A lot has been said already about the coronavirus and the global crisis. Everyone seems to be in agreement though that the crisis represents a major shift in consumer behaviors.
With the limitations on mobility and social distancing, we, consumers, are spending less on things that we used to spend more time on like movies or restaurants, and are spending more on things we spent less on like groceries or online gaming.
When we (consumers) spend more time at home, we tend to invest more in this home experience. We spend on things that can enhance this experience like media, electronics, groceries, home improvements.
In addition, the entire shopping experience is moving from the stores to eCommerce. Why would I risk my health going to a brick and mortar store if I can get the same things delivered to my house at the same cost?
Last but not least, our lives, isolated at home, become more digital – we join Web meetings, share more pictures, chat more, engage more.
As consumers around the globe go through this “reeducation” – it is highly likely a lot of it will stay as the new norm in terms of consumer habits even post crisis.
If we’ll try to sum it all up, these seem to be the leading changes:
- eCommerce over retail
- Digital presence
- Change in preferences
With a shift in habits and consumers limited in where they can go, brands must consider the new reality and connect to the change so they can stay relevant to the new consumer.
Listen, listen and listen to your customers
Even before the crisis we spoke about the growing disconnect between brands and their audiences. According to Bain and Company 80% of brands believe they deliver superior customer experiences, but only 8% of customers feel the same – hence the “CX gap” or “VOC gap”. If you think the disconnect was bad before, how do you think it is now?
The shift in consumer preferences just started. It doesn’t mean that it will stop soon, it could actually evolve. New brands can come in, leveraging the relative ease of penetration via eCommerce. Consumers may change their taste and want products in sizes that are easier to store at home. Its endless. Brands need to tap hard into the voice of the customer (VOC) and make sure they have the resources to listen closely and ongoing. Otherwise they will wake up irrelevant.
When we say listen, we don’t mean brand level, social listening. We mean all across:
- Cross channels (Reviews, calls into call center, chats, emails, surveys)
- Product/SKU level feedback
- Granular feedback (Not “Happy”/”Loyal”, but “Have the electric cord on this vacuum model” level)
With a deep, holistic view of customer feedback at the product level, all your business and customer facing teams will benefit – marketing, service, product leadership, innovation, eCommerce etc. That will also help you respond to changes much faster, as decisions can be taken across a wider universe.
Monitor the industry and competitors
At times of change you want to be aware of everything that is going on in your industry. You can never know in advance if another competitor will figure out new niches or capabilities or new brands joining in are gaining momentum. You need to stay in the know so you are not left behind.
The good news is that as consumers become more digital, User Generated Content (UGC) – or in other words our online opinions and experiences shared, are growing like crazy. Even before the Corona crisis IDG predicted that over 90% of the world data is soon to be made of customer opinions.
This is a great intel for you to pick up on – what customers like or dislike in your competitors offering. You can leverage their weaknesses or learn from their successes.
Again, when we say Monitor, we don’t mean brand level stuff. We mean detailed:
- Cross channels (Reviews, social media, industry forums)
- Product/SKU level feedback
- Granular feedback (Product/SKU level)
Like with “Listen”, here too, holistic view of deep feedback about your industry and competitors will allow you to benchmark your brand against the entire industry as well as a direct competitor. With this again many teams will improve their performance and make data driven decisions – marketing, service, product leadership, innovation, eCommerce etc.
Set the stage for speed
At time of change and eCommerce you need to pickup on trends quickly, and make decisions quickly. The era of 6-9 months to react is gone. Customers are online now and if they don’t find what they want in your portfolio they will move elsewhere with the ease of a button…
To speed decision making up we recommend the following:
- Establish your listening and monitoring operations such that they can be easily accessible to a wide range of decision makers, mid-level and senior
- Decision makers should be able to easily customize/slice the data to their needs
- Insights should be easily shareable with other stakeholders and management
If you can extend your decision making from a centralized group to a knowledgeable “army”, who is in the know about the fine details of customers and competitors, you’ll move things faster and get to results sooner
We are in historical times with the Corona crisis. Whether we like it or not, the world changed. Consumers are driven to eCommerce, digital presence and with this they are changing their tastes to match the new world order. Brands must stay on top of what is going on, covering the 3 ‘T’s – Threats, Trends, Tastes and they need to establish it in a way that will allow their teams to consume the data and move faster with the right decisions.
Luckily the data is there, and growing like crazy (UGC, VOC). You need the tools and processes (This is why we recently predicted the shift from Reactive CX/VOC analytics into Proactive CX/VOC). Revuze is part of the new generation of CX/VOC Analytics vendors offering Proactive, Automated solutions that mines consumer insights at the single SKU level as well as at the entire market level. Reach out to us to find out more here.
Boaz Grinvald is a business executive and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in top-performing technology products. He is the CEO of Revuze.