Leveraging Consumers’ Post-COVID-19 Spending Habits
|Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.|
Leveraging Consumers’ Post-COVID-19 Spending Habits
There’s no question that COVID-19 took a toll on every facet of life as we know it. With the upheaval of “normal life” over the last year and more, people’s priorities have shifted along with their behaviors, resulting in significant changes in where, how and on what consumers spend. So, let’s talk about one of the changes the pandemic brought about that impacts your business in a particularly direct way: consumer spending.
There are several lasting takeaways from living in a world struggling through a pandemic that people are likely to retain and which will be reflected in their spending for quite a while. Some of these include:
Many of these takeaways were/are still predicated on keeping safe and maintaining the healthy practices that slow the spread of coronavirus. Virtual, well, everything, became the norm - from shopping to dining to meeting to vacationing. Most people willingly adapted their everyday lives accordingly to adopt safer practices. It was far from seamless or convenient, but changes were implemented for the greater good. Restaurants adapted their menus to take out, delivery or curbside pickup; retailers made similar arrangements so that customers need not enter their establishments. Delivery services have boomed, bringing anything and everything to our doors without the need to venture out into the world at large. Businesses (and any get-togethers at all, really) began meeting and conducting their face-to-face interactions virtually, hugely reducing the number of risky, in-person exchanges.
You may notice now that restrictions are loosening, that the public’s hold on doing more virtually is not. The realization that many things can be accomplished virtually was significant and has caused many companies to rethink the way they conduct business. Customers have come to expect the ability to interact, order and communicate online; and have demonstrated a willingness to pay a premium for the opportunity. They appreciate the convenience, speed and yes, the safety. It will behoove you to continue offering virtual options for customers who have discovered they prefer doing business that way.
As the world shut down and “normal” interactions became increasingly scarce, so did many of the things people did to imbue their lives with meaning. Previously, these things may have included working excessive hours to gain personal wealth, traveling to exotic places or fiercely exercising to achieve and/or maintain a “perfect” physique. With a pandemic threatening the very fabric of life, these values faded, becoming less motivational and fulfilling. Other, more lasting and ephemeral values emerged at the forefront, like spending quality time with loved ones, documenting our legacy and ticking off items from our bucket list. These non-physical, more intimate values have emerged as the global threat of coronavirus took precedence in individuals’ lives.
This may factor into your business because customers tended to abandon certain “luxury” pastimes in favor of ones that more immediately filled their emotional needs. As the pandemic chips away at a sense of life’s permanence, consumers are less incentivized to purchase the “trappings” of what used to be considered success and more willing to purchase experiences that will make them feel fulfilled in the moment. And again, they are willing to pay whatever it takes to have those experiences that mean so much to them, even when the cost is high in relation to the offering as a whole. Bear this in mind when designing and pricing your offerings now and into the future.
There’s little doubt that, despite the threat of COVID-19, most locations are cleaner and more sanitary than ever. Your business, in fact, may have hired a specialized cleaning service to ensure your premises are and remain hygienic. This factor may even have you considering if it’s prudent to ever have your business open to the public (where outside germs can be introduced into your nice, clean environment) or - at the very least, if it’s wise to open at your previous (larger) capacity.
Converting your previously larger business to more of a “boutique” experience may help your company reimagine itself in light of the toll COVID-19 took on most businesses. Large companies that “pack ‘em in” are now considered unsafe and unwise to public health. Perhaps going small and intimate (with a higher associated price tag) is the way to ensure that you feel safe operating your business - and that customers feel safe patronizing it - into the future
I’m not certain that we were previously aware of any degree of inconvenience that plagued us, but certainly the pandemic has shown us that we can enjoy (and expect) a great deal more convenience in our lives. From pre-made dinner kits to contactless payments to astronomically fast shipping speeds, we’ve never had it so convenient. While many innovations have come into existence due to the pandemic, they will not be leaving us when it’s gone from our midst. We like convenience and we’re not about to let things go back to the “snail’s pace” of pre-COVID-19 times.
You certainly recognize that convenience is king these days. Even with a higher price tag, customers expect their shopping experience to be painless, hassle-free and, most importantly, FAST! To offer a less convenient shopping experience is to provide sub-par service which will certainly cost your business.
Getting through a pandemic is a feat that tests our mettle. In business, those who succeed learn lessons from the ways we transcended difficulties and turn them into the new processes for moving forward.
How is your business taking consumer’s post pandemic spending habits into account?
Read other Gina articles