The New Normal in Doing Business: How COVID-19 has Affected Your Customers and Operations
Updated: Jun 24
By: Burns Puzon, QuickReach Head of Marketing and Sales
The New Normal: Your Customer
Consumers are generally scared about COVID-19, not only of how it can affect not only their own health (and their family and friends) but also of how the pandemic will affect economy and society as a whole.
How people are responding to the situation varies and there is a wide array of attitudes and buying in play. The variety customer types that consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies will transact with will differ by the stage of the outbreak and the local cultural context.
According to an Accenture report, a staggering 88% of consumers are afraid of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
Meanwhile, McKinsey reported that over 70% of consumers from many hard-hit European countries as well as Japan believe that the impact will last four months or longer.
Spending across different categories is expected to go down (except for groceries, home entertainment, home supplies, and personal care).
What’s expected is that digital and low-touch activities such as delivery, curbside pickup, and buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) are on the rise across the world. This shift in buying behavior is also something we will continue to see in the mid- to long-term.
This is why there is a mad dash for companies to be able to sell online and ensure cash flow during these highly-volatile times.
Below you’ll see the new customer types that you can apply to your company.
The New Normal: Customer Types
“I or someone I live with have pre-existing, high-risk health conditions. I’m not willing to take chances.”
Highly aware of what’s happening, this type of customer is very concerned about what’s going on around them. They tend to stockpile on items more than they necessarily have to, and would avoid going out of their homes at all costs – even if it means paying a premium on services that would let them stay at home.
“I’m alright, and I’ll try my best to keep myself and everyone around me as safe as possible”
This type has a “keep calm and carry on” frame of mind. They have increased the purchase of essentials like personal hygiene, cleaning and staple products - but not as extreme as The Worrywart. They can opt to buy in-store for highly essential items and would do it with extra caution. Would order online if it’s worth the delivery premium.
“The situation is being totally blown out of proportion, it’s just a flu!”
Everything is business as usual with this customer type. They are the the least informed and is unlikely to be aware of, or comply with, the government’s advice. They are unwilling to explore new buying options like online shopping, which means if your product is not available in-store they would probably abandon your brand altogether.
The New Normal: Your Operations
The changing consumer outlook and buying behavior because of the pandemic will definitely push companies to redefine how they sell during and after the pandemic.
What is also bound to change is how companies go about their daily operations – regardless if you’re on a skeletal workforce on-site, 50% capacity, or 100% capacity.
While operations vary widely by industry, business leaders have one key thing in mind: to keep employees and customers safe and healthy.
We’ve identified four common areas that every company would have to focus on.
1. Remote Work Enablement
Providing the right tools for employees across different departments & roles to stay productive, even if they are working remotely.
2. Paperless Interactions
Minimizing points of physical contact on-site (whether it’s employee-to-employee or employee-to-customer) by bringing most of the traditional paper forms online.
3. Crisis Response
Creating flexible workflows that will be triggered when an employee falls ill, or a sudden surge in cases leading to a stricter quarantine.
4. Process Efficiency
Simplifying processes in order to support remote work, and automating basic decision-making to address management-level bottlenecks.
These all point to the fact that companies need to accelerate digital transformation.