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Changes in consumer behavior and new perspectives for SMEs:
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Changes in consumer behavior and new perspectives for SMEs

Last year was marked by the beginning of a global pandemic that hit society and business in an unprecedented way. We changed our behaviors, our…

Reading time: 9 min

Last year was marked by the beginning of a global pandemic that hit society and business in an unprecedented way. We changed our behaviors, our needs, and even our beliefs in the face of an unexpected event so powerful that it showed that nothing and no one was safe from having to adapt.

From the constant use of masks and new hygiene rituals, birthdays celebrated via Zoom, and the alarming news we have been living with daily. Many things that were unthinkable have started to be part of our lives. Making room for meaningful changes that will follow even after we go through this phase.

After all, no one will want to maintain the limitations created by this period. But most people will pursue new possibilities.

The ease, the comfort, and the agility of this digital life that we are living brings benefits that people will not want to let go of. Which mainly affects consumer behavior

In this blog post we will understand how the individual and collective transformations driven by Covid-19 have created new consumer attitudes and how the most challenged businesses during this crisis, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), can adapt to this demand to grow and succeed in the post-pandemic world. 

Decades into weeks: This was the pace at which our relationship with technology has evolved 

During the first weeks of quarantine, with a lack of things to do, even those less adept at using technology began a new journey. 

Your father’s first video call. Your friend’s grandmother who got an Alexa to be monitored from a distance. A coworker who started playing online games on streaming platforms. Your mother who is addicted to online shopping and receiving the package next day!

These are some examples of individual experiences, which set the tone for the collective. We may have realized it or not, but our lives have become more technological.

A paradigm shift in 2020, in a period of just 100 days, brought 5.7 million new consumers to digital commerce with their first online purchases.

For Abel Ornelas, head of operations at Via Varejo, which owns stores such as Casas Bahia and Ponto Frio, this growth means the opening of new markets:

“Those who used to buy in e-commerce were consumers with greater purchasing power, now access to the internet is arriving in the lower classes.”

And do you want to know which was precisely one of the main markets highlighted in this category? Electronics. Casas Bahia, for example, reported a growth of 2,500% in sales of games and cameras and 1,400% in computer items in May to June last year.

One way or another, there are almost 1.5 million more consumers compared to the same comparable period in 2019. If these were people who previously had resistance to the digital shopping experience, today they are in the group of those who tried the comfort of online consumption and transformed their habits.

No wonder “tech life” is one of the most relevant cultural trends mapped by Twitter in a study of billions of conversations to discover what themes shape our future. 

And that shows how widespread the adoption and integration of these features into our everyday lives has reshaped its perception for everyday people.

Among the changes brought about by the study is looking at technology as a form of “smart life.” Enabling more efficient ways of living and infinite improvements in our daily lives.

In response, initiatives that until recently were seen as business innovations in categories that are highly dependent on a physical presence, have become a requirement in the challenge of keeping your relationship with people alive.

Likewise, in Small and Medium Enterprises, it is also believed that digital will be an element of great importance to the point of becoming a solution for them to face the challenges that arose during the health crisis and remained after: 

According to a study published by Microsoft in January this year, during the pandemic 42% of SMEs accelerated the adoption of new technologies and 83% of respondents say that the adoption of new technologies is the most relevant aspect for the economic recovery of Brazilian SMEs . 82% also stated that they intend to continue adopting new technologies even after the pandemic.

As well illustrated by Google in the survey “From uncertainty to new ways of living: an analysis of the new everyday”, the new ways of living led us as a society to new experiences. Guided mainly by digitalization, virtual assistance, and also new priorities as we will see below.

After winning a battle for survival, we want the best possible wellness in our lives

As we said, technology has gained a new prominence in people’s lives, being seen mainly as a means of better living.

After all, a better life will be even more in the coming years, people’s great search.

Also mapped by the study from Twitter is another major topic in current conversations, “wellbeing”, achieves another meaning among our priorities, with an air of self-care with yourself and each other. 

