This is the time for brands across sectors to redesign their business models
By Satish NS
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has touched every aspect of our lives. This pandemic has confined billions of people in their homes – keeping customers away from brick and mortar retail stores. Lockdown restrictions have severely affected the supply chain and businesses have come to a stand-still.
Amidst the recent crisis, marketers across the world are trying their best to recalibrate their strategies while keeping into consideration the sensitivities required in customer engagement right now. The greatest challenge for marketers is foreseeing how customers’ wants, needs, expectations and purchase decisions will evolve in the ‘post-COVID’ world. This is the time for brands across sectors to redesign their business models and the white goods industry is no exception.
This worldwide spread of Covid-19 has led to a paradigm shift in the consumer behavior – changing the way a consumer thinks, works, shops and communicate with people more than any other disruption in the recent past. Post the pandemic, the inflection point for marketers will be primarily shaped by two major shifts in consumer behavior – the reluctance to mingle in crowded public places and a higher propensity for digital adoption. In the times to come, we see a sudden change in consumers’ behavior where even traditional buyers who were apprehensive of shopping online, will start turning to that.
While most of the industries will be leveraging the e-commerce platforms heavily, however for large appliances industry, the shop floor will remain to play a pivotal role. For consumers, ‘touch and feel’ factor will continue to remain a crucial part of shopping. The change that we will notice more evidently is that consumers will now opt to do the product research online and spend minimal time in the store to choose the appliance of their choice.
Consumers spending a majority of their time in their homes will be a blessing in disguise for consumer appliances industry. This means that consumers will constantly be on the lookout to enhance their living style with smarter and larger appliances.
The rising affordability of a wide range of high technology products has already given rise to a new sort of consumer, a more tech-savvy prospective buyer, who wants to communicate with their smart home, languish in the comfort, luxury and security that it offers. While most of the consumers that are inclined towards a smart lifestyle own connected entertainment devices such as smart TVs and smart speakers, however in the near future, the consumers will start thinking beyond that as they will understand that connected devices could make their lives easier. We will see consumers opting for larger refrigerators, fully automatic washing machines, TVs with larger screen size, air purifiers, smart ACs, dishwashers, Vacuum Cleaners, etc. With these new inventions focused upon uplifting the standards of living, consumers now have an access to a new world with tailor-made customized smart products according to their lifestyle and preferences.
Keeping in mind the economic slowdown and the recession accelerating at its peak due to unprecedented times. Also, on the rise will be easy consumer financing schemes, companies will be leveraging flexi EMI’s with zero down-payments, cashback offers, extended warranties, etc. to ease consumer buying right now.
Considering these changing trends, at Haier, we’re strategically focusing on enhancing the virtual shop floor experience for customers visiting our online platforms right now. With rising numbers of people riding the digital bandwagon, we want to ensure customers are able to make an aware purchase decision in the most convenient and comfortable manner. To provide an integrated phygital experience, we’re ensuring all our catalogues, product manuals, demo videos, self-service videos along with information pertaining to price comparisons and competitive advantage is available on our website, to equip the customers with all the information that they would usually get at the shop floor.
At Haier India, we are modifying our offerings to the current times while identifying future sales and consumption patterns. In conclusion, the consumers for every sector will remain the same, but the patterns of consumption, for the product and marketing effort, will change. And that’s where the marketers also need to evolve. It’s time to re-think, reboot and revive in order to create a more engaging shopping experience for our consumers.
The author is senior vice president, sales and marketing, Haier Appliances India.