The Genesis of Resiliency – Consumer Buying Behaviour (Part 4 of 9)

This is the fourth part of a 9-part series on 9-key strategic business areas that are vital for the continuity of services and operations.


Consumer buying behaviour is shifting significantly – especially as many businesses are starting the process to re-open after pandemic lockdowns are eased.

Shifts in Consumer Sentiment

As pandemic restrictions lift and pockets of spending return, consumer buying behaviour is beginning to adapt to the next normal. The McKinsey & Company article “Consumer sentiment is evolving as countries around the world begin to reopen” details 6-key shifts in behaviours that organizations need to be aware of.

These 6 shifts are summarized below.

1. Consumer optimism has decreased

· If optimism is low, consumers will have concerns for their investments, their

income, their retirement, etc.

2. Declines in income

· With declines in income will come declines in spending on non-essential or

discretionary items.

3. Shift to online & digital channels

· Goods and services will more frequently be sought out via online channels first

versus the traditional method of visiting brick-and-mortar locations.

4. Homebody Economy

· Most consumers will feel unsafe to go back to “regular out of home activities”

such as attending malls or crowded indoor events.

5. Extra Health Assurances needed

· Consumers will want the endorsement of medial authorities for any public

spaces. 10-15% of consumers will not feel comfortable attending regular out of

home activities until a vaccine has been developed.

6. Cleaning and Safety

· Consumers will want to see businesses prioritize cleaning & sanitization efforts,

physical barriers, etc.

Additionally, consumers are more fearful for the economic impact of COVID-19 than they are for their health, according to Accenture.

These shifts in behaviour will bring changes to your business, your workforce, and your business processes.

How to assess Consumer Buying Behaviours for business continuity purposes?

One way to assess these factors is by applying our Genesis Resiliency Agile User Stories method in a specific tabletop scenario that is relevant to you and which could cause significant impacts to your business.

Scenario Examples

Your business

You are a medium-sized grocery store that employs 300 employees who rotate

throughout the week.


Consider the following scenarios based on 6 key shifts.

1. Consumer optimism has decreased

· Consumer confidence continues to decrease by 5-10 points until the

end of December 2020. Use The Conference Board of Canada as a


2. Declines in income

· 25% of your customers are still on some form of financial assistance

provided by the Government.

3. Shift to online & digital channels

· Only 30% of your products are currently featured on your website.

4. Homebody Economy

· You do not provide delivery services.

5. Extra Health Assurances needed

· 10-15% of consumers will not feel comfortable attending regular out

of home activities until a vaccine has been developed.

6. Cleaning and Safety

· There is an ongoing shortage of cleaning service companies in your


Consider the perspective of one of your users – External Customers

The expected benefit for customers is to purchase food and other goods for daily


Complete the process of Agile user story writing

This story writing process will help identify blind spots in your continuity planning

process and document corresponding strategies (i.e. outputs) that mitigate the

risk to your user.

These outputs, aligned to the 6-key shifts, may include:

1. Consumer optimism has decreased

· Promote and advertise that your store is supplied by local suppliers.

· Communicate economic impacts through online channels such as blogs or

article posts and note how your grocery store helps stimulate the economy.

2. Declines in income

· Engage local government agencies to identify and promote methods that

your customers can use for financial assistance.

· Develop financial assistance strategies within your own store.

· Develop local food donation drives to local charities and/or create packages

that employed customers can buy for those less fortunate.

3. Shift to online & digital channels

· Provide training to a group of your employees to help create an inventory

assessment and build a website that can assist in selling your products.

4. Homebody Economy

· Create delivery hiring strategies so that you can employ local customers to

deliver food by vehicle or bicycle.

· Develop subscription strategies enabling your customers to buy goods on a

fixed schedule.

· Develop meal kits for any quick food that your store may be well known for

so that your customers can prepare it themselves at home. An example of

this business change is also explored in this article. KFC and Pizza-

Hut in China innovated their processes to deliver their menus so that

consumers can prepare it at home. Read more from Boston Consulting

Group's Article "COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Snapshot #12: The Pace


5. Extra Health Assurances needed

· Develop a process where an employee is tasked to research and post

processes for the latest government issued health orders.

· Physically place government issues health orders in your store and virtually

on your online channels & phone messaging systems.

6. Cleaning and Safety

· Place your cleaning checklists in visible areas to provide assurances to your


· Post your cleaning checklists via online channels (e.g. your website).

The Genesis Resiliency method of Agile user stories strengthens understanding of Consumer Buying Behaviour. Additionally, through the conversations and resulting outputs (or strategies) our method generates, we improve your business continuity planning process, safeguarding your interests and those of our local, regional & global communities.