“The world will never be the same again!”

We’ve all heard it, and while some things will undoubtedly go back to the way they were pre-crisis, there are many new trends that are going to become the “new normal”. The good news? Not all of these are bad.

One thing in particular looks like it’s going to be sticking around – the trend towards “local”. And it’s something you and your business should be thinking about and preparing for.

In a recent study from global research company Kantar, increased local consumption of goods and services was one of three major customer trends expected to continue once the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

Many of us here at TPA have seen that shift ourselves, whether it be a move towards buying produce from our local butchers, getting deliveries from local shops instead of the usual Amazon order, or even planning a summer staycation later this year. And the general consensus is, that we’re going to continue with these behaviours once lockdown is lifted.

And this trend isn’t just dictated by convenience alone. The major reasons behind it include safety, where customers are more afraid of imported goods, and of course a sense of community togetherness meaning consumers want to help their local businesses.

If it hasn’t already, your business needs to ensure it is part of the trend. If you’re a business which already sells products and services locally, then consider the following as a starter:

  • Get e-commerce set-up. This doesn’t have to be expensive (build your own sites start from just £25 per month), and makes you more accessible
  • Promote yourself on social media, and look for local hashtags to use when posting
  • Look for other local businesses you can partner with to increase your reach to customers

And if you’re a business with a focus on exports and markets further afield, there are still opportunities to embed yourself within the local community:

  • Consider whether there is a market for your products and services locally, and whether you can provide a value-add (i.e. loyalty scheme) or discounted proposition to those customers
  • Work with local charities to give something back to your area
  • Sponsorships provide a positive platform to raise awareness of your business in the community

The two other major trends from the Kantar study expected to outlast lockdown were an increase in e-commerce including consumers who hadn’t previously shopped online (i.e. your grandparents doing their weekly food shop online), as well as an increase in price sensitivity of products, with customers more concerned about the cost of products and looking for value or deals – a trend that tends to go hand in hand with any global recession.

There’s certainly plenty to be thinking about. And remember, we’re on hand if you need to talk to someone about switching up strategies or adapting your comms to meet this new landscape. In the meantime, stay safe out there.