Posted: 08 Jun. 2020 6 min.

COVID-19 has given birth to a new breed of customers; meet the stockpiler, the socially concious, the bargain hunter and the convenience seeker

Topic: Emerging Consumer

The age-old yet constantly evolving discipline of customer segmentation is more relevant than ever before.

Over-night stockpiling. Skyrocketing ecommerce. Focus on essential goods. Hunting for bargains. Public shaming of some large companies and fierce support for others. If there is one thing that can be said about the current crisis is that it sure has changed customer preferences and behaviours.

Our lives digitised seemingly overnight as work, school, doctor’s visits, hanging out with friends, and so much more came to us online. In Deloitte’s most recent Global Marketing Trends study, 65 percent of US respondents have tried at least one new digital activity for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of this, more than a third find their digital experiences to be a superior alternative, meaning we are growing increasingly aware that our perceptions of what could only be done face-to-face is shifting to include digital face-to-face.

Similarly, in Deloitte’s bi-weekly “State of the Consumer Tracker” where we ask more than 15,000 consumers worldwide about their spending patterns, some interesting facts and personas are also emerging from the survey:

  • The stockpiler: 39 percent of global consumers say they plan to keep their home stocked with more than they need.
  • The socially conscious shopper: 41 percent will purchase more from brands that have responded well to the crisis.
  • The bargain hunter: 43 percent are still looking for bargains and would jump at a great deal even on non-essential items.
  • The convenience seeker: 39 percent say that they are OK with spending more on convenience.

What these numbers mean to you depends entirely on what business you are operating and in what industry. But what it should mean to all us is that right now is the time to shine a brand new light on creating profitable, lasting relationships post-Corona.

Here are some of the ways to get started:

Walk in your post-crisis customers’ shoes: Experience or re-experience what it is really like to be a customer by shopping your company’s channels and contacting your call centres. Do the same with your competitors. Talk to customer-facing employees to gain their insights. These experiences can help to identify areas for improvement and new ideas to move past the crisis.

Ask smart questions: What information will help you better serve customers, gain competitive advantage, or fulfil your revised business strategy? Setting tight objectives for your research and analysis can help you avoid drowning in insights that are interesting, but don’t lead to action.

Know your data: Do you have access to internal or external data that provides current answers to your questions? Don’t underestimate the strength of your current data; it doesn’t have to be complete to be valuable, but it has to be up-to-date.

Make it count: Plan how you can turn the insights into actions and how you will measure results. Make sure you have the necessary organisation, systems, processes and management attention in place that support implementation and add value.

Target a quick win: Pick a tight, focused post-Corona customer project that can generate valuable insights and recommendations that will likely be easy to execute. Use this experience to learn how to tackle more complex, broader-scale projects across the company —as well as to demonstrate the value of customer analytics internally.

Test and learn: Be willing to test different approaches and learn from results. This requires patience on the part of management, but it is worth the effort.

Last but not least, use a data-driven approach to guide your decisions: Analytics is a powerful tool that can help organisations find eye-opening opportunities to improve sales, marketing, customer service and overall customer experience. Some of our clients find ways to cut advertising costs and increase sales. Others reduce the loss of customers and improve satisfaction ratings. Smart analytics goes beyond number crunching and can help companies develop brand new ways to listen and respond to the needs of customers and the employees who serve them.

However long and deep the COVID-19 crisis will be, what is certain is that however your customers interacted with you before the crisis is not how they will interact with you once the crisis has settled – and your job is to understand exactly how, why and where.

Take this opportunity to collect, analyse, and develop actionable insights through a revived and data-driven customer segmentation – and transform this knowledge into great offers, great products, great services and great interactions with your customers. This will set you on a brand new path to success.

More about the author

Martin Nyrop

Martin Nyrop

Partner

Martin is Head of Deloitte Digital in Copenhagen and has more than 15 years of consulting experience working with clients in the intersection between consumer technology and growth. He leads Deloitte’s work for some of the largest Nordic clients globally who he helps understand how to compete in an economy with a radically advanced approach to digital and ecommerce. Martin’s experience spans across industries and he has worked with leading companies in the Life & Pension Industry, fast moving consumer goods, as well as Industrial products. Martin does frequent talks on how sectors are being changed by customer digitalization and how to compete in a digital economy.