Understanding and Adapting to Consumer Shopping Behaviour During COVID-19

A lot’s changed since the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in the UK at the back end of January. Schools, pubs and restaurants all closed. Public events cancelled and large gatherings banned, with the Government issuing advice to stay at home as much as possible. Everyone’s had a bit of a shock to the system with how much time they now have on their hands.

With more people now spending more time online than ever, we ask the question; how can you modify your business strategy to benefit from the change in consumer behaviour, during the coronavirus pandemic?

So, how are consumers changing their buying habits?

We’ve seen shoppers panic buying over fears of total government lockdown, with toilet roll, pasta and hand sanitiser completely M.I.A from our supermarket shelves.

But before all this started, nearly 20% of people only made up to 5 purchases per year or didn’t shop online at all. In a survey conducted by global commerce services company PFS, since lockdown began in the UK, 60% of consumers have purchased more goods than they ever did before.

What was interesting about this was that “more than three quarters of these people went on to say once lockdown is over, they will continue to buy products online more, which indicates a potentially irreversible change in consumer purchasing behaviour.” – InternetRetailing.net

It’s also noticeable that some sectors like fashion and luxury goods have taken a hit. Presumably because, if people aren’t going out as much, who do they need to impress? Others though, have seen huge increases in sales. Healthcare items, home garden and DIY are booming at the moment!

woman shopping in bed

On average consumers are now spending an extra 3 hours per week online, with online shopping seeing a 20% increase in sales overall. But what could your business be doing to benefit from these extreme buying behaviours?

If you haven’t already, it’s really time to seriously start moving your efforts online to follow suit, or risk being left even further behind, especially during this challenging time.

Adapting online now to soften the impact and be there in the future

But if people are shopping online more than ever now, what can you do to keep up with the rest? As people are forced to stay at home, how can you speak to your audience to maintain relevance?

You need to have a long term focus in mind as well as short term, and there’s no better online marketing strategy for that than SEO. Whether you’re website is already optimised or not, adapting your SEO approach to soften the impact of Coronavirus will help put a plan in place for the future.

Every website should have a COVID-19 page that helps you capture some traffic, whilst also letting people know that your still open for business, or how your adapting your service during this time. You can also search for and discover trends. This will allow you to find new and emerging subjects to create fresh content around (Google Trends and Social Media Today are just a couple of examples you can use).

Probably the most important aspect you can work on is your traffic data. Analyse where it’s coming from, what keywords people are using to find you, where it’s going and what it’s doing. This is the time to test, test and test some more. By gaining more insight into how and why your traffic is converting you’ll be able to see how you can improve and amplify your value and potentially increase your conversions in the long run.

In summary, there is no doubt that the coronavirus has changed the way we shop in these last few weeks. And as we face an uncertain future for the UK economy and independent businesses, now is the time to act by analysing and changing how you market and operate, if you want to see your business last past the Coronavirus.

 

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