Dee Agarwal on Three Impacts of the Pandemic on Consumer Purchasing Behaviors

Deepak “Dee” Agarwal, accomplished entrepreneur and C-suite executive, speaks on the three key changes in customers’ buying behavior amidst the pandemic and what they mean for eCommerce retailers.

Atlanta, GA, 16th July 2022, ZEXPRWIREIt’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has left a significant imprint on the eCommerce industry. The pandemic led to a shift in not only how customers purchase products, but also why they make certain purchases. 

We spoke with Deepak “Dee” Agarwal, accomplished entrepreneur and C-suite executive, to learn about three key changes in customers’ buying behavior amidst the pandemic and what they mean for eCommerce retailers.

1.   Striking Increase in Online Sales

As physical stores were forced to close their storefronts, consumers turned to online purchasing. This significantly contributed to the growth of the eCommerce industry. According to U.N News, e-commerce revenues increased to $26.7 trillion due to Covid-19. The increase of online purchases spanned all industries, but there was a drastic increase in the number of consumers buying basic needs such as food, clothes, and hygiene-related products. 

When asked how businesses can adapt to succeed in this new landscape, Deepak ‘Dee’ Agarwal states, “The dramatic shift to online purchasing will stick around for the foreseeable future. To capitalize on this, businesses must embrace this change.”

Dee Agarwal provides a breakdown of simple but effective changes a business can make to enhance the online shopping experience. “The first step is investing in a quality website for the business that is easily navigable for consumers. Once the website is up and running, it is important to test its load time, as slow-running websites generate high bounce rates.”

It is not enough to have a strong website, companies must also make them discoverable to key customer targets. “Instead of waiting for customers to find your website, meet them where they are,” says Dee Agarwal. “Consider marketing strategies that engage customers on social media channels, such as TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, and encourage them to visit your site.”

2.   The Rise of Socially Conscious Customers

When the pandemic struck, people’s views on life changed, leading many to embrace healthier lifestyles and intensify their focus on environmental and social causes. In fact, a study by Omnicom Media Group revealed that customers are 75% more likely to be loyal to brands that match their personal beliefs. Given this greater priority on impact, brands have begun to see benefits by leaning into cause marketing. 

“A deeper level of trust and connection with your consumers can be achieved by showing customers that your business cares about more than just turning a profit,” notes Dee Agarwal

For example, bands such as Keen Footwear embraced cause marketing by donating more than 100,000 shoes to nurses and doctors during the pandemic. Deepak Agarwal says, “Taking steps to be a socially conscious organization not only brings in more customers that resonate with the cause, but cements an emotional bond between your organization and existing customers. It’s a win-win.” 

3.   Decrease in Customer Loyalty

As international shipping faced major delays during the height of the pandemic, and many products from international brands faced supply chain challenges, consumers began exploring new brands as accessibility and availability became more important deciding factors in purchasing. While this shift has helped consumers discover new companies, it has also led to a decrease in customer loyalty — meaning brands have to work harder to attract and retain each consumer.

“For any business, losing customers is a painstaking experience; That’s why you must give them a reason to keep coming back to your business,” says Dee Agarwal. “Providing each customer with a unique and personalized experience can help reinforce their loyalty to your business, in addition to providing a stellar customer service experience.” 

Brands can stoke customer loyalty in a myriad of ways, including recommending products that match customer interests, offering custom promotions and discount codes, providing content about the brand and topics of relevance, and prioritizing communication with customers by reducing response time to their inquiries or concerns. 

Although the purchasing patterns of consumers have changed, one thing remains. “Customers want to feel valued and appreciated, and continue to prioritize convenience and connection, creating immense opportunities for brands to leverage investments in their digital presence and social causes to drive loyalty and affinity with customers,” states Dee Agarwal.

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