Life is busy once again. More or less, that is. The vaccination rate is slowly getting close to the desired level, and more and more products and services are available in the same form as before. A year ago, many were trying to guess what this grand reopening was going to look like. And soon, we will be able to say for certain that some got it right. It is far from a restart or a return to the old ways. New systems have been developed, which have been in use for more than a year and have become a part of people’s lives.
Restart, Small Pleasures
We hear it, see it everywhere: “we are open”. In parallel, people are increasingly reacting with a shrug and a “so what?”. Many market players were waiting for a return to normalcy to be their salvation. Many of them are no longer around to see it. They could not survive the pandemic’s economic crash. On the other hand, those who survived this difficult period are trying to jump at opportunities with renewed energy. However, the reactions of shoppers are breaking their momentum. That’s because, despite all the warnings, many businesses thought that they simply had to reopen and slowly, or preferably immediately, all their customers would return. It is clear now that this is not an automatic process. The crisis will not pass without leaving a mark, and those who try to pretend that it won’t will not be very successful in the future. Of course, after such a long period, everyone was looking forward to freedom, the restrictions finally being eased; however, the memory of the past year and a half is still vivid in everyone’s mind. And they expect businesses to keep that in mind as well. The same product or service cannot be offered to the same customers the same way with the same success. That will simply not work. The road either goes up or down. Meaning that if someone failed to renew their business, offerings, and products, or failed to choose new directions and develop further, they are in big trouble now. All right, but where were businesses supposed to find the money for development during the pandemic? And this is exactly one of the factors that influence shoppers. They are very interested in how stable a given service provider or product manufacturer is. To what extent was it able to react to the crisis? How much energy did it have for all this?
Crushed and Left Behind
It is a popular saying that in war, people tend to side with the strong. No one chooses to partner with the weak out of charity if such a decision could have serious negative consequences. The same approach should be taken towards customer behaviour after a crisis from the point of view of the average person. If a business is waiting for them to return with new energy, new products, and new developments, they will appreciate it and place that business higher in their order of preference. Those companies who failed at dealing with this period slide down the list. If it is not clear already, this does not apply only to strategically significant services. In fact, the average person, the mass consumer, is even more success-oriented, which means that they will favour the strong even more. They won’t even visit a pastry shop if it was crushed under the weight of the crisis. They don’t like sitting in restaurants where it is clear that the past twelve months ruined the business. In addition, after last year, they want to see smiling faces, which is, let’s admit it, a tall order to fill at a business that is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy or simply trying to survive. It is said that a smile is very important in the world of sales. This is true. However, in 2021, I would expand it to “a genuine smile is worth everything”.