The importance of market research through a pandemic
Picture yourself on your couch attending a wedding over zoom. Did you wear a dress, a suit or perhaps your pajamas? Most likely you did not buy any formal wear for the event. Temporarily, the pandemic shifted shopping habits, which caused companies to adjust their product offerings. Some companies were quick enough to realize these changes and quickly shifted production from, let’s say, formal wear to lounge wear. Online shopping sites that had a wide selection of formal tops, dresses and pants were suddenly replaced with an abundance of jogging pants, sweatshirts and essentially comfort clothes. This shift into regular lockdowns and having workers work from home caused a major change in consumption habits.
The real question one needs to ask themselves is which companies were the first ones to adjust their product/service offerings due to the pandemic? Most likely companies that continuously conduct market research by asking relevant questions to the general population were quickly able to gain insights and turn those findings into actionable items by pivoting their present strategies. Equipped with new knowledge, decision makers were able to visualize the near future and reduce the disruption of their profits, at the very least.
Staying competitive and relevant
Don’t let other companies get ahead. Continue to look at latest trends, world news and assess if your company needs to make any changes based on the present landscape. These days anything can change in the blink of an eye. Accordingly, market research needs to be conducted on an ongoing basis, not just quarterly or yearly, especially for industries that are solely dependent on the average person’s disposable income. Did you ever think mass production of masks would have been important in your lifetime before 2020? It may be difficult to assess which was the first non-health related company to start producing and selling masks, but the reality is it became a part of the production line for many companies. Who knows what will be the next global event to shift consumer behavior worldwide and how quickly it could occur. Is your company ready to make drastic changes quickly and seamlessly?
Did they have specific insights that helped them realize it would not be a crazy idea to take such a drastic step. In a time when online sales have hit high peaks and many other companies have closed their physical spaces, others had the determination to expand and grow. They most likely have a vision and confidence. This confidence arises from knowledge they have gained by conducting research assessing their customers and product offerings.
A culture of continuous improvement
This pandemic was a learning lesson in terms of how crucial it is to always keep your “deer lights” on when it comes to assessing what is going on around the world and accordingly discuss internally how to ensure the company is still able to survive or, even better, thrive! With the help of market research, you will be better able to understand the success rate of your new innovations and how you can incorporate those consumer insights into your new product/service offering. It is important to re-invent one’s products/services, branding and marketing when necessary, otherwise irrelevance becomes an even greater looming threat.
Designers pivoted their offerings by designing loungewear instead of only focusing on formal dresses. Others decided to flood social media with their product offerings in the hopes that once the pandemic is on the decline, then people will remember their products and buy them.
With the on-set of the pandemic, not only did it overload the healthcare system and cause many workers to work from home, but it also caused a shift in consumer behaviour. Just a few years ago, who would have thought that face covering masks would be the one item adults and children would need to wear on a regular basis outside of their homes. Whether they be disposable, or washable it was necessary for companies to produce them quickly. These masks quickly became part of the day-to-day wardrobe essentials for all of us. Which makes you wonder what else changed in consumer behaviour in the last 2 years? It also makes you wonder, what will be the next event to, once again, disrupt human behaviour at all levels? Only prioritizing consistent market research, which supports relevant situational analyses, gives us any idea of what the future may hold.