ATLANTA, GA / ACCESSWIRE / November 16, 2020 / has been a year that no government, business, or person could have anticipated or prepared for. An unprecedented pandemic followed by a wave of socio-economic turmoil has left much of the global population isolated in their homes and avoiding social contact to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus. As a direct result, new trends have emerged in consumer behaviors, purchasing patterns, and consumer brand engagement. As the end of the year approaches, and the pandemic shows little sign of slowing or letting up, businesses are working to adapt to the changing requirements and expectations of this new, uncharted era.
According to experienced CEO and entrepreneurDeepak Agarwal, best known for leading the successful business process outsourcing company, ContactCenter.com, these shifts in consumer behavior are the realization of retail industry projections. 'While a global pandemic has certainly sped up the process,' says Deepak Agarwal, 'we've seen these trends developing over the last few years, and because of that most businesses are already equipped to handle these new consumer preferences with just a few adjustments to emerging habits.'
Migration to Digital Sales
While digital shopping and eCommerce have already been building into an important part of every company's retail strategy, 2020 has seen the greatest growth in ecommerce to date. Even as brick-and-mortar stores and businesses have begun to reopen, rates of online shopping are still at an all-time high, with Digital Commerce 360 reporting that 57% of consumers plan to shop online more this year, and 45% of consumers already doing more than half their shopping online.
'With such an abrupt reliance on online shopping and eCommerce, building out your brand's presence online is more important than ever,' noted Deepak Agarwal. 'An easy way to enhance your business' digital presence is by improving online usability and experience for customers.'
For many consumers, the shift to purchasing products via social media feeds has created a new point of digital interaction with businesses. Consequently, businesses have had to ensure that their eCommerce platforms are intuitive and user-friendly to allow for easy, seamless conversions. For more expert tips on optimizing social media for your business, read Deepak Agarwal's top 5 tips for social media in retail.
Consuming and Interacting from the Safety of Home
This year, more people are working from home than ever before. This presents a new unique set of challenges and priorities for those working from home, which has been reflected in emerging consumer habits. 'While people may not be eating out as much, window shopping, or making spontaneous purchases in stores, they are reallocating these funds to areas that make more sense in the current landscape,' says Deepak Agarwal. 'With the increase in remote communication and working from home, consumers are refocusing their attention and disposable income to their more immediate surroundings, the home.'
While this may mean different things for different businesses, understanding that most consumers will be engaging with your brand from the comfort of their own home is essential to navigating the 'new normal'.
'Online, consumers are overstimulated and have an abbreviated attention span because there are so many messages competing for their attention. This means that you have less time to communicate your unique value and capture their attention,' says Deepak Agarwal. 'If a business makes a misstep, prospective customers are likely to lose interest and pursue a different brand. Identifying ways to reach and engage customers remotely is the new name of the game.'
Support for Local Businesses and Sustainability
While businesses of every size and tenure have struggled throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, small and local businesses lacking a digital presence have scrambled to respond, with many being forced to close before having the opportunity to pivot their business strategies. While small business owners and local economies have faced tremendous hardships, this unfortunate outcome of the pandemic has stirred immense community support to help keep small town businesses afloat.
According to Small Biz Trends, 75% of consumers plan to support small businesses this year, and 86% of people have supported local businesses during quarantine. 'If you are the owner of a small business, now is the time to capitalize on that in your marketing communications and ramping up your online efforts,' noted Deepak Agarwal.
Small businesses are not the only ones becoming aware of consumers' desire to shop local and support small businesses; many well-known brands have found success partnering with smaller businesses in their industry landscape, offering a mutually beneficial partnership. One example of this is Whole Foods Market, who's push to develop partnerships with local businesses has resulted in the offering of many small businesses products to interested consumers.
In addition to support for local businesses, consumers have shown increased support for other cause-related messages -- particularly messages of sustainability. 'In times of uncertainty, people crave positive messages and content.' says Deepak Agarwal. 'Brands that are aligning with sustainability and communicating the actions they are taking to lessen their negative impact on the world around us are appealing to consumers' desires to feel uplifted in an otherwise scary time. And today, customers are holding brands accountable more than ever before.'
Support for local businesses and an increased focus on sustainability will continue to be an important element of consumer trends in the coming years. To learn more about integrating sustainability into your business operations, read Deepak Agarwal on sustainable business practices.
SOURCE: Deepak Agarwal
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