Video chatting with friends during social distancing


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Consumers are constantly embracing new habits and behaviors to adapt during market uncertainty. The current economic crisis is driving founders to look for alternative business ideas that can yield returns, while also following newfound consumer habits to keep their businesses alive. Whether you’re looking to create side projects for extra income in the midst of market volatility, or to take advantage of opportunities to grow your business, here are some trends to be aware of.

Zoom And Wine Are The New Normal 

There are some products that seem to be recession-proof during this pandemic. The obvious necessities like hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and toilet paper are sold out almost everywhere. But then there’s another class of items that aren’t necessities, technically, but the demand for them would make you think otherwise. Alcohol sales are on the rise significantly – alcoholic beverage sales rose by 55% in late March, when many states began their quarantine efforts, compared to 2019 sales for the same period. And Nielsen said online alcohol sales were up 243%

Most states deemed liquor stores an essential service during the current quarantine. A decision that definitely caused some debates. 

With the lack of human interaction, people have turned to video conference calls in order to “hang out” with friends. Which led to the founder of Zoom making nearly $4 billion in 3 months as a direct result of the increase in people utilizing video conferences. And along with that comes, well, a glass (or two) of wine. 

“According to Nielsen wine sales are up 66% during this pandemic thanks in part to consumer behavior and also due to investors looking for safe-haven for investments as fine wine has historically outperformed the S&P,” said Anthony Zhang, co-founder of Vinovest, a platform for investing in a managed portfolio of fine wines.

Social Commerce

The COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine has forced a massive percentage of the global population into their houses and required entrepreneurs and employees to work from home. People are losing businesses, and losing jobs, as exemplified by the 30 million Americans who have filed for unemployment since mid-March, as CNN reports. COVID has forced many companies into thinking about how consumer shopping habits will change in the near and distant future, and how they can diversify their marketing channels now. Even after COVID, we have to wonder what shopping will look like?

What does this mean for the millions of small and local companies, the brick and mortar businesses that depend on foot traffic and small service-based businesses that depend on local commerce? Fortunately, this immediate problem has a lasting solution: social media marketing paired with e-commerce applicably dubbed social commerce. 

From at-home fitness programs to the latest and hottest COVID chic fashion, masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer kits that Instacart is now supplying, there’s no shortage of innovation online. Social commerce has found its footing in the midst of this pandemic to drive sales through social media. From proper hashtags and user-generated content to tracked links that funnel followers back to your e-commerce site, you can turn fans into customers. When social commerce is done right, your social media page becomes a machine that drives sales.

CLUSE, a men’s and women’s watch brand, is a perfect example of how to execute social commerce. They treat their social feeds how a retail store treats their window display, giving visitors a unique glimpse into their products and brand. Rather than constantly bombarding offers and deals, the company’s Instagram feed is an example of a smart social shopping experience. 

As researched by Later, an Instagram scheduling app, average screen time has increased 18%, up to more than 5 hours per day thanks to the pandemic. Instagram and Facebook saw an increase of over 40% in active usage as a result of social distancing, and views for streaming ‘Live’ on both platforms doubled in one week. 

In regards to shifts in consumer demand, Nikki Baird, Vice President of retail innovation at retail enterprise solution provider Aptos, says “The pandemic has revealed that omnichannel is a necessity, and while it won’t be quite so central once more stores open, it will still have a lasting impact — consumers will want to know if something they’re looking for is in stock before they go to the store. Consumers will want options on how to receive the goods, whether that’s pickup in store, at curbside, or delivered to the home. And consumers won’t care what your margins are, or your price points, or your shipping costs — they will expect it no matter what.”

This is an amazing opportunity for businesses to reap the benefits of an online captive audience like never before in history and social commerce can help them capitalize. The world has changed, and as agile and successful entrepreneurs, we must change with the world.

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