05 Aug 7 Post-Pandemic Digital Trends
Although we were already on the cusp of a digital transformation, COVID-19 simply accelerated the process. This year-long (and counting) pandemic has led to a drastic change in customer behaviour that is here to stay, which means businesses need to adapt to the new normal in order to thrive. So, what’s next? We take a look at some of the biggest digital trends that are expected to continue post-COVID…
1. The Rise of E-commerce
The pandemic has put e-commerce at the forefront of retail, and what once was a nice-to-have, is now an essential. Many customers who were apprehensive about online shopping had no choice but to utilise it during lockdowns, and subsequently realised just how easy and convenient it was to make a purchase from the comfort of their couch.
Social commerce is on the rise as well: 34 percent of people say they have shopped on Instagram based on an influencer recommendation.
The “seismic shift” (as Google refers to it) of online shopping is expected to continue simply because it is more efficient, less expensive, and safer for customers than shopping in physical stores.
While there’s no doubt there will always be a need for brick and mortar stores for customers to look at, touch and try on new products, new habits have been formed around online shopping that are here to stay, and so businesses need to find the right hybrid balance between managing an online store and their physical store.
Tip: Your digital store should be given the same time, effort and investment as your products. After all, it’s the getaway for customers to engage with you.
2. Switching Brands
In the past year, 36% of consumers have tried a new product brand and 25% have incorporated a new private label brand. What does this mean for brand loyalty? Gen Z and high earners are switching brands at unprecedented rates, and their reasons for doing so include:
- Availability (products in stock): 45%
- Convenience: 34%
- Value and pricing: 30%
- Quality: 15%
- Healthy/hygiene measure: 13%
- Supporting local: 11%
Tip: Keep your brand top of mind through consistent marketing, and ensure your offering meets your consumers main needs through availability, convenience and value .
3. More Online Experiences
During COVID-19, people are not only increasingly buying online; they expect to perform other tasks and access services and events as well – from e-service adoptions like banking and telemedicine visits to entertainment such as virtual events and concerts. Moving forward there will be a greater focus on online experiences and consumers will naturally gravitate towards companies who offer the best customer experience.
Tip: Consider the services that your brand offers, and how you can best serve your customers online. For example, if you are a restaurant, an online platform for booking a table or ordering a takeaway is a must. Offering a seamless user experience on your website, ensuring effective communication and having reliable processes in place is a great place to start.
4. Content is Still King
We are consuming more content than ever before, and with just about everything going digital, content has never been more important to communicate with your customers. In particular, video content – which was already one of the biggest trends for 2021 – is the most important to pay attention to. From live streaming, one-to-one videos, long format or short format, 72% of businesses have reported that video increased their conversion rates. It’s expected that by 2022, 82% of global internet traffic will come from video streaming and download.
5. New Types of Google Searches
During lockdowns, there has been a significant increase in skills-based searches to complete everyday tasks at home such as landscaping, home DIY, cooking, grooming, etc. This creates a fantastic opportunity for brands to produce optimised content for these searches. For example if your company sells shoes, you could feature a blog and/or video on “How to clean white sneakers”. This will boost your visibility online, increase organic traffic through SEO, keep your brand top of mind, and generate more leads for your business moving forward.
And speaking of content types, we are fundamentally getting lazier in how we consume content, and users who are searching online prefer to search for information through pictures and videos. In fact, 62% of gen Z and millennial consumers want visual search more than any other technology.
Tip: Ensure your structured data is sound, have high quality imagery, and make sure your website is optimised for speed. Check out some more ways to Prepare Your Website for Post-COVID.
6. Shift in Consumer Behaviour
Times have changed, and so has consumer behaviour. With so many consumers switching up brands as we mentioned above, it’s time to take notice of what your customers want, in order to adapt and respond.
According to Google Trends, the following consumer behaviours have been accelerated due to the impact of the pandemic:
- Consumers are taking window shopping online
- Consumers are carefully considering who they buy from
- Consumers expect better value than ever
- Consumers expect a wide range of delivery options
7. Ethical Choices
Socially conscious values have been a growing focus, which has been accelerated over the past year. Consumers want to support brands who make a real difference through the projects they choose to be involved in, the partners they work with, and the way they treat their employees. A massive 61% of consumers claim that how a brand responds during a crisis will have a big impact on whether they continue to support that brand.
There is also big demand driven by social and environmentally conscious consumers for safer and healthier products which in turn make a difference environmentally and ethically.
Tip: Align your messaging with values such as sustainability, ethics and being cruelty-free and environmentally friendly. Just make sure your claims are always 100% truthful to avoid greenwashing.
Preparing for the New Normal
Resilience and adaptability has been the name of the game throughout the pandemic. The willingness to make the effort to stay up to date with the changing consumer behaviour, demands and expectation is already half the race won.
Need a little help? Our team has their finger on the pulse with new trends, and can help improve your digital strategy to offer the best possible experience for your customers. Contact SOMS Digital Agency today to chat more about how we can assist with a tailor made package to suit your budget.