By Jonathan Hurvitz, Teljoy CEO
Phrases that contain the term ‘home’ – including work from home – may well go down in history as the ones we mostly closely associated with the coronavirus pandemic. But another home-related term that is only starting to gain traction is the homebody economy, a term used to refer to what Forbes describes as the convergence of spending incrementally more time at home and more money online.
Much has been said about the impact of COVID-19 on consumer spending habits and the adoption of online shopping among demographic groups previously less inclined this way, but a question that perhaps hasn’t been interrogated enough is the value of the homebody economy.
As we battle the third wave of the pandemic and remain home as much as possible, in line with level 4 lockdown measures, there is every likelihood that the homebody economy will continue to grow as we continue to spend more time on at-home activities
While the impact of lockdowns on various sectors of the economy should never be dismissed or overlooked, we also need to recognise the opportunity that our current situation presents – a case of ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’. The challenge for brands is to strategically embrace the opportunity but to do so in a way that will deliver value, even after the pandemic has run its course.
Unpacking the trend
The first step to leveraging the opportunities presented by the homebody economy is to carefully consider the nuances to assess exactly where and how a brand should respond. Customers increasingly expect more from brands and, thanks to the information available at their fingertips, are ever-more discerning about their choices in the online space.
A brand’s best response is to ensure their value proposition is authentic, relevant and aligned to customer needs. More importantly, perhaps, brands need to ensure that their offering can be delivered in the homebody economy style, that is at home and via digital channels.
Value is a doing word
Every business believes they add value but the notion of value needs to be regularly reassessed for relevance. To cite an example from our own business: The pandemic suddenly forced us to really assess our value proposition. Our findings forced us to quickly expand our product offering to include the things that people were most interested in at a very unusual time in recent history. The outcome of this exercise was that we were able to expedite the expansion of our range of gym equipment, as well as our selection of home office equipment. Understood differently, the pandemic has expanded our definition of what we offer – it’s not about appliances or furniture, it’s about making home a happier place to be and how rent-to-own makes that easier. Naturally this will be different for every business but the secret to harnessing the homebody economy is simply to understand how your brand offering can tap into this trend in a subtle way, but one that adds value.
The digital mindset
A sustainable homebody economy relies on an organisational understanding of a digital-first mindset, which includes the ability to rapidly change, adapt, reinvent and react to market trends and shifts.
Brands operating in the online space (isn’t that everyone by now?) need to view their customers from the digital-first vantage point, which means ensuring they can be seen and accessed at the exact moment a (potential) customer wants or needs them.
Conclusively, as per the Forbes article referenced above, businesses also need to “have the required agility to scale and evolve to meet yet-to-be determined future needs, likely to be driven at least in part by the homebody economy”.
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