Google has forecasted four online trends driven by consumer needs and wants during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tech giant cited search data alongside their predictions and says the following phenomena are likely here to stay for good:
Businesses' need to use real-time tracking insights to respond rapidly to customer demand
Hosting virtual events
Working from home
Offering better ways for customers to buy products online
While your business might have already had to implement one or more of these during the pandemic, it's well worth knowing that, from Google's perspective, many of these trends could turn into the norm. So, while some elements of your business might be able to get back to where they were pre-pandemic, having these four key changes at the back of your mind can help you to make smarter business decisions.
In this blog post, I'll be exploring each of these pandemic-led trends and discussing how they may affect businesses.
1. Businesses using real-time tracking insights to respond rapidly to customer demand
With shortages of many essential products, and even some non-essential item purchases, driven by lockdown boredom, your business is likely to have had to adapt to be able to give your customers what they want. And any real-time tracking you've implemented to support this could prove beneficial in the long-term.
The search data that backed up this prediction highlighted that searcher intent has undergone a couple of habit changes. For example, consumers are increasingly using Google Search to check whether certain stores have items in stock before they head out, perhaps thanks to the sell-outs of toilet roll and pasta in the early pandemic days.
Similarly, saving more and spending less was a big trend we saw over the past year, with 71% of people reporting that their personal income had or would be impacted by the coronavirus. So, having competitive prices is now more important than ever, as is sharing tips on repurposing food, clothing, and other essentials to improve their longevity.
2. Virtual events will remain popular
The past year brought cancellation after cancellation of major shows and events, forcing marketing teams to adapt and adjust, and so the year of virtual events was born. However, not all virtual events translated well, and if you noticed a struggle running your own live events online, it could be worth fine tuning your process, as Google has forecasted them to stay moving forwards.
Google predicts that virtual events will certainly return, but that they'll have undergone a facelift. With more potential attendees likely to have become more accustomed to life behind a screen, any event you deliver will need to create a high-quality and enjoyable experience that matches up to the live equivalent. Luckily, they have also put together a handy guide on considerations to make when running a virtual event.
3. Remote working will be more commonplace
The pandemic shook up how we all do things, with companies who had never worked from home or didn't place a lot of emphasis on it having to switch almost overnight. And for some companies, just like Glass Digital, new remote working policies will be instated to allow freedom of working hours and environment — and to avoid the dreaded rush hour traffic!
With this came a change in consumer attitudes. According to Google, we're more interested in spending our time on pursuits that give "joy, pleasure, or comfort", and this has resulted in a shift of buying behaviours. Businesses that adapt their product and service offerings to suit are likely to benefit for the long-term.
4. Offering better ways for customers to buy online
During lockdown, consumers have gotten used to getting almost everything delivered to their door. This combined with the fact that fewer people will be out and about commuting during the week means increased online shopping activity is likely to stay.
Click-and-collect services also became significantly more popular over the past year, and with customers now aware of the flexibility businesses can have to cater for their needs, it's predicted that there will be an increased reliance on these convenient features.
So, whether you're an interiors business or you sell car parts, having a way to order online, as well as a delivery service and a great online presence, will need to be top of the priority list for you. With the right tools, like Google My Business's new performance report function, and analytical data, you'll be able to pick up on searcher intent and put an effective marketing strategy in place to cater to your online audience.
The digital landscape has undergone a big shift as a consequence of the pandemic, and these trends are more than likely to stay. Here at Glass Digital, we are equipped with the knowledge and tools to help our clients deal with the long-lasting effects of the coronavirus and gear their business up for success.