In a study conducted in over 18 countries, Ernst & Young reported that 57 per cent of consumers polled indicated they pay more attention to how the products they buy will affect their health. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE

IT’S YOUR BUSINESS: Pay attention to consumer behaviour trends

JOE SMITH

JOE SMITH

Special to The Record

COVID-19 will continue to impact marketing and communications certainly into 2021 and perhaps well beyond. It has dramatically changed the way many of us do business and forced us to adapt to this new reality.

While some sectors may, unfortunately, continue to struggle because of the nature of their business, you can help mitigate challenges to yours by paying attention to the way consumers’ behaviour has been changing. By being aware of how and why consumers are reacting to the so-called new normal can help formulate some key strategies that will help you to keep solvent and potentially grow your business.

Numerous research studies and papers indicate that one important aspect of consumer decision-making going forward is an emphasis on health and safety. In a study conducted in over 18 countries, Ernst & Young reported that 57 per cent indicated they pay more attention to how the products they buy will affect their health. In another study by KPMG, the results showed that personal safety is now one of the top three factors that drive a purchase.

This kind of information provides some clear direction for both online and in-person shopping as well as in the development of products or services that will enhance a person’s health.

On another level, there is a growing momentum for consumers to buy from and support local businesses. In the Ernst & Young study, 42 per cent of consumers indicated the way they shop will change, with 34 per cent indicating they would be willing to pay a little more for locally-sourced products.

With the growing reliance on social networking and digital interactions, there is increasing discussion about the need to create more human connection opportunities. By developing strategies that utilize your website and social networking platforms to create a more personalized human experience using virtual events and quality content such as video, you can develop a good rapport and show empathy with your customers.

According to an IPSOS report, 74 per cent of Canadians are making fewer trips to stores because of social distancing measures. To a great extent, this has caused a significant growth in alternative delivery opportunities for many businesses. With options such as curbside pick-up and door-to-door delivery, in some instances doubling in volume, it provides a significant opportunity for growth in these areas.

On a global scale, a report from Deloitte Insights identified a number of trends that every business should take into consideration. Their first observation was that flourishing brands will be those that fully understand why they exist and secondly have a good understanding of who they serve.

The above ties in with the growing need that customers want to be able to trust the companies they deal with, be able to communicate on a deeper more personal level and feel safe and confident in their interactions be they virtual or in person.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email joesmith@shaw.ca

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