Covid 19 Quarantine= Change is scary but it brings opportunity to those who embrace it

Are You Positioned for Long Term Structural Change?

We’ve all been reading about product categories that are hot due to the forced changes in lifestyle that are brought on by the quarantine:  home air and water purifiers, slow cookers, air fryers, counter-top grills, home organization, etc.  Those products are moving through Amazon, grocery stores, national chains that sell groceries, home centers and, of course, manufacturers’ websites.  How much of this behavior is temporary and home much will become permanent?

Needs or fears lead to changed behavior which leads to new experiences which leads to familiarity and acceptance.  As people fear getting the virus from public spaces, they are learning ways to meet their needs without those spaces.  Behaviors that are on the increase in response to the virus threat now, such as mobile banking (46% doing so now), subscribing to grocery delivery services (26% doing so now), ordering take-out/pick-up food etc., are likely to gain greater general acceptance after the virus threat subsides.

Thus, long-term, this situation will lead to long term changes in everyday habits and behaviors.  Perhaps fewer bank branches, further growth in home grocery delivery, continued growth in online shopping and all home delivery in general.  It may also work against the use of gyms and shared health facilities.  There may be less shopping mall patronage and less restaurant patronage.  We may also see more people working from home either permanantly or part-time as companies see the economic advantages of smaller offices and less disruption from commutation and its associated expenses.  This could lead to growth in home office equipment and will certainly lead to growth in online communications applications such as zoom.  

The single most important lesson for housewares manufacturers that results from the quarantine experience is the same lesson investors are hearing:  diversify.

Perhaps you need to diversify via channels of distribution.  Brands that do not have distribution via Target, Walmart and grocery stores, will likely suffer greatly from the current situation.  Their own websites are not likely to carry the day.  Broadly distributed brands are likely to survive and come out stronger.  

Perhaps you need to diversify via channels of communications, marketing, and branding. Diversified distribution can equate to minimized opportunities to communicate and position brands and products.   All brands need the support of great websites and great social media diversification.  Our studies have revealed that websites have to work hard to position the brand, introduce and sell the products and be responsive to consumer questions and concerns.  Few websites do all of those things well.  Great websites need brand support in people, time and dollars and a dedicated effort to support and promote via social media.  As consumer presence in stores decreases and online purchasing increases, whether through retailers or through your website, your products need all the help they can get to communicate their benefits and value.  Don’t leave any stones unturned in that pursuit.

Perhaps you need to diversify via new products and perhaps new product categories

Consumers needs are now rapidly changing.  Some companies will thrive, and some companies may retreat. 
Find the best path for your company to meet those new consumer  needs
, embrace change, and grow through these new opportunities.