COVID and the Consumer
October 23, 2020
Generally, humans are creatures of habit. Although we may enjoy the thrill of spontaneity, most of us tend to follow a routine. That routine may be clocking in for your 9 o’clock shift, or a steadfast tradition of Sunday brunch at your favourite local restaurant. So, when most of the world went into lockdown last March our daily lives were thrown completely off balance. It is mind boggling to think of all the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our way of life and the effect these changes may have far into the future.
Of course, consumer habits are just as engrained in us as any other part of our routine and have similarly been forced to change. Let’s look at some examples.
Mark may have always purchased a bagel on his way to work, but now he commutes across his apartment to his home-office. Clearly it doesn’t make sense for him to go to the bagel shop in the mornings anymore, but he is sad because they were delicious bagels!
Then there is Sarah who regularly bought from a big box store but was alarmed to find the store shelves were often empty. So, what does Sarah do now? Perhaps she tries out some new retailers in her area or decides to avoid the stores altogether and order online.
Finally, there is Tyler who was a regular customer at both the bagel shop and the big box store but has not been as keen to shop at them since he noticed they do not offer contactless payments. Tyler has always valued the ease and simplicity of paying with his digital wallet, and now he also prefers not to touch a payment pin pad for sanitary reasons. This has led Tyler to try out other stores that offer more convenient and touch-free options.
In these scenarios the consumer did not want to change their purchasing habits necessarily, but changing circumstances caused them to. Stories like these are all too familiar lately, and they certainly make us empathize with merchants that have lost customers at no fault of their own.
What to Do?
This year has shown us just how unpredictable things can be and has taught us how valuable it is to ADAPT. Merchants have been forced to serve their clients in extremely innovative ways, and it has been incredible to see businesses thrive during these challenging times.
Let’s narrow in on the owner of the bagel shop that lost business from both Mark and Tyler due to the pandemic. The shop owner is able to adapt in order to retain customers and has the potential to even attract new ones!
The Merchant’s Job
Merchants know their business better than anyone and can identify the shop’s strengths and weaknesses. The bagel shop owner knows they have lost many commuter customers like Mark, so they decide to add takeout bagels by the dozen to the menu so that people like Mark can still enjoy the bagels from home. This is a small way the bagel shop can adapt, and it presents several other opportunities to make valuable changes.
Payment Experts’ Job
By identifying the changing needs of the customer, the bagel shop now has the ability to cater their services to these new conditions. The team at Payment Experts has the expertise and experience to find the right best way to implement these new ideas!
Adapt. Adapt. Adapt.
Standard in-store purchasing was the bread and butter (well, bagel and butter) of the store and many customers still want to shop in-person. So, it is important to ensure a safe shopping environment for both customers and employees!
The addition of contactless payment options can help retain/attract customers like Tyler! In fact, recent statistics show that Tyler is not the only shopper thinking this way. 57% of consumers reported that the availability of digital payment options would impact where they chose to shop.
Payment solutions like dual Clover Mini terminals can ensure that customers feel paying in the store. With this unique checkout setup, the merchant and customer each use a separate device to avoid germ spread and maintain ample physical distancing. By creating a comfortable environment, you may win the loyalty of customers like Sarah who are open to new retailers.
Click and Collect
A great shopping option that has boomed during the pandemic is the click and collect method. Shoppers are able to place their order online but don’t have to wait for shipping. Instead they have the convenience of picking up the order when it is ready, which is quite often the same day. This is an option that consumers like Tyler would appreciate!
Curbside pickup is an extremely safe shopping method that usually requires you to order and pay for your item in advance of pickup. Payment Experts can setup an online payment solution that gives your customers this convenient option.
In-store pickup is another convenient option. In this case, the consumer would either reserve an item and pay at pickup or order and pay in advance. This system allows shoppers to quickly make their purchase in the store without wasting time browsing.
Consumers are shopping online more than ever before, and the pandemic has heightened people’s appreciation for item delivery. Whether you are selling retail goods, groceries, or take out it can be beneficial to offer delivery especially as we head into the colder season. Delivery from the bagel shop could be a great option for Mark, Sarah, or Tyler!
Customer loyalty can be one of the most important aspects of a business. Not only do loyal customers repeatedly purchase from you, but they also become representatives that can introduce new consumers to your brand. Of course, it is up to merchants to ensure great customer experience, but Payment Experts can provide the tools to deliver it!
On top of the previous payment solution topics we have mentioned, there are many other ways that technology can contribute to amazing customer service. For example, systems like Clover make it easy to manage and administer loyalty programs. With built-in customer relationship management (CRM) software, merchants can collect customer information and then customize their future visits.
It is also easy to set up loyalty programs, such as rewards for multiple in-store purchases or remarketing efforts like sending promo codes to customers that haven’t been in-store for a while. This could attract someone like Sarah to become a loyal customer. Or it could be a great way to get Mark back to the bagel shop!
Ready to adapt your business? Contact Payment Experts today to see how we can help your business succeed in these turbulent times!