Everyone had to do a lot of shifting in 2020, and it changed our buyer behavior. It altered our expectations and values.
That means it’s time for businesses, and marketers need to accommodate the changes to stay competitive.
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Our world has shifted, and we’ve had to change with it. Even now, countries are again in lockdown across the globe, and the virus with its variants rages. The cycle continues.
The pandemic has made us value health and safety like never before.
In areas where the cases are dropping and vaccinations completed, people are ready to go back inside more businesses. But they want to do it safely.
If they see a business slacking on their cleaning protocols or not protecting their staff, they are highly likely to go elsewhere next time. They’ll probably tell others to avoid the place too.
We’re not going back into businesses physically just because we can. We’ve missed interacting with products as well as people outside our household.
However, our expectations have changed. If we don’t have a positive customer experience, we won’t return.
Our expectations for convenience have increased. Curbside pickup, delivery, and virtual shopping assistance. You can get online help via AI chat, or a live style expert, or virtually try on cosmetics.
No more wasted time in a doctor’s office when a virtual visit will do. We’ll do it online, thank you very much.
In December of 2020, Forbes surveyed 1000 consumers. They asked questions to determine how things had changed and if they were positive or negative. The study looked at both online and offline experiences. In January, they published their findings.
Every business needs to accommodate and embrace what buyers want, need, and expect in 2021 to stay competitive. A big part of this will be rebuilding brand loyalty.
While the statistical findings are intriguing, one jumped at me. Brand loyalty took a massive shot in the foot last year. People might not have been able to order their favorite brands, so they substituted. Supply chain shortages have compounded this problem.
Even more important than looking at the trend statistics is implementing proactive techniques to be the solution your target audience wants.
There are three things buyers are wanting. Provide all of them, and you’ll go a long way to building brand loyalty. The loyalty that keeps customers returning and staying with you during whatever the next crisis might be.
Three keys to getting them and keeping them are health and safety, positive experiences, and convenience.
If there is one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that we each have to watch out for our health. As we go back inside stores, shoppers are observing and critiquing health and safety standards.
While plastic dividers felt a bit awkward in the beginning, they are now the norm. A business working without them would make most people uncomfortable—the same for staff not wearing masks.
Consumers want to see you are looking out for both them—and the employees that are taking care of them.
People expect sanitation stations. Disinfecting counter services or any areas where the customer might touch between customers is crucial.
From the moment they enter a business or visit an online store, they are subliminally noting the experience. They pay attention to the ambiance, friendliness, efficiency, and a way to get questions answered.
We’ve become a lot less patient with poor service however it manifests.
We’re also more socially conscious, and we want to see your staff well taken care of too.
Online buyers have the same standards, and there is a lot of room for improvement. Evaluate everything from virtual aids to help buyers make a selection to improved customer service response.
Key to online success will be fresh, relevant quality content. Everything: blog posts, articles, emails, social posts. The big boys like Pepsi and American Express and Apple are making massive investments in new content. Even Facebook is getting into content with the ability to post newsletters.
Both strictly e-commerce and brick and mortar capitalizing via the increase in online purchasing need to ramp up their content.
Solicit feedback from buyers. Implement short, easy-to-do “how did we do” surveys.
A positive experience is without friction. Sometimes friction can be hard to see from the inside. Let your buyers help you smooth them out.
Brick and mortar businesses need to move to touchless checkout. That could be self-checkout or contact-free payment processing.
Shoppers notice things like clean pens, a sanitized payment device, and the check-out area wiped down between customers.
We’ve become accustomed to more customer service in the form of curbside pickup and virtual doctor appointments. These are things that probably should have been offered long ago.
Those with physical challenges and or who don’t drive wish they had been.
Inclusivity is now having things convenient for all.
If convenience factors were a temporary add-on, look for ways to embrace them and improve them, so they become permanent.
Look for new ways to enhance convenience, so you stand out from the competition. Buyers will reward you for it where it counts...in your cash register.
The leap has happened. Online purchasing has already blasted past 2021 forecasts. Your quality online content is critical to stay competitive. Ready to attract new buyers, increase lifetime buyer value, build sales, and more engagement? You need quality content. Let’s have a quick chat. You can message me: [email protected].
Judith Culp Pearson receives three top honors
at the annual Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals in
Ft. Worth, Texas - October 7-9, 2023