Wharton Psychology Leader on Dangerous Mind Defining Consumers After the New Corona


On Monday, March 29, 2021, pedestrians wearing protective masks pass in front of the Lululemon store in San Francisco, California.

David Paule Maurice | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Instead of jumping to the conclusions about consumers after the corona, go back to what psychological research taught us long before the pandemic. One cannot easily change habits. What you can lose by changing your behavior weighs more on your heart than your potential benefits.

Deborah Small, a professor of marketing and psychology at Wharton, said at CNBC recently: Small business playbook Summit.

The idea behind it, known in academia as risk awareness, has been complicated by pandemics. Many previously taken for granted business transactions, such as bars, cafes, restaurants, face-to-face fitness classes, and face-to-face education, suddenly forced consumers to take new actions against their true nature. This is an unprecedented event. Consumers are looking for alternatives in a way that is rarely done, which is happening in the ever-changing consumer situation and has been primarily related to digital buying and selling in recent years.

“Many of the methods people have consumed before the pandemic will not return to those levels,” said Small. “We have been forever changed by the various experiences we have experienced over the past year or more. It was. “

But Professor Wharton also says it is unwise to assume that the habits formed during the pandemic will be a permanent and favorable majority nation, based on everything we know about the consumer’s brain. A recent Forrester study found that 75% of adults in the United States said pandemics cause long-term behavioral changes, but the study also emphasized that consumers are constantly in flux. I am.Probably now that possibility is increasing The change is “new normal” For consumers.

In Small’s view, no consumer sells. It would be a fundamental mistake to think in such words.

Take exercise as an example and take a look at the rise of Peloton, which you can train at home before it loses momentum due to what Wall Street calls reopening trade. Meanwhile, Lululemon continues to sell a lot of yoga pants, Steadily increasing number of customers After Covid’s peak sales in the US, selling direct-to-market athleisure wear to consumers became popular, we also acquired a home fitness start-up and Peloton’s competitor, Mirror.

Betting on multiple types of consumers that had already occurred before the digital rise pandemic is a wiser strategy than planning based on consumer stereotypes that emerged last year.

“Imagine someone who couldn’t go to the gym before started exercising at home. Perhaps they really missed the old way and were waiting for their return and couldn’t reproduce it at home. Maybe, “Small said. The pandemic may eventually reaffirm the person’s original tastes. On the other hand, some consumers try new forms and conclude that they are “convenient for me” and will change forever.

This idea is already well known in the retail industry and has a big presence as an omni-channel. Or, in other words, spread your bets rather than focus them. Meet consumers where you want to meet and understand that not each consumer is motivated by the same set of tastes. Mr. Small said that at the beginning of the post-pandemic period, small business owners across the country would need to act if they could survive the pandemic or if enough opportunists to form a new business. Said that it is the idea of.

She provided CNBC with some important ideas for addressing this awkward consumer situation.

1. Learn the difference between risk and risk perception.

2. Covid-19’s politics accepts that it will continue to be a major trading factor.

3. Instead of drawing a pandemic line, you can also segment by preference.

4. Ask the customer what they want.

What’s the best way to find out what your customers want? Ask them.

For large companies, this can mean market research. This is a science that includes detailed tools for measuring concerns and preferences. And it can be expensive.

Small said small businesses don’t have to give up because they can’t afford to do proper market research. From do-it-yourself Google Trends analysis to creating surveys that you can easily vote on using free online tools and Instagram.

“It’s important to ask the customer a question,” she said.

And that’s important. Because another aspect of human nature that often stumbles us is overconfidence.

“I think we know our customers very well. Often our intuition isn’t right,” she said. “So asking them is really helpful …. ask them those questions, don’t just assume.”

And she says people tend to tell the truth.

“In principle … if they are your customers and you have some relationship … they want you to do well, so to be honest it’s in their interests It will be, “Small said.

At this point, there are many things you can probably share valuable information with.

“Last year we all had a lot of time to ponder. They have an opinion …. listen to the customer’s opinion,” said Professor Wharton. Talk to your customers, ask for feedback, and try to understand what they care about. “

The assumptions are bad and the intuition can be wrong, but Small should start by looking back on what business owners have learned from many changes and the innovations they have come up with, rather than being overwhelmed by challenges. I emphasized that. , And the range they have adapted to. “Trust yourself. If you have adapted before, you can adapt again. Can you learn from the methods you applied before and apply them in the future?”

Wharton Psychology Leader on Dangerous Mind Defining Consumers After the New Corona

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