The COVID-19 pandemic has damaged businesses and economies. As business digitalization will remain relevant after the epidemic is over, it’s time to analyze how it will affect companies by the end of 2020 and next year.
Digital transformation will be critical to rapid recovery and business growth
It is not yet clear if the period of uncertainty will end in 2021, so companies should move from temporary solutions to complete business transformation. According to McKinsey , consumers are increasingly shopping online and going online.
Companies need to redesign their business model to respond to changing demand – make it agile by technical empowerment and data-driven decisions. With automation and analytics, you can quickly capture demand fluctuations and improve your marketing investment. Digital marketers can gain a competitive advantage by building relationships with customers through data-driven strategies and transparent value sharing.
Accelerated digital transformation highlighted the importance of strong digital marketing for business. Companies that take advantage of the situation for digital transformation will quickly respond to market demands and create a stable structure for efficient operation.
The massive shift to e-commerce will lead to the evolution of multi-channel solutions
It is easy to overlook physical stores’ potential to recover from the business in the current climate. Overcrowded outlets with the poor organization are one of the main problems of offline shopping. The pandemic creates difficulties due to the limited number of visitors, long queues, and infection risks. It also sparked a meteoric rise in online commerce.
And yet consumers are moving between online and offline sales channels even within the same purchase, which means that physical stores still play an essential role. Offline shopping is often an urgent need, and consumers want to see the product first.
Retailers need to rethink the concept of physical stores, transforming them into convenient and secure multi-channel showrooms. Success factors will be flexible options for receiving goods ordered online and various payment methods, including contactless from a mobile phone, self-checkout, and online transactions1. Grow My Store helps you measure store performance to optimize your service to meet your customers’ needs.
Apps will play an increasing role in business development, but service quality will remain important
We use apps more now than ever to help us stay connected and get information without getting sick. Due to quarantine, users began to spend 20% more time in applications. In a period of economic recovery, they will help businesses improve service and customer satisfaction. They will also help lower costs through more accurate sales forecasts.
Consider the Starbucks example… The coffee chain has opened establishments without breaking social distancing with in-app orders. The company has reduced waiting times at the coffee shop and cut lines during peak hours. The network is changing the operating model of its establishments, switching to orders through the application. This minimizes physical contact when purchasing. And in-app demands increase retail sales by 37% on average.
Financial apps also experienced a boom during the quarantine period, when cash, ATM, and branch usage dropped 60%. This led to an accelerated digitalization in this area and an increase in the frequency of use of financial applications by 72%.
Companies can help consumers during economic recovery by releasing apps. It is important not to copy the site’s functionality, but to add useful features to it: for example, remote registration in hotels and bonus programs.
Shopping abroad will become more popular
Since the start of the pandemic, about half of EMEA shoppers have continued to order from overseas companies despite supply problems. Due to the epidemic, new trends in international shopping have emerged. According to research, 20–40% of Western Europe consumers are more likely to buy food and personal care products online. 12-25% of consumers in the EMEA region started buying more from foreign companies.
The main reasons why consumers are increasingly ordering from abroad:
People began to search more for goods on the Internet and discover new exciting products. It is more convenient to buy goods online in quarantine than in physical stores. Many goods are not available in local stores, and on Internet sites, there is a wide range and favorable prices. After the pandemic, international trade will actively develop over the next five years. This will lead to the development of new geographic strategies to capture global demand and strengthen companies’ position in the future. Market Search data and performance metrics can help companies find the best markets to expand.
Consumer preferences should be the basis for planning for 2021
Consumer behavior changed rapidly during the pandemic. As we have already described in our publications during the crisis, it is possible to track changes in action in an online search. The trends are:
Consumers are pushing businesses to innovate. The demand for digital solutions opens up new areas of activity. The number of searches for the term virtual gym in Spain has increased by 1000% compared to last year.
Consumer interest in relevant information is growing. People are looking for shops “nearby” that are “open now” and are trying to get up-to-date information in a changing environment: they enter searches such as whether it is possible to go shopping together (France).
Consumer expectations for different product categories are changing. People want the things they used to buy from offline stores to be delivered home. New requests have emerged: for example, delivery of afternoon tea in the UK.
Dynamic changes in consumer behavior drive demand. In Germany, the number of searches with the term online shopping has increased by 80% compared to last year and continues to grow.
To prepare for changes in the industry, companies must monitor changes in consumer behavior. They will be the key to recovery and development. For future success, brands need to:
be guided by statistics and understand changes in consumer behavior ;
be flexible and responsive to changing customer needs;
Leverage data to show the information consumers need at the right time;
guarantee the confidentiality of data to build trust with customers.
Marketers try to stay on top of customer needs and offer them the most useful services. These tasks can be challenging in times of change, but by following the principles in our article, you can successfully restore your business and grow it in 2021.
Based on materials from https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com