Consumer trends have changed dramatically post pandemic and It’s more important than ever to understand your consumers and how they’ve changed.
Life as a small business owner and understanding consumer trends
There’s no question about it, being a small business owner is tough! Not only are you working around the clock, making sure every detail of your business is addressed, but you also have to wear many hats. From being the founder and CFO to CFO all the way to managing marketing, social media, and customer service. The point is, your time is extremely valuable and everything you do must be well thought out so you can create sufficient and effective processes. All working towards your goal in growing your small business into something well worth your efforts.
Planning is something that small business owners do on a daily basis and unfortunately there are many external threats and obstacles that can negatively affect your business. If you’re a small business owner in today’s economy you are likely to experience many changes in the past couple of years. Many that have been brought on or enhanced by the COVID-19 pandemic which has been the most disruptive and devastating external threat and obstacle that we’ve experienced in our lifetime.
What is consumer behavior and why is it important to trends?
As a small business owner it’s important to understand what consumer behavior is in order to determine how you can use it to create a successful business plan. Consumer behavior is the study of consumers and the processes they use to choose, use, and dispose of products and services which can include mental, behavioral, and emotional responses.
Okay, so you understand what consumer behavior is, but why is it important to the success of your small business? Well, it helps marketers understand what influences consumers’ buying decisions. If you understand this then your marketing efforts become that much more effective and is also the key secret in reaching and engaging your clients; ultimately converting them to purchase from you.
A consumer behavior analysis should explain:
- What they think and how they feel about various competitive products and brands.
- What influences consumers to choose between different options.
- Consumers’ behavior while researching and shopping.
- How consumers’ environment affects their behavior, especially purchasing behavior.
Consumer behavior is typically influenced by a variety of factors such as personal, psychological, and social. As a small business owner and marketer, it’s important to study consumer purchase patterns in order to determine your consumer target market’s buying trends.
How can you determine these factors?
You may be asking; how can you determine these factors that influence consumers to want to buy your products or services? There are three categories of factors that help influence consumer behavior:
- Personal factors such as age, gender, culture, etc.
- Psychological factors where individual perceptions and attitudes affect their response to a marketing message.
- Social factors in which friends, family, social media, income, and education all influence the consumers’ behavior.
Four types of consumer behavior:
- Complex buying behavior
These consumers typically purchase expensive, infrequently bought products and services. They are extremely involved in the purchasing process which usually involves research. Examples include buying a home or car.
- Dissonance-reducing buying behavior
They are highly involved in the purchasing process. They have trouble determining the differences between brands and are worried that they will regret the chose they make. Building trust is extremely important.
- Habitual buying behavior
Rarely pay much attention to why they purchase these products or services and have little involvement in the product or brand category. Convenience and price are important to these buyers.
- Variety seeking behavior
Often they purchase products simply because they seek variety, but not necessarily because they were dissatisfied with the previous one. They may need to try a few different brands and products before they settle on a favorite.
How the pandemic has changed consumer trends
For decades, brands were able to control consumer behavior, but the emergence of the internet and e-commerce changed all of that. These changes shifted how businesses market to consumers and these changes escalated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consumer behavior underwent a tremendous change due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to understand these emerging consumer trends in a post pandemic world in order to adjust your plan for your small business to survive. Technology has conditioned consumers to believe that they can get whatever they want and when they want it. Consumers also have many choices and brand loyalty has diminished greatly in the recent years.
Four emerging consumer trends:
- Consumer spending increased dramatically
- E-commerce accelerated
- More consumers embraced the ‘homebody lifestyle’
- Brand loyalty started to diminish at a faster rate
How can you use social media to address these changes?
Promote the value of your products/services on social media
Consumers are savvy and are willing to pay more for higher quality so use social media to show off your products/services and why you’re superior to competitors. You can highlight the high quality and uniqueness of your products and services on social media. Consumers must understand why they will benefit from maybe paying a little more than your competition.
Use social media to bring more traffic to your website to increase online sales
Research which social media platform(s) are best for your business and customers. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest are all popular, but you must build consumer profiles to find out which would be best for your small business. Just because one platform is new and trending doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one for your business. For example, it would feel out of place to promote your professional legal services on Pinterest since this is a platformed focused on selling unique products.
Use social media to communicate how your brand embodies this new ‘homebody lifestyle’
The pandemic forced remote work and for many professions this is likely to remain permanent. Although some companies have invited employees back to the office, many are also offering other options. They’re able to participate in a hybrid or fully remote work schedule. Many consumers will continue to invest in this new ‘homebody lifestyle’ which can be a great opportunity for many small businesses.
If you sell clothing for instance, you can promote products that cater to comfort and style for work-from-home professionals. If you sell home goods, you can promote your products on social media with styling tips and tricks that make you home office more efficient. If you sell food & beverages provide fun and convenient recipe ideas or entertainment ideas that make their parties and get togethers something special to remember!
Brand loyalty is diminishing which can be a positive change if you know how to embrace it
As a small business owner, you have a tremendous opportunity to use social media to interact with consumers and build relationships. You can create entertaining and engaging content that will increase your brand recognition and customer loyalty. The main reason people use social media is for entertainment so be sure to keep this in mind when developing your social media content. Also, be sure to be authentic and transparent in order to build trust with your audience.
Social media is all about building relationships and creating a connection with others. As a small business you need to build relationships with your customers. You must continue building your business and understanding the behaviors of your target audience will help you accomplish this goal.
Follow Laura on Twitter.
Category: Advanced Tactics