IMPORTANT UPDATE: Two days after publishing this article, the Queensland Government announced the Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant Program to help support businesses to adapt to changes in consumer behaviour following COVID-19 restrictions. Eligible Queensland businesses can apply for a grant of up to $10,000 to help them in a number of areas including digital marketing. Many of the things mentioned in the article below – such as upgrade a website to include ecommerce functionality or creating new content – would be covered by the grant. Learn more about the grant here and get in contact with BeKonstructive Marketing if you’d like to learn more about how we can help your business use the Adaption Grant Program to meet the changes in consumer behaviour.
The Importance of Digital in a Post-Covid World
One thing that I think we can all agree on is that Covid-19 has changed the world forever. As a marketer, part of my role involves keeping a watchful eye on shifts in consumer behaviour. Trying to predict how new technology, world events or other circumstances slowly evolve the way that people shop and spend money, and then helping businesses adapt to those changes is a big part of what I do everyday.
We already know that pre-Covid, online shopping was on the up-and-up; more and more people were starting to rely on the convenience of being able to order virtually anything from anywhere (their morning commute, sitting on the lounge of an evening, distracting them from a boring work meeting), and have it turn up on their doorstep within a few days.
But while there was a growing contingent of people who were becoming more reliant upon online shopping, there was still a large portion of people who were dragging their feet about it. They had their reasons – maybe they just prefer to ‘go shopping’ where they can touch and feel the products before they commit. Maybe they are ‘technophobes’, afraid that they aren’t computer-savvy enough to shop online. Maybe they are resistant to change. And maybe, like my own father, they have read one too many stories of people having their identities stolen over the internet!
Either way, the point I’m trying to make here is that these people have now been forced to start shopping online. They’ve been given a big hard push and plunged into the deep end, forced to overcome their fears or resistance and to start purchasing a lot of their day-to-day items online. And now that they know the convenience of online shopping, it will be embedded into their lifestyle forever more.
You order your groceries online during your commute to work and they’re sitting at your door waiting for you when you get home. You sign up to a Nespresso subscription and your coffee pods are replenished on a monthly basis without needing to remember. And you order and pay for your Mother’s Day bouquet in advance, not needing to worry about making it to the florist early enough so that you don’t miss out.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that thanks to Covid-19, people are now going to expect every business that they interact with to be able to take orders and payment online. They’re going to expect to have ‘click and collect’ options, and they’re going to be using these features in their day-to-day life a lot more frequently.
Businesses that previously relied heavily on walk-ins and a great store front display or location to drive the large majority of their sales may find themselves needing to invest more in their digital marketing channels.
Some of the things you can look at doing to adapt to these changes in consumer behaviour include:
- Upgrade your website to e-commerce – secure their orders by taking payment at the time that they’re browsing your website.
- Offer multiple delivery options – standard post, same day delivery, click-and-collect. Give the customer as many options as you’re able to.
- Update your website – make sure that your entire product category is online. Make sure that your capabilities and full-service offering is clear. People don’t want to pick up the phone and ask you if you have or do what they’re after – it should be very clear on your website that either have it or you don’t.
- Be active on social media – social media feeds are like news feeds. They are a notice board for your business and they also enable ‘digital window shopping’. If someone has a question about your business like will you be open on a public holiday, do you do custom orders, or do you stock a certain product in a particular colour – they will often check your social media feed. If they don’t see the answer to their question on your social media feed, they might send you a comment or a message to find out. Or they might go find a different business that they know does what they need.
The biggest thing to remember is that a lot of people are now doing their shopping online outside of standard business / operating hours. They don’t want to wait until 9am the next morning to visit your shop or call to place an order – so as business owners, we need to be making sure that our digital channels have the capacity to take orders and bookings 24/7. We need to take ourselves out of the equation and ensure that if someone wants to buy or order our product or service at 1am while they’re lying in bed wide awake, they have all of the information and functionality to be able to do so.
We need to adapt our businesses to the ever-changing trends in consumer behaviour.