Online dictatorship: how the coronavirus has changed our consumption

Self-isolation temporarily excluded offline from our life, and the main consequence of this process was total

digitalization. Having lived online for several months, we managed to appreciate how convenient and economical it is to perform many familiar tasks remotely. Yes, at first, after the restrictions are lifted, people will rush back to fitness clubs, cafes and offices that they have missed - but this does not mean that they will now give up food delivery, virtual workouts, telecommuting and other pleasant things.

Accordingly, companies will have to pay moreattention to digital tools for interacting with customers - Internet services, social networks and mobile applications: for example, in Europe, since the beginning of quarantine, the number of application downloads increased by 30%, and services for online shopping, including food delivery, financial investments, were especially popular , fitness and health. For the consumer, this is the fastest and most convenient way of communicating with the brand, therefore, developing your own application or integrating with others, such as Delivery Club or Uber, is a must have today (from the English "must have" - ​​a trendy thing that must have) for most businesses.

Events and experiences

Despite the gradual lifting of restrictions onEurope and Russia, the return of public events is probably not in store for us soon. Even when the event industry recovers, many will be wary of crowded places, which means that the role of online events will last for a long time.

This format has many advantages, inparticular budget and the ability to erase geographic boundaries. These advantages will allow it to gain a foothold in our life - both in its "pure" version, and in a mixed version, when along with a ticket to the festival it will be possible to purchase access to a live broadcast if the buyer cannot come in person. So, when we at Calltouch moved our educational events online, it turned out that for many, this format turned out to be even more convenient, since to participate you do not need to lay a few hours on the road or think about who to leave the child with. Now we are considering the option of leaving both formats after the restrictions are lifted: online and offline.

A powerful impetus for development during the coronavirusgot a VR experience: virtual tourism, virtual walks to museums and zoos, virtual displays in real estate. And even if the demand for virtual experiences dies down after the restrictions are lifted, VR will definitely get a new lease on life in marketing.

Thus, VR in tourism is already helping companiesadvertise various tourist destinations, inviting clients to stroll around local attractions. In particular, the American company Travel World VR specializes in virtual solutions for tourism. It is used not only by travel agencies, but also by representatives of the hotel business: VR reviews provide much more information about the hotel than reading advertising brochures and studying photographs.

Online commerce

The pandemic has become a real driver fore-commerce, especially in the FMCG sector. If earlier this market lagged behind in terms of online trade, now this gap may narrow: before the coronavirus, one of the main reasons for refusing online delivery of products was the fear of facing a delay in the courier or receiving spoiled goods - for example, stale fruit. The positive experience gained during self-isolation made ordering food on the Internet a part of our daily life: FMCG sales in the e-commerce segment have almost doubled and, judging by the trends, will continue to grow.

FMCG, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (from English "fast moving consumer goods") - these are goods purchased by individuals for private consumption with a short life cycle, that is, goods for quick use.

Active development will have to shareautomated trading (a-commerce) - this includes the development of online payment methods, shops without sellers and delivery automation: for example, drone delivery became popular in China during quarantine. And at the end of May, Sberbank, Visa and Azbuka Vkusa announced the launch of a store pilot without cashiers: the number of purchases in the basket will be recorded using computer vision, and the money will be automatically debited from the card by a mobile application.

The e-commerce boom has resulted inthe shopping process begins to integrate with live communication. Since last year, in Asia, primarily in China, shopping streaming has begun to develop at a tremendous pace - live broadcasts of shopping, which transform the whole process from a functional procedure into a way of entertainment. In pursuit of new emotions and impressions, people begin to turn to the tools of the so-called social shopping - sales through social media platforms, which provide an opportunity to discuss their purchases, share a new purchase and exchange opinions about products. Therefore, those retailers who can create an online shopping space that gives consumers the opportunity to relax and chat will certainly benefit in the new world.

Do it yourself

The pandemic has forced many brands to switch from salespromotion to educational content. In the face of the forced suspension of business and the need to maintain customer loyalty, companies switched the focus in marketing to useful advice, online training and master classes. And not in vain: in self-isolation, people turned to affordable occupations, for which there was not enough time before - so, in recent months, the demand for DIY products (Do It Yourself, or "do it yourself" - "Hi-tech") has noticeably increased. For example, Google noted an increase in searches for how to bake bread at home, and YouTube searches for stretching exercises at home jumped more than 50%.

Brands tried to respond with these newyour social media needs by posting recipes, personal care tips and exercise routines on your social media. Having become accustomed to the abundance of useful content, consumers will not want to part with it so easily - therefore, after the pandemic, companies will have to transform their products by adding an educational component to them. Cooking kits may appear in the assortment of restaurants and cafes, along with ready-made meals, and art stores will offer kits made of canvas, paints and brushes along with an online painting workshop.

The same applies to marketing activities: In order to maintain customer loyalty, companies will have to pay more attention to interesting, relevant information on social networks and all kinds of educational events. The abrupt shift from the confidential communication and support that users are accustomed to during self-isolation to aggressive advertising is likely to cause rejection.

Safety and economy

The coronavirus situation has made many of usfor the first time to pay such close attention to issues of their own health. Of course, over time, we will stop constantly reaching out for an antiseptic, we will again start holding onto the handrails in the subway and safely take an ice cream cone with our hands without gloves - but the desire for safety in us will be stronger than before. In this regard, the winners are those brands that can demonstrate their concern for the well-being of their customers.

Most stores now offervisitors to use an antiseptic and disposable gloves, and a number of organizations began to disinfect the air in the room with bactericidal lamps. In Europe, some brands - notably Stella McCartney and Bond Street - have anticipated this trend by installing air filtration systems at their points before the pandemic. Posters notifying buyers that the premises are being processed, and employees are working in masks, can remain in catering establishments and beauty salons - no longer in connection with the coronavirus, but for the sake of emphasizing the safety of visitors. Any activity that helps mitigate the negative impact of the environment on the health of customers in the new world will be appreciated more than ever, and companies will have to consider this in their customer service.

Finally, another important consequence of the crisisthere was a reduction in consumption. In the face of falling incomes, consumers around the world have become more thoughtful about their shopping basket. According to a report by The Boston Consulting Group, 27% of them plan to cut spending on fashion goods, luxury goods, toys and games in the next six months, and the popularity of the search query "free trial" on Google has grown by 30%. The audience's desire to save money cannot but affect the pricing policies of companies - from providing test access to the service to developing new products: less expensive, but more massive.

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