“Gone are the days of just getting by. Collectively, we’ve moved past the idea of ‘wellness’ as a buzzword, instead digging deep into what personal health and wellbeing actually look like day to day.”(The Conversation: Twitter Trends)

After a long period where survival was the main collective objective, health is now seen in a much broader sense. Not just the absence of disease and illness, but linked to the ways in which we relate to all things.

Faced with new feelings of stress and fatigue, we start to pursue our mental health as a form of self-preservation. Moving away from experiences that can bring weariness, anxiety and so on.

In this context, in a Salesforce survey 75% of service professionals described customers as “demanding” and 66% as “harder to please” during the pandemic. 

Before the crisis, consumer behavior was already looking for differentiated and positive experiences. Being influenced mainly by factors such as good service, attentive relationships, transparent, and solicitous communication. 

In addition, there was also the possibility of getting to know the products, tasting, and having physical contact in general. A set that formed the experience in the relationships between business and consumer.

With the new online consumption trends, this demand started to revolve mainly around more agile experiences and with broad support via these channels. Confirming the reading that people after being oppressed by a pandemic seek to live the best of all worlds and they are not willing to wear themselves out when relating to a brand or product. 

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Creating a “smart” and mentally positive technological experience 

According to the data presented, we see the formation of new consumer profiles each day become more technological. Who have with these resources a way of living better and exploring their daily activities. At the same time they are committed to the search for mentally positive experiences which do not lead to wear and tear.

In contrast, SMEs, seeking to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and rediscover growth should focus their efforts on ways to establish their shopping experience in line with these requirements: 

Through technologies that provide fast and efficient solutions and that help people anytime anywhere and through the channel they want, with quick and accessible answers and information about products, orders, deliveries, returns, payments, and so on. 

As competitors in physical shopping, businesses struggled to stand out from a number of competitors. As competitors in digital, they start to compete for consumer preference with an infinite number of possibilities.

They won’t be able to accomplish it if their channels offer any kind of obstacle for that interaction to be considered positive. People are revisiting their shopping habits in order to avoid hassles.

The coronavirus pandemic has already changed the functioning of 5.3 million small businesses in Brazil which is equivalent to 31% of the total. This is shown in the second edition of the survey “The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on small businesses”, carried out by Sebrae

Through the study it is possible to observe the ways small entrepreneur’s operations are evolving at this time. Where among the companies that continued to function 41.9% carry out the delivery of their products now only via online service.

However, more than migrating to or expanding this service channel, it is necessary to keep in mind the types of experiences that people want to find and that should be built in this environment. It is important that small and medium entrepreneurs choose intelligent operational solutions for their business. Always understanding what is interesting for customers.

Just as it has been for ordinary people in the struggle for survival, where another 10.1 million SMEs or 58.9% of the total, had to temporarily interrupt their activities due to the challenges of operating costs brought about by the pandemic. The key for businesses will be the increase in the use of technologies that can improve their day-to-day activities. 

Through features that meet the demands of a great increase in online opportunities, the search for a positive consumer experience by customers and the streamlining of investments required by its own market.

Accessible Customer Service structures based on Artificial Intelligence are the main technological bet in this regard. While they scale the agility and quality of information provision with a refined degree of personalization, responding to customer expectations and forming an absolutely safe operation with flexible, adaptable, and predictable results. Corresponding to the needs of these companies.

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A (Snackable) Future of Retai Report l 


With a view of helping SMEs on this journey, Alana, our proprietary artificial intelligence brings the layers of complexity and skills necessary for Customer Service to deliver the expected quality, flexibility, and volume. 

By hiring the solution, which has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) ensuring the delivery of expected results, people from any company will be able to implement and automatically manage resources that are decisive in the consumption experience today, such as: 

Despite the functionalities and their highly tangible positive impacts on operation and results, it is essential to keep in mind that this set of solutions represents much more.

It’s the integration of smart features to respond in the same language to changes in consumer behavior and to create the kind of experience they want to experience. Technologically smart and mentally positive. 

Did you like our article? We hope so! To learn more about our affordable, high-impact Artificial Intelligence solutions, visit our website.