How COVID-19 Impacts Consumer Behaviors and Actionable Solutions
The Future of Consumer Behavior in the Post-Pandemic Era
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to resonate across global economies, making it challenging to predict when we will return to a sense of «normalcy.» However, whether it takes six months or two years, there will come a time when restaurants, nightclubs, and physical retailers can reopen.
Nevertheless, the current shift in consumer behavior may not be temporary. Instead, we are witnessing an evolution that will redefine the global commercial landscape in the long term. To understand the implications, we must analyze early signs of behavioral changes, identify the factors influencing consumer behavior, and determine if these trends will persist.
One thing is certain: change is imminent, and businesses must be aware and adapt their strategies accordingly.
What influences consumer behavior?
Consumer behavior is shaped by personal preferences, cultural values, and perceptions, as well as economic, social, and environmental factors. In the current crisis, all these factors are in play.
From an environmental standpoint, social distancing measures and the closure of non-essential businesses have significantly altered consumption patterns. The fear associated with public places will continue to dampen spending, even as restrictions ease and economies gradually reopen.
Economically, soaring unemployment rates and the prospect of a prolonged recession will lead to reduced discretionary spending. Consequently, consumers will not only spend less but also change their spending habits.
Early signs and emerging trends
This year, eMarketer projected that e-commerce would account for around 16% of global retail sales, totaling approximately $4.2 trillion USD. However, this estimate is likely to be revised. Forbes predicts that the thriving trend of consumers turning to digital alternatives will continue beyond the pandemic, driving the growth of e-commerce businesses.
Industries such as restaurants, tourism, and entertainment have been severely impacted, but businesses are adapting. Restaurants that traditionally relied on dine-in services have transformed into delivery providers, and innovative approaches, like a contactless pint delivery service, have emerged.
Conversely, certain product categories, such as electronics, health and beauty, books, and streaming services, are experiencing an upsurge in demand. Supply chain disruptions have caused stock shortages, prompting more consumers to shop online. This shift toward digital purchasing presents both challenges and opportunities for businesses worldwide.
While current supply chain issues pose challenges for cross-border e-commerce in the short term, the long-term outlook is favorable. The momentum of online shopping habits, already on the rise, will be accelerated by the pandemic. Retailers need to navigate the current economic uncertainty while seizing the real opportunity that lies ahead.
For businesses yet to fully embrace the digital marketplace, now is the time to act. Establishing an e-commerce website and adapting business operations for delivery services can be crucial for survival. Even traditional brick-and-mortar brands, like Heinz with its «Heinz to Home» delivery service in the UK, have taken this step.
Optimizing the digital experience
For those already operating an e-commerce platform, optimizing the offering and providing a personalized experience for consumers are paramount. With reduced purchasing propensity and an increasing number of online shoppers, a visually appealing store, diverse payment options, and localized content are vital ingredients for success.
Localization, including website translation, plays a crucial role. Even if currently operating primarily in domestic markets, businesses need to consider future potential and cater to diverse customer segments. Embracing multilingual solutions like ConveyThis for website translation will position businesses for success in the new commercial landscape.
Speculating about a return to “normal” is futile given the ever-evolving nature of the crisis. However, it is clear that changes in consumer behavior will outlast the pandemic itself.
Expect a lasting shift toward “frictionless” retail, with consumers increasingly embracing click-and-collect and delivery options over physical shopping. Domestic and cross-border e-commerce will continue to rise as consumers adopt online consumption habits.
Preparing for this new commercial environment will be a challenge, but adapting your online presence to cater to an international audience will be key. By leveraging multilingual solutions like ConveyThis for website translation, businesses can position themselves for success in the “new normal.”
These are challenging times, but with the right steps and foresight, businesses can overcome the obstacles ahead. In summary, remember to MAP:
→ Monitor: Stay informed about industry trends, competitor strategies, and customer insights through data analysis and customer engagement.
→ Adapt: Be creative and innovative in adjusting your commercial offerings to the current situation.
→ Plan ahead: Anticipate post-pandemic changes in consumer behavior and proactively strategize to stay ahead in your industry.
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