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Changing Consumer Behavior Demands Businesses Adapt

Consumer habits have changed rapidly since the outbreak of coronavirus. This prompts business owners to think of new ways to engage with their customers.

These days, many consumers prefer to transact through an app or delivery service, rather than visiting a physical outlet. This change in consumer behavior certainly has a direct impact on the business, especially for retail businesses.

For businesses that already have online services, just change the strategy by focusing on online sales. The problem is, quite a lot of businesses that have only physical outlets and don’t yet have an online channel to market their products.

In this situation, businesses must respond quickly in order to survive. Unsurprisingly, many businesses are starting to use WhatsApp as their sales channel. Given the number of users, this messaging platform is indeed a very potential medium.

Now, consumers can almost order or buy anything through the messaging app. Ranging from vegetables to body care products.

In addition to small businesses, big businesses began to implement this strategy. Call it Hypermart, one of the leading retail chains now providing Park & Pick services.

Consumers can order the groceries they need via WhatsApp and take those orders without getting off the vehicle, staff from Hypermart will deliver them. Payments can be completed with electronic payments to minimize contact. Although cash payments can also be made.

It’s not just Hypermart that does sales through messaging channels, The Body Shop has now done the same. They call this feature Personal Shopper by WhatsApp. Consumers can order the required products and the product will be delivered to the consumer’s home on the same day. The service is campaigned through the #stayatyourhome hashtag, supported by various product package #stayathome. In line with the encouragement to keep quarantined at home.

Beyond the two big brands, there are many more businesses that run sales through online channels and messaging apps. This needs to be done by businesses in response to changes in consumer behavior.

This method is relatively effective, where businesses can still promote products and make sales, but health and safety remain a priority.

Many economists predict that the behaviors of consumers that occurred during the pandemic will most likely continue, even if the pandemic is over. Thus, delivery services, shopping with minimal contacts, as well as cashless transactions, will continue to be a trend. So businesses need to continue to make it part of their marketing strategy.

Set Up a Business Strategy for Success

The economy and business activity are already seen starting to move back. Although things haven’t really come back like before the pandemic and we’re dealing with a new normal situation.

It is still a controversy that some people should not have entered the new normal phase. But, in essence, this phase will indeed be faced. Businesspeople will face the challenge of getting back on their toes after being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The many factors to consider, making business owners should be able to come up with a truly unusual business strategy. It is necessary to ensure the health of employees, for example. In the past, employee health factors may not really be a concern in everyday business activities, but the current condition is an exception.

Still coupled with the expected return of market demand such as before the COVID-19 era, how post-pandemic conditions will change business operations, to changes in consumer behavior in shopping. These factors need to be carefully calculated by business owners.

Business strategies to address post-pandemic challenges

Some of the business strategies below can be implemented to ensure the security and success of the business recovery process in the new normal era.

1. Create a ‘map’

Pandemics have destroyed many predictions and means that business owners rely on in decision-making. To restart operations, business owners need to have a solid framework, amid uncertain situations.

To do so, business owners need to have a detailed ‘map’ of the business recovery process. The map is a reference for production processes, supply chains, marketing strategies, and the required recovery period.

This map will also be a reference for owners to review investment plans or relocate budgets. For example, delaying plans to open a branch and use the funds as budget buffers during the crisis.

2. Always reassure consumers that they are safe

Once the pandemic is over, a sense of security will remain part of the consumer’s needs. So, ensuring consumers feel safe when accessing products or services offered by your business should always be part of the strategy.

Emirates airlines provide thermal screening for all passengers, while Accor Group creates new sanitation and hygiene protocols and labels. In essence, you participate actively in ensuring the health and safety of consumers. Also make sure consumers are aware of the initiative, so that consumer confidence is maintained.

3. Revive market demand

Much of the decline in business revenue stemmed from declining market demand. Therefore, the business needs to reconnect with its customer base and drive the emergence of demand from the market.

Business owners need to identify potential profits, adjust prices but that doesn’t mean undermining market prices, maintaining customer loyalty with convenience, ensuring marketing strategies reflect the new reality we’re facing, and optimizing digital channels for marketing and sales.

4. Reorganize business operations

Many businesses want to return to operational capacity before the covid-19 hit. However, in the new normal era, it should not be the main target.

In these uncertain situations, business operations should be made more flexible and allow shorter time to review every business decision.

5. Optimal digitization

The need for digital channels is increasing rapidly, both for consumers, suppliers, and various parties involved in business activities in general. This needs to be responded to optimally by businesses.

The transformation into digital channels must be able to meet the needs of consumers and employees, at the same time. For example, you provide a very easy platform for consumers to shop from home. To compensate, you may also need to provide training related to the technology used to employees, in order to optimize the work process and customer service.

Companies with The Best Customer Service Case Studies

Customer service plays an underrated role for the company. Recognize the needs of consumers, serve friendlyly, politely, and deftly, provide solutions to the problems facing consumers, up to offering special packages or discounts.

In order to continue to meet the needs of the service, the company feels the need to have qualified human resources in its customer service team. Some companies are able to do this and even get awarded as the company with the best customer service.

What companies? Let’s take a look at the three big companies with the best service.

1. Chick-Fil-A

In the restaurant category, Chick-Fil-A is the champion. Chick-Fil-A is an American fast food restaurant with a franchise system. Chick-Fil-A was ranked first by Forbes in 2018 as the company with the best customer service. These results are based on surveys conducted by MS Money and the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The majority of people who filled out the survey stated that Chick-Fil-A has clean, fast service, and the staff are very polite to customers.

Chick-Fil-A staff are known to often say the words ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, things that seem small but very appreciative of consumers. It’s appropriate that you’ll feel good when you go to a place that makes you feel appreciated.

2. Amazon

Out of the E-Commerce category, Amazon still holds the highest position. Amazon was founded under the initial name Cadabra in 1994 by Jeff Bezos. The company started with an initial seed investment of $1 Million from Jeff’s family and friends. Cadabra changed its name to amazon com in 1995.

Amazon first emerged as an online bookstore before eventually switching to a wide range of goods trading platforms. In addition to customer service officers, all Amazon employees are always required to treat consumers like kings. Amazon holds the principle of focusing heavily on the needs of consumers. Amazon knows the needs and styles of customer shopping in the present and future. This makes Amazon a competitive and more advanced advantage over its competitors.

In managing Amazon, Jeff Bezos is very good at reducing marketing costs for the sake of consumer pleasure. Bezos reduces advertising costs, which makes shipping free. Free delivery fees and the lowest prices make Amazon the number one choice of its customers.

3. Lexus

Lexus is a special division of Toyota that provides products for luxury car lovers around the world. In addition to being famous for the quality of its cars, Lexus is also famous for its excellent service quality among world-class automotive brands. Lexus has a very satisfying customer service.

Since about five or six years ago, Lexus released a service called Concierge Service. Concierge Service is a service that provides convenience for consumers not only selling them luxury cars, but also overall comfort packages on the go or when they service their vehicles even if your car is having problems or you are stuck in problems on the road such as floods and other natural disasters.

The services provided by Lexus make it easy for consumers to perform regular vehicle service wherever they are, whether on the go, home or work. So consumers don’t have to come to Lexus Gallery to do their vehicle service.