Think you know what your customers want? Think again about everything that has changed since the rise of Covid-19. The effects of the pandemic and the still dangerous economic prospects for businesses and families have shaped the way we think and live.
At the height of the pandemic, nearly 80% of Americans suffered financially from job losses, recessions and other hardships. As the economy crashes and consumption habits change, consumers remain nervous.
With tight budgets and shortages of everything from food to cars, many consumers are rearranging their priorities and lifestyle choices. Businesses today need to understand consumer needs and expectations in order to adapt to changes in consumer behavior and market their products and services appropriately.
How companies can adapt to the biggest changes in consumer behavior
Happy to be home
Today’s consumers are looking for ways to work and play comfortably at home. According to a survey by Houzz, 55% of homeowners plan to renovate their home this year. Businesses can adapt by promoting products and services that improve the lives of families. Focus on the most popular room renovation project: the kitchen. Marketing-focused products include cooking equipment, game room equipment, home bars, and anything related to personal entertainment.
Spend less, save more
The current economic impact on households has led more people to search for discounts, use digital coupons and compare prices. With new crisis preparedness forecasts, consumers are now 15 times more likely to build an emergency savings fund and save more.
Businesses can adapt by finding unique ways to help customers save money while shopping. Loyalty/rewards programs are becoming increasingly popular and help retain customers. Encourage bulk purchases as a money-saving solution and enable households to store items that may be in short supply due to supply chain issues.
The pandemic has fueled an online shopping trend that shows no signs of stopping. Consumers will spend more than $870 billion online by 2021, an increase of $762.7 billion (14.2%) from 2020. If you haven’t yet ventured into the digital world, now is the time to start your e Build commerce website and social media presence. Promote your website and social media through billboard ads and other reasonable advertising methods to accommodate these changes in consumer behavior.
During the pandemic, consumers lost trust in people who provided contradictory and sometimes incorrect information. Equally frustrating are companies that openly oppose or support ideas that don’t suit their customers. Trust and brand loyalty are too important to lose.
Companies can adapt to these changes in consumer behavior by changing their brand image and promoting their products and services. If you want to show your support for a clean environment, offer sustainable products. Show your patriotism if you want. But always focus on customer needs – not controversy – and you stay ahead of the competition.
Prepare your business for the unknown
One of the things the pandemic has taught us is that it is important to have a crisis management strategy in place if your company is to survive future business disruptions. Include these topics in your crisis management plan:
When it’s hard to find jobs, companies are in the driver’s seat. But that is not the case today. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 11.5 million jobs at the end of March 2022. Signs of help appeared on the ground in every community.
How can a company prepare for a staff shortage? By creating a positive image that shows an attractive work culture. Potential employees will apply to your company if the atmosphere is friendly and helpful. Explain the positive work culture in each job description.
It’s also important to offer benefits that applicants and existing employees can actually take advantage of. Affordable health insurance and paid time off are usually at the top of the list of benefits new employees want. Fitness center membership, packed lunches, and remote commute options are also worth considering.
A good budget is needed all year round to maintain a cash balance to get through tough times. Keeping your expenses below your income each month is essential to build wealth and invest in the future.
Manufacturers who sell on account (giving customers or suppliers time to pay) suffer the most during difficult times. One way to improve cash flow is to promote pre-orders for frequently purchased products.
Retailers can generate cash flow by selling package deals that are prepaid. A good example is monthly or annual gym memberships that expire in advance. It is also important for retail businesses to keep track of their inventory. Excess unsold goods can take up cash and get in the way of healthy cash flow.
A good crisis management plan should focus on maintaining customer loyalty. These people are your life and are often your only means of survival when profits are low.
Give your valued customers good reasons to return. Bonuses or loyalty programs, as discussed earlier, give your customers an incentive to continue shopping for your business.
Don’t be afraid to let all your customers know how much you value their business. Create “customer review” sales or special discount offers for purchases made on specific future dates (future sales guarantee). These little “thanks” and generous discounts may have a temporary impact on your earnings, but they will help you secure your income in the future.
Lack of Supply Chain
Businesses look bad when the shelves are empty. It can damage a company’s reputation, even if the problem is beyond their control. But there are some things a company can do to minimize the effects of a disrupted supply chain:
- Know your inventory and increase the number of best-selling items with every opportunity you get. This may mean spending more on additional storage, but in the long run, it may be worth it to keep customers happy.
- Keep your eyes peeled for alternative purchases, such as unbranded items or product substitutions. Something is better than nothing when customers are desperate.
- Let them know when you expect the hard-to-find items, but warn them that the supply chain is unpredictable right now. They will appreciate your honesty and you will build trust.