COVID-19: Deciphering Consumer Stories to Help Brands

Filed Under: Best Practices, Market Research, Tools & Techniques, Shopper


Stories – when it comes to shopping during the pandemic, everyone has them! For example, right before shelter-in-place regulations hit Chicago, my husband and I stocked up on toilet paper, hand sanitizer, frozen vegetables, fresh meat, and even canned fruit (something new to us since we were always fresh fruit buyers). In subsequent weeks, we had to visit two to three stores, instead of just our normal one, because key categories and brands were out of stock. For one of the stores, we had to wait to get in because there were restrictions on the number of customers that could be in the store at any one time. While we readily buy non-food products online, the wait time at brick & mortar stores did cause us to seriously consider the benefits of also moving our grocery shopping online. And, little by little, we’ve increased the types of products purchased online.

Of course, I am not alone in my changed behavior. The stories from shoppers are abundant! In fact, we have so many of them from our live consumer panels, Consumer Connections Series, the COVID-19 Chronicles: 

“We’re buying as many things as we can and rationing so we don’t have to leave as much. Shopping online has been a big thing. I use Instacart because they don’t do Amazon groceries in my neighborhood. But sometimes they don’t have all the things my grocery store does.”

“We’ve been having a tough time getting hold of [our preferred brands]. We have to go to name brand cereals. Instead of paying $1.50 we’re spending $3-4 a box. We’ve been forced to change.”

“We get a lot of freeze-dried fruits, apples, strawberries, mangos. The kids like them. That was one way to combat the lack of supply.”

As we move through this crisis, many companies are evolving their strategies to keep pace with the myriad and ever-changing scenarios that can emerge for shoppers over the coming months. Many clients have been asking us questions like: Where is this going? What’s the new norm? How will shoppers’ preferences/attitudes evolve? What does this mean for my business – now and in the future?  

When we launched our Illuminator® Solutions almost two years ago, we never dreamed that we would be helping our clients answer these types of questions to help their businesses.  But Illuminator® is versatile enough to handle situations such as COVID-19. These solutions leverage our Illuminator Solutions and our 60-year history of conducting custom qualitative and quantitative research, and proprietary research we’ve conducted Consumer Connections Series, the COVID-19 Chronicles. All elements aid in painting you a holistic picture of your business during this time. 

The COVID-19 pandemic marks a new era for all businesses and requires you to understand consumers’ behaviors and their shopping experience. Read more about how we can help you during this time.  

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