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Which lockdown digital trends are sticking post pandemic?

Which lockdown digital trends are sticking post pandemic?
Summary: As we move ever more tantalizingly close to the end of lockdown, some of the digital habits we formed over 2020 look like they are here to stay.

The way we teach ourselves new things, how we research new products and how we stay connected with friends, colleagues and family have all changed for the better over the last 18 months, so there’s no going back now.

Think Google are reporting on 5 key trends :

  • Consumers are taking window shopping online
  • Consumers are carefully considering who they buy from
  • Consumers expect better value than ever
  • Consumers expect extensive delivery options for everything
  • Consumer demand will remain dynamic

What does this mean for Digital Marketeers as our freedoms are given back to us?

Window Shopping in 2021

Of course we’ll be heading back to the shops! However, more of us will have taken a preview of the store online before we head out. Whether it’s a look at the Instagram store, recent Facebook posts or a scan of the Website, we’ll have done our pre-visit homework online so that we aren’t wasting precious time looking for products which aren’t there.

This is good news for Bricks & Mortar – if a customer has done their homework and comes to your store, they are interested in finding out more – the perfect opportunity to engage, inspire and close the sale.

Brand Consideration

One of the major trends as we come out of lockdown is the focus on local shopping over major shopping centres. This is also apparent online, where “Near-me” searches have steadily grown. Even if you are a nationwide business, make sure that you don’t lose out on local business.

Sustainability is another factor – Google report a worldwide growth of 300% on “ethical brands” search terms. If you are a sustainable brand, make sure your customers know what you stand for.

Better value

Better value does not mean cheapest price. If that was the case, there would be no room for Waitrose or Apple on the High Street – it would be a sad loss if that were the case.

Value comes from a price – quality – experience matrix which customers intuitively measure based on the brands they are personally exposed to. As online becomes better and better at availability, product information, safe payment and speedy delivery there is still very much a place for physical spaces to showcase and enhance the brand experience with social interaction, retail theatre and amazing and interactive product presentation. The important factor supporting all channels is to understand and leverage how you are unique in your marketplace.

If you want to know more about how to do this, I’d thoroughly recommend Doug Stephens’ excellent book Resurrecting Retail

Delivery options

Self isolation, lockdown and working from home have all prompted a big improvement in “last mile” logistics. We now expect to choose how, when and where our package is to be delivered or collected and are disappointed (on the increasingly rare occasion) when we are let down by the experience. We’re prepared to pay for premium delivery services, either through memberships like Amazon Prime or tiered delivery choices, and like the choice to wait as long as the delivery is free. Searches for Delivery, Click and Collect, Collect+ and Curbside pick-up are all continuing to grow.

Dynamic demand

There’s no new news in that customers will remain open to a wide spectrum of inspiration and that trends will both appear from nowhere and eventually wither and die.

Google feel that some of the lockdown digital habit changes here to stay are :

  • Searches for Grocery and Take-aways moving towards week days
  • New knowledge and skills e.g. “how to cut hair” in the UK
  • Search for Inspiration and ideas
  • The desire for our work:life balance and comfort working from home to not revert to how it was before e.g. searches for “woodland walks near me” or “comfortable office chair”
  • New digital & interactive ways to stay connected e.g “virtual choirs”
  • Wellbeing & Wholesome fun e.g. “online board games” and “adopt a dog” (11% of British Households acquired a new pet during lockdown!)

Some trends will be short-lived and others long lasting – recognizing which is which is a core retail skill, so give some love to your Buying & Merchandising teams!

6 actions you can take to get found for these trending search terms

  1. Create great content that talks to how your brand delivers against the relevant trending search terms
  2. Check that your product information is both interesting and valuable to your customer
  3. Make sure your local listings are up to date
  4. Make it clear what is unique about you and what values you stand for
  5. Offer a range of delivery options – have a free one, but don’t be afraid to charge for the rest as long as they genuinely offer an enhanced and wanted service
  6. Invest in an SEO programme with a trusted Digital Marketing Agency


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