COVID-19 is making an unprecedented impact on the global economy. In these times of economic uncertainty, companies – big & small – are seeing immediate changes to customer behaviors as sales from historically consistent customer segments have become unreliable and unpredictable.
‘Stay-at-Home” orders in place across the globe have accelerated shifts in the way people work, shop, consume media and relate to brands overall. Consumers who traditionally shopped in stores are migrating to mobile and online channels for information and purchases. Digital and streaming content is increasing. Health/safety product sales, grocery delivery and restaurant takeout have skyrocketed. The film industry is generating revenues by releasing new movies direct to consumers via pay-per-view and on-demand channel partners.
The big question is what happens when this is all over. Will customers revert to their pre-pandemic purchasing patterns, or will these recently adopted behaviors become permanent? It’s not enough to just keep afloat during the pandemic … companies must also be prepared to quickly adapt to changing behaviors in order to grow and thrive once we revert back to our pre-pandemic lives.
Consumers and businesses are in a state of uncertainty right now and trying to adapt to a continuously evolving situation. While companies should prepare for a short-term hit to revenue, they should also be putting a plan in place to reconnect their brands and products with their customers and prospects. Organizations that can read and react to the shifts in behaviors will enhance their ability to re-engage customers and positively influence the speed of recovery to their businesses.
Data is more important than ever to help identify & understand changes in behavior – short & long-term – and making strategic adjustments. Here are a few suggestions for leveraging data to help now while preparing for the post COVID-19 economy:
- Centralize customer information to create a unified view
- Segment customers into key audience groups
- Establish KPIs for pre-pandemic timeframe
- Compare pre-pandemic customer segment KPIs to the pandemic timeframe to identify changes in behavior
- Implement continuous measurement reporting to quickly spot trends and shifts in consumer behaviors
In times like these, it’s important that companies continue to engage with customers to reassure and reduce anxieties. Organizations that use data to adjust their strategies accordingly will be better suited to regain and grow market share and sales quickly when we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.