A study conducted by CPG marketing agency Acosta revealed that 28 percent of online grocery shoppers in March were first time online shopping for grocery due to coronavirus concerns. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the consumer mindset. We are not sure whether this change will last long or is just transitory. However, the COVID-19 crisis has touched many aspects of the consumer life like; health and safety, work from home routine, closure of non-essential businesses, restrictions on travel and leisure, regular supply of essential goods, social distancing, etc.

We believe some of these changes will remain and drive consumers to adapt new ways of shopping. This will also impact marketers and force them to change the tactics and channels of engaging the new consumer behavior. Let’s discuss how marketers can make the shift with grace and add value to consumers using the Oracle CX Marketing solutions:

Consumer Product Brand Preferences

In the month of May, 40 percent of weekly buyers for the average CPG brand were new to the brand as found out by the Consumer-packaged goods (CPG) sales data from Oracle Data Cloud. During the same time last year, 33 percent of weekly buyers were new to the brand. This clearly indicates the shift in consumer behavior and readiness to try new brands even in times of a crisis be it COVID-19 or financial distress.

Marketers should:

  1. Use an AI-powered product recommendation engine which will automatically adapt to ongoing customer preference changes even if supply chain disruptions prolong
  2. Get your customers to sign up for Product subscriptions, a potential rewarding approach to enable priority over one-time buyers
  3. CPG brands should try to ease the defections among loyal customers and simultaneously drive repeat purchases among first time buyers
  4. They can also offer product bundles, for example, a “cleaning bundle” which includes detergent, hand wash, cleaning wipes, sanitizer and tissues.

Retail Store Preferences

According to Oracle Data Cloud figures, grocers saw their YOY sales grew much faster among their less-frequent shoppers than their loyal shoppers from March to May.

Marketers should:

  1. Use your marketing and loyalty programs to reinitiate customer loyalty and engagement
  2. Leverage your CRM and 1st-party data assets with digital touchpoints to communicate to Loyal customers as well as the less-frequent customers
  3. Fasten your marketing messages around the Unique Selling Proposition that differentiates you as a retailer
  4. Enable private label programs to provide value to cash-constrained consumers

Channel Preferences

According to research conducted by USC Center for the Digital Future and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), prior to the pandemic only 7 percent of American consumers never purchased anything online. Now, the percentage of first-time buyers has shot up.

According to Econsultancy, the value of online orders with the pickup in-store or curbside delivery arrangements will rise roughly by 60 percent this year. Earnest Research says that DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub food delivery apps saw an increase of 33 percent year-over-year during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Many brands introduced varied virtual services to enable sales or replace in-person services. For example, West Elm launched virtual design sessions; Lane Bryant introduced virtual bra fittings; and Guitar Center conducted virtual instrument lessons.

Marketers should:

  1. Use digital marketing and loyalty programs to educate your customers and prospects about your virtual and delivery offerings
  2. Activate your first-party data to target digital ads for existing customers already present in your CRM
  3. Leverage various ecommerce, direct-to-consumer, and app-based audience solutions
  4. Increase contextual targeting to resonate with consumers current mindsets and situations

Work Preferences

We have witnessed the largest work-from-home experiment in human history which has impacted consumer behavior and every country’s economy. We have noticed:

  • Decline in gasoline & new car sales
  • Reduction in daily commute and use of public transport
  • Likely rise in demand for bigger homes which has a dedicated home office space
  • Decline in the consumption of podcasts, radio, and digital media which were very popular during commutes
  • Steep increase in video conferencing and virtual events
  • Demand for business casual apparel will increase as more employees wanting to wear comfy clothing when working from home

Marketers should:

  1. Adopt to the New norm of Work from home leading to zero commute
  2. Switch to Oracle Eloqua’s new App integration with Zoom that streamlines data collection and lead capture while hosting Zoom webinars
  3. Make use of Smart reporting and analytics that gives real-time visibility and insights to adapt to the changing business environment
  4. Enable Oracle Marketing Cloud for customer personalization, segmentation, and automation delivering the right messaging in front of the right customers at the right time

If you want further advice on how to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, we are ever ready to walk you through the leading Oracle Marketing Cloud solutions.