While the details of the next normal are still unclear as we make the slow pivot from managing COVID-19 to recovery and the reopening of economies, the overall contours are coming into focus. As many of the longer-term changes are still forming, pro-active companies have an opportunity to shape a positive future, finds global management consultants, McKinsey & Co.
Three key takeaways are emerging about the new post-COVID-19 consumer, as identified in a report released by McKinsey in August: COVID-19 is changing how consumers behave across every aspect of their lives. As consumers sheltered at home, adoption of new digital services took place at a blistering pace. In addition to growing health and hygiene concerns, economic recession, and the related decline in consumption, the scope of the change to people’s lives is staggering.
Consumer behaviors will likely fluctuate until we reach the next normal. How long they stick will depend on factors including satisfaction with new experiences, demographics, infrastructure, and severity of the recession.
Overall consumption is shrinking, the shopping basket is undergoing a significant change in mix, and consumers are altering the ways they get information. Companies must rethink how and where they connect with consumers.
Care, creative thinking, and new tools can address customers’ acute needs today and forge stronger ties in the post-COVID-19 era, finds McKinsey. The company cites that, in times of crisis, customers’ interactions with a company can trigger immediate and lasting effects on their sense of trust and loyalty.
As millions are furloughed and retreat into isolation, a primary barometer of their customer experience will be how the businesses they frequent deliver experiences and services that meet their new needs with care and concern. Keeping a real-time pulse on changing customer preferences and rapidly innovating to redesign journeys that matter will be key.
Among the engaging tools jewelers can incorporate are virtual conferencing, and a variety of interactive content that educates, entertains, and garners valuable customer data.
Virtual Selling is now fundamental to growth in a market where remote selling is the “next normal” as the coronavirus pandemic has forced over 4 billion consumers, customers, employees, and salespeople to stay at home. The latest statistics cited by FinancesOnline reveal that 58 percent of businesses utilize video conferencing for their everyday operations; 54 percent of the U.S. workforce takes part in videoconferences; 75 percent of CEOs forecast video conferencing will replace conference calls; and about 50 percent of employees worldwide are expected to telecommute within the next decade.
A May Departures article, by Maya Kachroo-Levine, hailed virtual consultations the next big thing in fine jewelry. It reports that with the surge of virtual offerings available — from online yoga classes to virtual tours of European castles — trying on engagement rings now has gone digital, as well. Departures cites clever jewelers pivoting to facilitate at-home engagement ring shopping experiences where knowledgeable sales associates function much like a personal stylist, curating a selection of diamonds based on your preferences, and styling each engagement ring with assorted wedding bands.
Interactive Content gives marketers today a way to engage their audience with quality experiences that capture insights and provide useful information. These actions can be as simple as clicking to learn more about a topic or as advanced as answering questions to calculate a score or other outcome. Creating content that thoroughly captivates users’ attention can make them provide not just more data, but relevant data. Users enjoy the content and marketers have more information about their leads. Quizzes, polls and other interactive content allows the user to provide businesses with instant feedback, and this means you not only have their contact info, but you can create more targeted and useful content for them, which naturally leads to brand loyalty.
Content+ says that interesting content is a top three reason people follow brands on social media. The digital content hub finds that 60 percent of consumers feel more positive about a brand after reading custom content on its site.
Research commissioned by The Plumb Club and conducted by The Futurist in 2019, finds consumers today would rather focus on ideas and future-thinking concepts that inspire them, citing hyper-customized online content exciting to them. Most consumers find online ads a nuisance to skip or mute while trying to enjoy their online selected content.
Podcasts are “the sleeping giant of content types”. According to the SEO and search marketing news site, Search Engine Journal (SEJ) the content marketplace is extremely competitive. But successful digital marketers are scoring big wins podcasting, which is enjoying high engagement with currently low competition compared to other content types. SEJ explains that while there are over 80 million Facebook business pages, there are about 800,000 podcasts airing, and this number continues to shrink when you search by topic.
2020 podcast statistics from Edison Research and Triton Digital find that 75 percent of Americans are familiar with podcasting (that’s about 212 million people). And, 55 percent, roughly three-quarters of the people who are familiar with podcasts, have actually listened to one, a number that has grown nearly 40 percent in three years. Packed with information and sprinkled with a bit of entertainment and light-hearted banter, podcasts are incredibly engaging, and a useful medium for businesses and listeners. Like an online radio show, podcasts foster loyal audiences because they’re interactive. Hosts can create audience polls, answer questions, take calls, and conduct interviews. The podcast format offers endless variety and deeper dives into topics.