It’s nearly September. You would think that by now we would be used to it, but somehow this year keeps getting stranger.
Though we had all hoped the COVID-induced hysteria would be a short chapter, it seems the return to normal (or perhaps new normal) is still a long way off. We continue to wait for it, but consumption habits and needs do not. Pandemic spending patterns are drastically altered from previous behaviors. This is not a surprise. What may surprise you, however, is how some of these practices will likely outlast the pandemic itself.
We may not know what life will look like in a year, but, thanks to research conducted by Opinium, we do know what Americans feel about these changing norms and how it may influence their purchasing behavior moving forward:
Retention Marketing is Paying Off.
COVID-19 and the associated economic hardships have made the American public conservative with their spending. If they’re going to part with cash, they want to be certain it is worth it. 54% of Americans say they are purchasing brands they are already familiar with. 41% go as far to say they are cautious about branching out and trying new products. With so much uncertainty in the world, it’s good to feel confident in purchasing habits. Keeping your existing customer base warm to stay on their radar is likely to come back to you in a good way.
The Consideration Phase Has Grown.
One way a business can reach out to new customers right now is by creating more content for the consideration phase of the consumer buying journey. 54% of Americans say they are taking more time to consider purchases and 46% are shopping for the best deals more than in the past. So feeding their need for extra information when it comes to your competitive advantages and then striking with a well-timed coupon code or perk could increase conversions in new business. A nudge too soon may turn potential customers away.
Local Ties Are More Important Than Ever.
The shop local trend is anything but new, but about half of American consumers have been trying to buy more from local and small businesses and plan to continue once quarantine lifts. These businesses typically bring more to a community than their national competitors, and with patronage comes pride for these locales. Emphasizing your business’ ties to your neighborhood, city and state and the values of the people in it will help differentiate from competitors and resonate well.
People Are Saving for Future Indulgence.
Shopping, dining, and travel brands are struggling to make ends meet, but it’s likely there will be more business than they can handle once COVID lifts. 2 in 5 Americans say they expect to have a bigger savings account due to social distancing. 62% plan to treat themselves to more luxury once it is safe again.
Preparing messages inviting customers to indulge now will allow brands an early advantage by strategizing to send once communities reopen more freely. In some cases, it may even make sense to sell future indulgences now to keep your business afloat.
It’s likely that your business has been acting on a crisis communications plan for quite some time now as the situation has continued to change. Fortunately, it may finally be possible to take a longer lens on changes to the sales funnel as impacted by coronavirus. We’re in for a long haul, and having long-term investment in marketing strategy can help your business weather the storm.