How the Pandemic has Changed the Way We Shop
Like it or not. Shit is changing
After reading a Business of Fashion piece by Cathaleen Chen, on this topic - I feel a sense of relief that I am potentially part of a something that is becoming the norm and how I can keep learning from this.
"From heightened expectations around delivery to a preference for local brands, people are adjusting their consumption habits in the wake of the pandemic. Here’s what retailers should know"
I found the following interesting points worthy of note based on the interviewers discussion in part, with a media marketing executive from NY
Less clothing was bought overall since the start of the pandemic, but when a purchase was made it was either a fun little thing that elevated mood or, to support black-owned or woman-owned brands. Trying to make more conscious choices.
Many consumers have picked up new habits and expectations that will likely stick even after the pandemic subsides. Undeniably, online shopping which experts believe will eclipse brick-and-mortar for good, (interesting) but with this, standards for service and convenience has increased
In times of uncertainty, consumers are looking for good value – and that goes beyond price.
So the how and where people shop has changed but the 'why' is now changing. The search for value - not just price, is enormous. Consumers are being more mindful about the purchases they are making
With the panic buying, anxiety-driven phase over - remember in March when toilet paper and pasta were impossible to find? Consumers continue to grasp meaning and purpose as the pandemic lingers on. How this manifests in shopping behaviours could be a diminishing interest in fast fashion and a shift toward quality instead. Some shoppers are using their values to shop, whether its an emphasis on sustainability or racial justice as an example
Fact: Gen Z consumers care three times more than Boomers about sustainability
Transparency trumps speed when it comes to delivery.
While fast shipping remains at the top of the list for shopper preferences, many are surprisingly forgiving of brands that can’t match Amazon’s two-day shipping - (Good! For us small businesses we can still follow the same tactics! Keep your customers informed at every step. Make the packaging reusable or easy to recycle. Email the customer when it's coming and get it dropped to the door step/safe place option).
Chen goes on to say: At first people had no choice but to shop local. Now, they’re embracing it.
An unexpected winner of the pandemic is the local, independently owned speciality shop or business.
The current market favours the consumer now more than ever and with even pickier customers, brands who fail to understand these changes and to meet expectations can lose a shopper for good. This is good news for underdog brands to gain market share. Brands adept at creating an online community, which is more important than ever for brand loyalty as people are spending more time on social media, or smaller, local boutiques better suited to serve the consumer who’s no longer commuting to work.
Beyond convenience, consumers are opting to shop local to support their communities, numerous recent surveys have found, especially as thousands of small businesses have already shut down in the wake of the crisis.
Building an online community is more important than ever.
“People are no longer browsing the stores but [browsing] Instagram instead"
Building an online community is an effective way to build brand integrity at a time when consumers are particularly discerning. Investing in this tactic doesn’t require intensive capital or even a team of experts: it’s as easy as creating an Instagram or TikTok account if a brand doesn’t have one yet, and tending to it by hosting live events, posting creative content and collaborating with like-minded labels or influencers.
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