There is a new reality for marketing. With a world that includes Covid-19, consumer patterns have shifted and brands are reaching their followers in ways different from what 2019 demanded. Changing consumer habits have forced brands to be flexible, tune in to consumers, and most importantly, adapt. In fact, most consumers are adapting their habits with already-existing elements that have gained new relevance and value. Here are 4 consumer habits that your brand should be watching closely to ensure that your strategies and tactics are in line with what your followers need.

Consumers embrace online shopping

Online shopping is nothing new, but when Covid-19 hit, it gained significant new value for consumers. According to data from the Bazaarvoice Network, this past March, online orders at more than 6,200 branded websites collectively increased 21% over the same period in 2019, while page views rose 25%. April came with even larger year-over-year increases in orders (up 95%) and page views (up 75%). Consumers are remembering the value of online shopping, finding it relevant, and recognizing its worth in these unprecedented times. Every brand is an e-commerce company now, and it’s imperative to have a platform that your followers can count on.

Convenience is in high demand

A Bazaarvoice Network survey of 3,000 consumers found that 41% of participants said they were shopping online for things during the pandemic they would normally shop for in-store. This exposure to online shopping (when normally done in-person) is slowly becoming a regular part of consumers’ lives. They are noticing the conveniences of their “new normal” and they’re realizing that these habits actually improve their quality of life by making their daily lives easier. A Capterra survey found that 85% of participants rated easy payment options and a fast, easy-to-navigate website as most important to their online retail experience. With online shopping, carside service, and increased delivery availability, consumers are getting comfortable with convenience and will be looking to your brand for delivering up to this new expectation. While you don’t have to promise same-day delivery, you can prioritize convenience.

Experience continues to matter

The truth is that consumers aren’t having many experiences right now. Social distancing, quarantining, staying home, and sticking to a close circle have become normal behaviors for your consumers, and they just aren’t getting the experiences they were used to right now. Because socialization and in-person, experiential get-togethers are at an all-time low, consumers are finding value in their experiences with their favorite brands even more. According to Acquia, only 10% of consumers strongly agree that most brands meet expectations for a good experience. However, 82% of marketers believe their brands are meeting customer expectations. Revisit the experience that your brand offers and ask yourself if you are doing enough.

Virtual influencers are on the rise

Samsung and Dior are already experimenting with virtual influencers. To fill the void of in-person interactions and in-store experiences, consumers are interacting more and more online with virtual (and real) social media influencers. Influencers are on the rise due to consumers being forced to make purchasing decisions from their couch. According to the Association of National Advertisers, “the pandemic will accelerate the rate at which humans embrace and accept interactions with virtual beings. For brands, this creates an opportunity to take a different approach to influencer marketing, an industry projected to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022.” The end of traditional influencer marketing is not here yet, but the virtual marketing method offers new ways for brands to engage their consumers and make a sale.

While it’s not breaking news that online shopping and a solid brand experience are important, what is extremely noteworthy is the rapid pace of consumers changing expectations of your brand. Many companies viewed changing consumer habits as a temporary phase that would pass within months, but in reality, these habits are here to stay and will affect your followers long after Covid-19 has improved and normalcy has resurfaced. Your brand should be putting all its efforts toward providing your consumers with what they require now, in order to best prepare for what they’ll expect from you in the future. If your brand isn’t improving with the times, its stagnancy will be the element that breaks its success. What is your brand doing to keep up with your consumers? How have their habits changed and what is your company doing to match your strategy with their needs?