After their experience of the last few months, consumers “may have greater motivations and fewer perceived barriers” to using technology for everyday tasks, according to Nielson. The market research firm identified three ways consumers’ expectations and behaviors could change as a result of the pandemic.
Online shopping. Ecommerce isn’t new, but consumers may be more willing to go online for purchases they preferred to buy in person before the pandemic. Unfortunately, some businesses, especially service providers, may not be prepared to show off their offerings online. Make sure your website clearly displays what you offer potential buyers, either through online catalogues or detailed project galleries. Tools that help consumers make a decision, like pricing guides or an explanation of your processes, can also be helpful.
Virtual shopping. In spite of some consumers’ preference for online shopping, Nielson noted that physical touchpoints are still important to shoppers. Some industries have already adopted virtual and augmented reality. Even as the economy begins to slowly open, consumers might not rush to return to previous shopping habits. Virtual tools may help move them through the decision-making process.
Nielson found that over half of consumers say they are willing to use VR or AR, and may even see it as a bonus.
“With consumers not able to physically visit stores, they will be looking for alternative entertainment and shopping experiences. Companies that can leverage A/VR may hold the answer to immersive augmented reality experiences that will transform engagement and shopping,” according to the report.
Bypassing wholesalers. With retail chains broken by social distancing, Nielson found consumers are going straight to the source whenever they can.
“Direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses have evolved at a rapid pace in the last few years, predominantly driven by smaller, often local players, who have identified niche segments or consumer needs, and recognize the advantages of direct consumer reach, powered by technology,” the company wrote. Those small, niche players have the potential to take market share from bigger competitors if they can position themselves to hit the ground running when lockdowns and social distancing rules are relaxed.