COVID-19 may have significantly changed customer priorities, buying patterns and distribution channel preferences.
Every dollar you make rests on your ability to meet your customers’ needs. The COVID-19 crisis not only altered needs but also directly affected shopping patterns—and could be a catalyst for changes long predicted in your industry. Online shopping and ordering, along with electronic payments, have all surged.
Whether your customer journey is altered or pricing is undermined by slowing economy, understanding customer shifts is the foundation for any strategic reset and a starting point for a reset plan.
Evaluate the impact on demand and preferences
Understand how COVID-19 directly changes your customer’s demand for your business’s products or services. Will they be looking for different features? Think about how your customers will be affected by reduced spending and lingering unemployment from a downturn.
If you’re not sure, just ask your customers on the phone, in emails and in text. Survey them—it’s easy to create online surveys with tools like Survey Monkey.
Look at changes in traffic and flow
Will the aftereffects of the pandemic change the way customers visit your facilities, meet with your salespeople or consume your products or services? Know where this will threaten your operations and how new ways of doing business could meet customers’ needs.
Consider channel preferences
Prepare for a shift in the mix of in-person, phone, ecommerce, partner/distributor and other sales. How can you take advantage of these shifts? Look for new channels to open. Study shopping and buying approaches that can be carried out remotely or with social distancing and mask, gloves and sanitization.
Merchant services can support payment by card for ecommerce—and do so with contactless payment, a requirement for customers during social distancing. Electronic transfers like PayPal can make payment easy. Remote buying can minimize cash handling and contact for those buying in person.
Examine your communications strategy
Recognize how customers have changed the way they want to learn about the business and its offerings. Where do you need to shift your efforts? Will it be email updates to your customers, text, social media or local print?
Look at value delivered and its relationship to pricing considering the COVID-19 crisis. Are customers looking to buy more bundled/unbundled services or products?
Brace for the economic downturn to affect basic demand—and pricing levels—for your products and services, particularly for discretionary ones.
Up next in the guide
What happens once you’ve applied for forbearance? We’ll review what you should expect during your suspended payment term and how you’ll get back to making your monthly payments.