2020 proved to be no exception to that concept with the quick introduction of a virus that completely changed the world. Although behaviors and shopping habits dramatically changed in an instant, overall the concept of adapting to stay afloat remained the same. No matter the time, the economic environment, or even the business, it will always remain true that with time customers change and so too must businesses.
With that said, the question remains - how do businesses evaluate and change their strategies in order to remain relevant to customers, especially in uncertain times like the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020?
The key thing to remember is your customers. Try not to get stuck on the nitty gritty details at the beginning. Instead, evaluate your customers from more of a top-level mind set. That means diving deep into the overall customer behaviors that do not change over time, then dismantling that information to apply to the current environment. After all, the principal of buying and selling will always remain the same.
- Examine where your customers shop – How customers shop has changed dramatically over the years. Think about when the catalog first came out and how big of a disruption that was to the typical method of going into a store to buy everything. Today, customers expect to be able to review potential purchases online, and that doesn’t mean just the internet. They expect to find information on social media, too. That doesn’t eliminate the need for brick and mortar stores. During this global pandemic, social distancing made brick and mortar stores inoperable or unfeasible, but over time that will change. Businesses need to adapt in order to meet their customers’ needs, just while abiding to social distancing protocols. This may lead to more online shopping, virtual selling, and personal deliveries.
- Consider where your customers see your business – This coincides with how customers shop. The traditional concept of advertising where the customers’ eyes are will never change. Rather, the place that customers view and take action from an advertisement will. People are spending more time online and not just to shop. Think about where you personally get your news, entertainment, and other information. The same goes with how your potential customers see the message, and how you promote your business.
- Think about how customers want to be treated – Today’s customers want instant gratification when they purchase something. That means deliveries have to be faster and in-store stock has to be accurate. This has led to the major change of customers wanting purchases dropped off at their front door. COVID-19 is a great example of businesses changing quickly to reflect how customers want to be treated. In order to remain relevant, some businesses quickly adapted to offer personal delivery services, or contactless pickup for products.
- Evaluate what entices customers to act – Once you’ve figured out how to get customers in either the physical or virtual door, then you have to determine what grabs their attention to make a purchase. Consider tweaking your incentives to experiment with what customers really want, such as bundling products together, offering rewards programs and discounts, or even changing how you offer the original product. Lots of businesses did this to the extreme during the global pandemic, and it worked. If customers can’t come in to your restaurant, offer the meals to take and bake; or if you run a salon, consider offering customers hair and nail products with a coupon to come back later. Either way, the small changes still cater to a customer’s needs, and allows them to make the necessary purchases they want, all while keeping money rolling into your business.