Johannes Altmann, owner and CEO of consulting firm Shoplupe, is one of the most important e-commerce minds in Germany when it comes to the customer experience. The current situation presents a real paradigm shift, not only for brick and mortar stores but also for online retailers. We asked the online prophet how the corona crisis is changing the buying behaviour of customers.
Due to the corona crisis, the current consumer behaviour on the internet has turned around by 180 degrees: People are forced to spend more time at home and pursue their hobbies. Consumption, the fulfilment of desires and the need for self-fulfilment have been reduced to a minimum. Factors such as the desire to belong, originality and stimulation do not really help consumers right now. Those shops whose business model consists of staging and inspiration are having a tough time and the demand for luxury, fashion and lifestyle has decreased. “For some of our fashion customers, sales have reduced by half,” says Johannes Altmann.
Hobby and sports segments emerge as winners during the crisis
It is only logical that the current situation benefits mainly those stores that deal with hobby, home and leisure products. There are countless sports apps, free videos on the internet, and the springlike weather entices people to go outside to jog or cycle. Therefore, it makes sense to feature sportswear ranges as well as home wear or loungewear. “A large online sporting goods store told me about doubling their order volume", comments Johannes Altmann and adds: “A shop for craft supplies such as knitting and crocheting is currently even struggling with their capacity limit because the volume of orders has quadrupled.” He sees Amazon as the main beneficiary of the crisis because the company created the image of a supplier of basic goods even before the corona crisis. Recent news from Seattle seems to prove this assessment right as Amazon made waves with the news of wanting to hire 100,000 new employees.
Fun entertainment in times of boredom
Even though many online fashion retailers are reporting losses in revenue during the current crisis, according to Johannes Altmann, they can also now bank on targeted buying impulses. “Although large discount campaigns are probably not of much use at present because many consumers apply very targeted shopping behaviour at the moment, you can accompany potential customers in their 'boredom' and supply them with content,” reflects Altmann. Before and after tips, styling ideas, interviews with designers and information about sustainability topics is an easy, pleasant and meaningful conversation. Illustrated with videos and picture galleries, for example, which are an invitation to linger. Even an argument like "The holiday is cancelled, now there is a budget for other purchases" could be part of the communication.
Johannes Altmann has put together some tips for us as to how fashion retailers should now respond to the changed needs of their customers:
- First of all: Make it clear that your shop is ready and products are available
- Adapt your communication to the new needs: Entertain, give insights, styling tips, etc.
- Feature sports and hobby product ranges
- Increasingly advertise home wear or leisure wear
- Come up with pro-purchase points that can be useful in the current situation, such as money saved on a holiday, wanting to be rewarded, etc.
This article was originally published on FashionUnited DE. Edited and translated by Simone Preuss.