Opinion: Understanding the changing consumer of the post-pandemic world

Marketing

Nandini Bhupat of Ikokas Digital Technologies shares how many businesses have shifted away from action-oriented marketing towards a more empathetic approach keeping in mind the consumer of today.

Great marketing has always been evaluated on its ability to disrupt old behavioral patterns and create new ones. However, in the present scenario marketing norms are undergoing an evolution. COVID-19 continues to teach us the value of agility and nimbleness as businesses have had to adapt and respond swiftly to shifting circumstances. While some of the marketing strategies used in 2020-21 may be transitory, many businesses have shifted away from action-oriented marketing towards a more empathetic approach. We’ve witnessed a shift in consumer behavior for social, cultural, and shopping habits, which have acquired prominence and long-term impact.

The Emergence Of Digital Shopping

Consumers have been compelled to buy in new and diverse ways as a result of social distancing and lockdowns. The resurrection and surge of e-commerce and online purchasing show no signs of abating. In fact, according to the most recent research, post-pandemic e-commerce purchases are expected to be growing at 169%. The majority of customers who increased their usages of digital and omnichannel services, such as home delivery, curbside pickup, or social media purchasing continue to do so even after the pandemic is over. 

The e-commerce platform Flipkart reported that the online search for white goods has quadrupled in July. Products like hygiene appliances such as vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, and trimmers were the highest demanded online, so much so that brands like IFB had to suspend a few orders to keep up with the demand. Brands must break through barriers and integrate marketing channels with their overall business strategy to meet the customer’s expectations. This is also known as holistic channel integration: a full-funnel approach to the marketing strategy that includes interactions with your brand across all channels and platforms throughout the consumer journey. To do so, brands will have to create a strategy that works across all marketing platforms and maintain their learning through testing, measuring, and iterating them.

Changing Customer Expectations

The pandemic has put our patience, focus, and compassion to the test. It might also be putting our brand loyalty to the test. According to a recent McKinsey study, 75% of shoppers have altered their brand preferences through the pandemic. There is no single explanation for this shift, but there are many significant elements that have contributed to the loss of brand loyalty that you should be aware of

• Emergence of online marketing channels for brands
• Additional offers and promotions
• Changing product positioning

Your marketing teams need to stay ahead of the curve by observing the change in customer behavior, brand preferences and roll out marketing campaigns consequently. Safety and hygiene continue to be the top priority for customers. Be it dine-in or delivery, brands have taken Safety measures like no-touch deliveries to even share the vaccinated status of delivery people and discount on dine-in for people who are vaccinated. This has been a good tactic as psychological marketing to ensure people on safety measures are taken care of by brands.

To respond effectively to shifting patterns and industry upheavals, brands should implement a robust yet flexible framework that allows them to effectively communicate execution and conduct experiences on a large scale on a continual basis—all guided by a shared vision of their long-term goals and business procedures.

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Brand Experience 

Experience is the most important aspect of any long-term brand building. During the pandemic lockdowns, brands have gone transcended to providing a healthy and safe experience to their customers. How a brand reacts to new consumer expectations from brands isn’t the core of establishing a strong connection with their customers. A fine example is how Nike made its club training subscription free for a limited period of time during lockdown to encourage a healthy lifestyle and maintain fitness. It was a successful campaign that increased the app user as well as boosted their brand authority.

From providing essential services at home with complete safety guidelines to no-touch deliveries, brands have adapted changes to offer the consumer a better experience and peace of mind. Expect health and safety messaging and innovative ‘at home’ interaction methods to gain even more prominence in the future, since health issues are already affecting companies that don’t normally advertise themselves in that area (think brick-and-mortar retail, beauty, or even rental vehicles). 

Furthermore, even when the health crisis has passed, the economic impact will persist. Leading businesses will focus on customer experiences that are emerging as the most important differentiator in the “new normal”. 

Conclusion

If we have learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that we are resilient and agile, despite how difficult it has been. In marketing, we must also think and act in this manner. Be tenacious and agile.

The article is penned by Nandini Bhupat, Director – Marketing & Brand Communications, Ikokas Digital Technologies


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