COVID-19 and Changing Consumer Behaviours Online

How is your business navigating the COVID-19 crisis?

COVID-19 is much more than just a health crisis. While the ongoing global health impacts of the coronavirus can never be understated, the pandemic has also generated a domino-effect of unprecedented outcomes to lifestyles, businesses, and economies worldwide.

One of the major changes wrought by COVID-19 to date is the boom in eCommerce. Our world has been reshaped by the pandemic and the forced changes in how we live and work. More consumers than ever before are electing to shop and do business online.

How is COVID-19 Changing Consumer Behaviour?

Consumer behaviours and attitudes have changed over the last six months, and many of these changes will remain even when life returns to “normal”. Consumer sentiment and action reflect the uncertainties of the pandemic, and there are five major shifts (mckinsey.com) that have been identified worldwide:

  1. A shift towards essentials and core values in an uncertain economy
  2. A more homebound economy for work and recreation
  3. A more healthwise and caring economy
  4. Shock to customer loyalty
  5. Shift towards digital and online trade to avoid crowded precincts

Aside from the “panic buying” seen earlier in the crisis, these shifts translate to more modest and “mindful” spending. Consumers are:

  1. purchasing essentials while reducing discretionary spending
  2. selecting less expensive products
  3. choosing to save money rather than spending indiscriminately
  4. researching product and brand options before purchasing
  5. making purchase decisions based on quality, value, and availability rather than brand loyalty

Also:

  • The global pandemic has accelerated the previously predicted move towards online shopping by five years (techcrunch.com).
  • Sales by non-essential retailers (including department stores) declined by 25% in the first quarter of 2020 and up to 75% in the second quarter of 2020. This is an unprecedented change in just six months.
  • It’s predicted by market experts that eCommerce will ultimately grow by as much as 20% by the end of 2020.
  • Contactless services have boomed – including contactless delivery, curbside pickup, drive-through service, telehealth, digital meetings, working from home, etc.
  • Brand loyalty has suffered as a consequence of disruptions to supply chains, with consumers forced to try different brands or to purchase from different retailers (e.g. toilet paper!).
  • Consumers are shopping more consciously – centring their purchases around basic needs, shopping online, and supporting local business.

How Are Businesses Adapting?

Businesses of all kinds are being forced to adapt to these changes – and many of the new ways of operating will be permanent. As people look to digital channels for connecting, learning, working, shopping, and recreation, these new behaviours will transform how industries operate in the future.

The new habits that are forming now will endure.

Those businesses that successfully adapt are:

  • Working to understand the changing needs and desires of their customers
  • Complying with health recommendations
  • Facilitating ways of doing business digitally – from enabling their employees to work from home as much as possible, to offering online customer experiences
  • Focusing on more local lead generation to positively exploit supply and demand considerations
  • Having and communicating clear health strategies to support the health of consumers, employees, and the general public
  • Adapting to changing needs: e.g. doctors offering telehealth consultations; distilleries making hand sanitiser; businesses providing richer online content; a new virtual workforce where possible; maximising work-life balance for employees
  • Revolutionising customer relations: reshaping digital marketing plans around changes to brand purpose and demand; redefining relationships; reimagining business models; and reconsidering products and services and how they are offered.

The future is ONLINE.

It’s not likely that post-pandemic (and yes, COVID-19 will end!) consumers and businesses will collectively revert to pre-COVID-19 shopping practices. The convenience and versatility of both shopping online and running a business online (as much as is feasible for each industry) that is being demonstrated in 2020 has opened us all up to new and more appealing ways of operating.

To survive in an uncertain economy and generate income, more and more small- and micro-businesses (and even many medium-sized businesses) are electing to move their business primarily online.

Benefits of operating your business online include:

  • Save money by reducing or eliminating bricks-and-mortar costs
  • Unlimited lead potential and income potential
  • Global access 24/7 for a global customer base
  • Greater flexibility
  • Automation
  • Improved customer/client service
  • Faster product delivery
  • Increased professionalism
  • Less waste
  • Better work-life balance

As challenging as 2020 has been (and continues to be) this is an exciting time to make some positive, lasting changes to how you do business and to set yourself up for future growth and success in an ever more competitive marketplace.

Sparx Digital is currently building more eCommerce websites for businesses than we ever have before.
So what are you waiting for?

Contact Sparx Digital!

Here at Sparx Digital, we have simple, one-page eCommerce website options and solutions for businesses. Explore more about what we offer here.

We are a fun and energetic digital agency and our team are passionate about helping our clients by empowering your business through visionary and insightful website design, Google Advertising, Facebook Advertising, and Email Marketing. We take the confusion and complexity out of digital marketing and deliver creative strategies to see you succeed – and we are on top of what’s needed to help your business navigate the changed COVID-19 has wrought.

Call us today on 1300 477 279 or email us at hello@sparx.com.au.

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