COVID-19 changing customer online behaviour

As we well know; COVID-19 will have an enduring impact on the economy and accelerate the shift to digital. The time is right now for organisations to leverage changes in customer behaviour and preferences, and begin reassessing their digital strategy to realign misguided customer journeys and revive or create new-age digital products. Organisations that fail to adapt to a new range of rules and restraints in the digital space will see their organisations falling behind in the race for market share. 

For the first time in a long time, no one knows what the future holds, not even the experts. Organisations need to put the customer back into the focus arena – and use this powerful customer data to realign business objectives with customer goals. Without a deep understanding of the people you are creating digital experiences for; you risk creating misguided paths to purchase and experience journeys that will inevitably drive your customer away from your digital platforms and closer to your competition, losing market share and loyal brand advocates. 

Organisations that embrace human-centred digital experiences will be rewarded for championing the customer, supporting them in creating and enforcing healthier digital habits. Working alongside your user in creating the best possible digital solutions for them, will result in a total holistic digital experience that not only strengthens the brand-customer relationship, but also attracts new customers to your brand and identifies new revenue opportunities and experiences never before thought imaginable. 

History and social psychology offer a glimpse into how different circumstances and situations can change customer attitudes, preferences, behaviours and buying habits. These changes will have an impact on how customers interact and experience your brand through your digital platforms. 

The pandemic is changing customer behaviour

Buyers are fast becoming more sophisticated, and understanding consumer behaviour is the key to a successful digital strategy. According to Live Internet Stats; Google receives over 81 000 searches per second – illustrating the sheer volume of information available at the click of a button. 

What sets the modern buyer apart from other customers, is the large amount of research that they do before making a purchasing decision. 

With the power of the internet providing the means to perform thorough product research, organisations are leaning on this data to improve digital experiences to include more social-targeted content like customer testimonials, online product demonstrations, and reviews.  

New customer personas

When analysing customer behaviours at an individual level; we’re seeing new social behaviours emerging. For a large portion of users, we’re seeing that COVID-19 is providing the ideal opportunity for them to re-evaluate their current lifestyle choices, make adjustments and reset their lives.  

By just looking at the number of people who’ve used newfound time to exercise, start a new skill or even make a career change; we can see the shift in lifestyle choices and preferences happening very quickly; similarly as seen with LinkedIn who recently reported a 3x increase in time spent learning. 

These changes will impact your organisation – however, we know that things are never that simple, and we also know that humans are not very good at sticking to new habits.  

Without human-centred experience design experts, you would most likely use the changes in customer behaviour to immediately adjust your strategies and change your journeys. You would then risk making impulsive decisions, and acting without consideration for the historical decision-making habits of the user, as well as their future goals, what they want to achieve with your brand, and whether or not they will actually stick to their new habits in the long term.  

More than that, you would risk making permanent changes that are irreversible, and may have an even larger negative impact that the short term positive results you may experience. 

Human-centred experience design remains one of the most important factors for any digital strategy to ensure that your users remain top of mind and to also make sure that your organisation is creating digital products that your users will in fact use. Failing which, you would sit with a range of products that remain dormant or inactive, with little to no customer engagement or business satisfaction. 

 

More about Immersion Group

The Immersion Group is a human-centred design practice committed to creating human experiences that change lives and build value. If you would like further information please contact shaunei@immersiongroup.co.za.