The economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt by virtually all businesses across the world for years to come.
Shoppers forced to refocus on home consumption during lockdowns will benefit sales through online channels. In fact, new research from Accenture reveals that while 32% of consumers’ current purchases of all products and services have been online, that figure is expected to rise to 37% going forward.
Here are some guidelines for the future:
Values and purpose matters. Until a vaccine is found, consumption in physical venues will be impacted for the foreseeable future. It means companies need to work to maximize the opportunities in the channels where demand is now surging. Longer term, careful analysis will be needed to anticipate how many of these new consumer behaviors will stick -- and then adapt the portfolio of products and services accordingly.
The crisis also provides consumer goods companies a chance to live up to corporate values and purpose by playing a role in helping societies manage the crisis.
Reset how you work. In times like this, it is vital to invest the time, effort -- and where possible, money -- to deliver a positive experience and service provided. Post-pandemic, people will remember positively the businesses that were helpful and supportive. Longer term, this is an opportunity to increase brand and employee loyalty, as well as the use of online tools and platforms, accelerating the digital transformation already underway.
One of the side effects of the pandemic has been a shift to consumers “cocooning” and “nesting” at home. By offering a slice of pre-COVID-19 experience via virtual cooking lessons, “meet the winemaker sessions” or tutorials on make-up, there’s an opportunity to enhance relationships with consumers further.
And while the shift to ecommerce is accelerating substantially, so is the move to local.
Local products and brands have been gaining popularity across the globe in recent years, but in the wake of COVID-19, the pace and scale of demand is increasing.
We can also expect to see a profound impact on consumption as people look to re-prioritize what’s important to them. For many consumers, this has been a focus on their own mental and physical health as they look for a sense of connection and community in this time of crisis and potential isolation.
Renew for a new era of growth. As lockdown restrictions start to ease in some markets, the reopening process for the alcohol trade industry will undoubtedly be complex. To ensure the return goes as smoothly as possible, collaboration -- to ensure the right recovery strategies are in place -- will be crucial.
There’s no doubt this will be the most challenging period many companies will ever have experienced. But as the present crisis passes and economies start to recover, successful companies will be those that manage the immediate challenges, drive portfolio revaluation across the industries, while also understanding and anticipating the longer-term implications for their business.