As the world continues to navigate through the uncertainty of the COVID 19 crisis, businesses have taken a massive hit, leaving leaders scrambling for ways to keep businesses afloat. It is now strongly established that consumption patterns will see a colossal shift in the coming weeks. Offline purchases will be shifted to eCommerce, leaving brands to consider and implement stronger strategies to keep up with this inevitable change in consumption patterns. In a recent episode of Talks at Tenovia with business leaders, we interviewed TN Hari, entrepreneur, author, and Head of HR at Big Basket. In the discussion, he highlighted the 5x increase in demand for goods and the challenges businesses will face to match the demand during the crisis. The demand itself indicates a shift in buying behavior and this is something that every organization needs to analyze. In times of a crisis quickly adapting to the buyer’s needs is key to sustaining in the long run.
Some key consumer behavior changes according to a research study by Agility PR
- 44 % of respondents say that the coronavirus spread has impacted their purchase decisions.
- 21% of respondents say they are shopping more frequently online.
- 29% of respondents say they are taking advantage of BOPIS services to get products delivered without going in-store, with 18 percent using a curbside pickup, 17 percent using subscription services, and 13 percent opting for auto ship.
While some of these changes are going to be temporary, others would be permanent. Consumers have come to realize that touch and feel are not as important especially in the event of a pandemic. This leaves online purchases and eCommerce a wide array of opportunities to catch momentum.
The reluctancy to step outside and buy will mark a tipping point for the adoption of eCommerce platforms. According to Bain insights, the outbreak in China has caused dramatic shifts in online purchases of consumer goods in China and this will hold true worldwide.
Traditional brick and mortar retailers need to quickly adapt to changing consumer buying preferences. They either choose to fulfill orders through established online retailers resulting in reduced bottom-line revenues or enter the eCommerce business wherein they sell directly to consumers.
Retailers should explore an Omnichannel approach in order to stabilize and then increase revenues. Here are a few tips for business leaders to succeed during a crisis:
- Consider going hyperlocal
- Leverage tech to forecast demand and optimize inventory
- Evolve your business model and ecosystem
- Refocus on products and offer customizable solutions
- Revolutionize your marketing techniques
In the words of Darwin “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”
As consumers gradually but firmly change their buying preferences towards the online channel and eCommerce channels it is important that retailers adapt to change immediately unless they want to be the next Kodak or Nokia.