Short-term, the COVID-19 pandemic altered consumer behavior. In McKinsey & Company’s consumer sentiment pandemic tracking surveys, 2/3’s of consumers indicated they are uncertain of their future; 50% are going to be careful and cut back on their spending. Consequently, marketers are proceeding with caution, while strategizing for economic recovery.
Online marketing gurus (a.k.a. consultants) are posting a plethora of advice on how best to adapt to the new marketing challenges in a coronavirus world. In this post, I chose to simplify the best of their clutter.
- Online sales increased significantly, especially grocery sales during the shelter-in-place phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Note: Total online U.S. sales increased 25% on average mid-March compared to early March; grocery 100% (source: Adobe Analytics). The spike in online sales was primarily driven by two demographic groups: Millennials and higher-income consumers. This will not be a temporary shift in consumer buying habits as more consumers continue to reduce their in-person activities and further adapt to digital technologies to shop for household essentials, food-away-from-home delivery, etc.
- Online sales represent a plethora of data points about consumers’ purchase journeys. Marketers will benefit from the utilization of AI to mine the new treasure trove of pandemic online data.
- Brands are utilizing social media platforms to communicate their empathy for the stress consumers are enduring during difficult times. They are also finding new ways to support communities and front-line workers (e.g., virtual streaming events). Some fashion and apparel brands are still relying heavily on influence marketing (a.k.a. brand ambassadors). However, moving forward it would behoove smart marketers to solicit UGC (User Generated Content) to best communicate brand authenticity.
Are you prepared to adapt to the new marketing challenges?