shopping attractive for visitors. Where you previously only sold products, you are now selling an experience. Examples include introducing new products, technologies or other ways of viewing products (online fitting room, 3D product viewing, catwalk, etc.).
Immediately after the pandemic, most people will want to live in the moment. This means going out more often, maintaining a lot of social contacts and having more fun. Similar behaviours are evident in areas where, for example, there has just been a war, and people want to enjoy their regained freedom.
The following behaviours are expected based on previous periods of crisis and loss of freedom:
- Buying more luxury/eye-catching products to increase consumer confidence. The underlying thought is to create the immortality of identity.
- There is an increase in searching for brands known to a person and buying them locally.
- The search for the cheapest product should ideally also be made more fun, so that the consumer also retains the positive experience online. It is expected that people will largely go back to physical shops. The more of these people you can help online, the better.
Much of the consumer behaviour will eventually revert to the old, unless it turns out that the alternative is easier, more fun or cheaper at the time of crisis. So it’s wise to think carefully about how your company can use this.
Responding to needs
If your company want to respond to the constantly changing needs of a visitor, it is a good idea to map these needs using a data platform. By using a data platform, you can record the behaviour of a visitor in a profile and use this profile to make personal recommendations or personalise the offer on the website.
Because a lot has changed and is changing in these times, you always want to convey the right message at the right time via the right channel. With the Shopping Minds data platform, you will be using a segmentation model with various customer segments. Which segment a customer falls under may depend on the current situation. When you respond to this, you are guaranteed achieve an optimal customer experience.
Deploy a SMart Promotion, for example – a campaign where a particular discount is offered to the visitor – when a user shows judger behaviour.
We define a judger as someone who looks at a product, pays a lot of attention to it and compares it. They enlarge photos, for example, read reviews, select different options such as colour, size or quantity and look at alternatives. They are really interested in a particular product.
This is much like to a comparer, who is already a bit further along in the purchasing process. They know what they want and compare this on different websites. Aspects that are compared can include price, colour, size and model. If a comparer has left the website, the next goal is to get them to come back to the website. This can be done via Adwords and display advertising, for example.
Another smart approach is to use an email campaign based on a user’s preferences and needs. You can use this to promote offers, or offer exclusive access to certain products or services. This and much more is possible with the Shopping Minds data platform.
Would you like to how to optimise your marketing during/after the pandemic?
Do you want to store all visitor data of website visitors on a data platform and use it in a targeted marketing strategy? Please contact us without obligation to request a demo or to discuss the options. With our data platform, you can be certain of the perfect approach, pandemic or no pandemic, to turn your visitors into customers by responding to their needs in the current context.