Pandemic Shifts That Are Here To Stay

It’s no secret that the pandemic has dramatically changed how consumers purchase, what they purchase and what they expect from the companies they buy from. For most savvy marketers and business owners, it’s also not a surprise that many of these shifts are here to stay. The market was ripe for a transformation and the pandemic gave it the push it needed for these changes to happen.

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The most notable change we saw through the past year has been the major leap to online shopping and purchasing. Numerous users are now using digital means to research their purchases, have digital experiences with the products they are buying and to ultimately make the actual purchase itself. Many of these consumers would have resisted the digital transformation had necessity not forced them to become comfortable with what they once thought they could never adopt.


This also means that the extent of shopping transformation will be much broader than it may have otherwise. Straddling “the online world” and “the real world” is now very much a thing, whether it’s contactless payments, curbside pickup or AR-enabled experiences like envisioning that new couch in your livingroom or how a lipstick shade will look with your skin type. Some industry experts are referring to this as phygital retail — the blurring of the lines between physical retail and digital retail. Over the next few years we can only expect this trend to grow as more and more brands find new ways to use digital resources to expand the physical shopping experience.


Another huge shift over the past year has been a dramatic increase in consumers seeking to support local businesses, a long overdue change if you ask us!


Last summer, searches for “support local businesses” grew globally by over 20,000% year over year. – Google Trends


Rolling lockdowns and business closures brought the stark reality home for many people – if those nearby don’t support the businesses they love, they will close. This no longer felt like a problem “someone” would solve, it became the responsibility of every member of a community to find ways to get what they needed locally. In the same vein, we also learned how the global supply chain could be impacted and how important it is to find a local source for many goods. As lockdowns and product shortages are still with us now, and are likely to continue having an impact for some time, this trend isn’t going anywhere. These lessons feel like the kind that stick with you for the long haul and adjust consumer behaviour for decades to come.


When you consider everything we’ve been through as a collective in the past year, it’s no surprise that brand values and personal values have now merged into one. Truthfully, there really never should have been a sepaartiong here. We are the same human beings at home as we are at work and when we shop and the values that matter to us should be reflected in our buying decisions. Consumers are now expecting that brands bring their values to the table and practice what they preach. It’s a shift that asks businesses to not just tell us who they are and what they stand for, but to model it in everything they do. From being more environmentally friendly and sustainable, to re-examining everything we do from an inclusive and diverse perspective, to asking tough questions about where our products and resources come from, consumers have been awakened to just how important their values are to them and they expect that to be reflected in how a brand wants them to spend.


Lastly, among all of the chaos and change of the past year, many consumers have begun re-evaluating what it truly important to them which is impossible not to affect what they buy and how they interact with brands. Some people have made big investments in making their homes more work-friendly or to better support recreation. Others have lost their jobs or are facing economic concerns and hardships, which has caused them to decide what purchases they really need and in some cases to downsize many of the aspects of their lives. For many others, having their lives stripped to the bare minimum made them realize they need a good reason to buy more stuff and they want it to come from brands that align with their values. While the shift was personal to each individual, there are some big ways that brands will need to keep up with the changing needs and desires of their target consumers.


If you need support shifting your business to suit the new demands of your customer, Digital Monk is here to help!


Call us today to discuss how we can help your brand take those all important next steps.

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