Many of us, well ALL of us, have be effected by the Corona Virus (or Covid-19) and it is changing the way we live and do business!
First of all, most are finding themselves working from home and adapting to all of the changes in the day-to-day environment. We used to think of working from home like an isolated, and somewhat lonely experience. But now, with EVERYONE being asked to stay home, the "office" can become quite crowded! You must find your "area" to work and you have to schedule regular tasks around the rest of the inhabitants of your newly arranged work atmosphere.
More importantly, how is this effecting the entire population and what will change when we emerge from our quarantine?
Look out your window. Look at other houses and apartments. These people have been impacted as well. ALL of them! You are not the only one who has questions. You're not the only one who is getting antsy to get back out in the public.
Many of theses house-locked creatures are finding ways to occupy time. They are finishing long-forgotten chores and projects. Some of these people are currently reinventing who they are!
That is what brings us to the "END of COVID-19" and what it means to us as businesses, consumers, and as humans!
You have found yourself shopping differently, eating differently, and developing new habits as a consumer. Your expectations have changed. Your process has dynamically changed in how, why, when and where you purchase things. You may even find yourself becoming more miserly and conservative in your buying habits. You may even discover that you can live to a different means and look to making a career change. Things are changing.
You have easily adapted well to the online purchasing, because you have already been doing it! You may be doing quite a bit more now with the pandemic, but it is more of "need" than "desire" these days. You are discovering the best ways to get coupons or discounts on those items you most need. You've also become shipping-savvy and found ways to get the best bundled value to your doorstep.
Going "out" to get things is incredibly different! Now you order before you get there, and with limited human contact, you "arrange" your pick-up for a mutually convenient time, and you swoop in to make the grab! It's fast, its convenient, it's easy, and we don't have to deal with a disgruntled employee of another generation talking down to us or exercising their frustrations on us! This has changed the way we will do business forever!
The absolute "stay-home" rule will go away. We will emerge from this maddening economic killer! But when we do, what will it look like? And because the consumer behavior has changed, what will businesses do to with the new demands and desires? They had better recognize and adapt!
Consumers will emerge somewhat hesitant at first, but not for long! They will "want" more things than what they recently indulged in, but will "expect" more from those providing it. The pent-up demand will cause a surge in many items. There may be a BOOM in businesses, but only those who adapt and prepare will benefit from the influx of demand.
For the businesses that can survive the pandemic impact, they must look at what their customers "may" want and need, and then position their product or service to be available for the onslaught of demand. They must ADAPT by understanding what the consumer has experienced recently and how they may continue to want this type of experience.
For example: A restaurant may have discovered that the "drive-thru" model is more efficient and cost effective, and the consumer just might appreciate the speed and convenience. However, the consumer also may be looking for an inviting experience of dining in an atmosphere other than their own home. The restaurant needs to evaluate and respond quickly! One path requires the engineering of a process that responds to the "speedy" version and consider building structures to accommodate. The other requires that the restaurant rebuilds its staff...(that is, if they are still available!) and to stock back up on all of the needed amenities to serve customers inside again!
It's going to be an extreme adjustment for businesses of all sizes! More so than the adjustments made as the economy began to shut down. This will be more abrupt and critical. It will be difficult to predict the regrowth curve. Although we all hope that it will be short, the longer it takes to resurface, the better that businesses will be able to adapt.
The smaller shops will have it the roughest for restocking and re-employing team members. Large corporations will be looking for the small business owners to make moves so that they know when they can increase staff to pre-pandemic levels.
All will be watching market conditions to see if consumer-confidence will return. This is the one indicator that will determine if and when our economy will rebound!
What does this mean to marketing and advertising? Hold on to your hat! This is going to come fast, and we will need to be analyzing every move of the consumer to determine what our next steps should be!
We may not know for months, how this effects individual consumers. Will they still be wearing masks and not desiring human contact? Will they be expecting a new approach to their consumer experience? Will they decide to have a career change and downsize their life? One thing is for sure, they will be doing it in public!