In just a matter of months, COVID-19 has changed the way consumers live, work, and shop. As markets buckle up for a longer period of social distancing and safety concerns, let’s look at what analytics has revealed about customer behavior.
1. Digital-first then omnichannel
Since pandemic restrictions started, online sales rose by 46% according to Signifyd. The provider of online fraud protection also observed growth in first-time online shoppers—particularly among older generations.
New research from Adobe Analytics revealed that online shopping levels from April to May were higher by 7% than the 2019 holiday season (November to December). Wunderman Thompson Commerce also found that only 16% of consumers plan to return to their old shopping habits post-pandemic.
In B2B, McKinsey & Co. shared that decision-makers prefer “digital now ~2X more than traditional sales interactions.” Priority is given to self-serve, digital ordering methods such as mobile app ordering which grew by over 250%.
As potential customers spend more time online, brands must establish an omnichannel presence for exposure and availability. Beyond in-house sales teams doing outbound calls, this means being present in traditional and digital channels including online marketplaces, search engines, and social media.
2. Focus is on value, quality, and innovation
Consumer confidence is down. According to Accenture, consumers are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on personal job security (64%) and the economy (88%). As a result, they’re more mindful of their finances, spending only on health and essentials.
In B2B, the same trend is happening. As companies continue to shift priorities, budgets have become more fluid and buying decisions are evaluated more thoroughly.
On the other side, the global health crisis did bring innovative changes. For 60% of large global organizations, Econsultancy found, the new processes that were put in place might stay post-pandemic.
In particular, observations include innovations in customer communications (43%), product or service (47%), and marketing messaging or branding (49%). What might stay post-outbreak are the new processes (60%) and new ways of working (82%).
3. Customer relationships take centerstage
Because of supply chain disruptions, many consumers had to explore different brands and products. Moreover, a ChannelAdvisor and Dynata survey found that 40% of respondents who visited a shop since reopening found the experience “less enjoyable” than before COVID-19.
Poor shopping journeys impact customer loyalty. So, companies have been implementing digital solutions to improve the customer experience online and offline. Examples include virtual try-on, live streaming, 3D technology, and co-browsing services.
In B2B, fostering valuable customer relationships is equally important. During this time of crisis, Forrester advised that “B2B buyers expect their suppliers to treat them as partners, not targets.”
In fact, “more than 60% of buyers now say providers that are knowledgeable and address their needs have the most positive impact on their buying decisions.” Across the buying journey, “creating lasting partnerships through empathy and commitment” is what today’s B2B buyers are looking for.
How to move forward?
With these behavioral changes, it’s crucial to rethink customer journeys to stay relevant. And data plays a huge role in understanding new consumer preferences and personalizing the buying experience accordingly.
Dealtale is the single platform for analyzing, optimizing, and monitoring all customer touchpoints across marketing, sales, and customer success. It turns data into insights so businesses can remove frictions from customer journeys, build meaningful customer relationships, and deliver seamless customer experiences.
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