Although Covid-19 is no longer new to us, the resulting economic crisis shows no signs of subsiding. Many Americans’ daily routines have changed in ways no one could have predicted a year ago. With these lifestyle changes and growing unemployment, it’s no surprise that consumer spending habits have changed as well. These changes may seem like a roadblock to your business goals at first glance, but you can also view this time as an opportunity to get ahead of your competition.
Along with consumers’ new habits, they also have new expectations. So what are these new habits and expectations? And how can multi-location businesses, franchises, and other companies working with SMB clients help local teams rise to meet them?
A survey by McKinsey found that over 75% of shoppers have experimented with different purchasing behavior during the crisis, including trying new brands and stores. 15% to 20% of consumers have switched stores due to disruption in the marketplace and closures, and about half of those who switched plan to stick with their new store. Many are turning to the internet to discover new ways to shop.
So, in short, customer loyalty is up for grabs.
Customers may switch from your competitors, looking for a better or more convenient alternative. So it’s important that they’re able to find your business, and that you make a good first impression.
All of your business information needs to be up to date on every platform and website: Yelp, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, the list goes on. You should provide cohesive branding and a positive customer experience from all of the platforms you utilize. Make it easy for your customer to find the information, complete the action they came to do, and build trust in your brand– which encourages them to continue down the funnel!
With careful market research and social listening, you can learn more about your audience, your competitors’ audiences, and industry trends and expectations. Once you know what your potential customers are happy with, unhappy with, or missing, you can focus on conveying the ways that your business meets those needs with your marketing content. Multi-location businesses may discover that customers in different locations have different wants and needs, and can adjust their content accordingly, or help their locations make the adjustments.
Just like making a good first impression, it’s also important to remember the expectations that new customers have, so you can keep them as customers. New customer growth is ideal, but with a high churn rate, it’s like swimming against the current—it won’t get you anywhere!
Customers increasingly expect social customer care on any channel at any time. You’ll have to be active and available on every platform that your customers use. You should be aware of mentions, messages, comments, and off-profile mentions (those which mention your brand but don’t @-tag you). Organization and clear delegation of tasks within your team are key so customer service issues, questions, and feedback are directed to the appropriate person and answered quickly.
In these uncertain times, consumers are being more mindful of how they spend their money. With jobs dwindling and those who are employed opting to save, customers may be more inclined to carefully consider their options and ask more questions before purchasing.
When they do opt to make a purchase, they expect a positive customer experience. Every trip to the store or order is a little bit higher-stakes when the economy is unstable, so if something does go wrong, you’ll be expected to resolve the issue quickly in order to keep their business.
It’s important to recognize that the world has changed—and so have your customers. Pre-crisis assumptions of customer behavior are very likely irrelevant now as the crisis has accelerated shifts in consumer behavior. Companies that can’t adjust their strategies accordingly will continue to struggle once the crisis is behind us.
Discover how you can use Nuvi’s local tools to meet customer needs at this time and allow your business to be more adaptable at our upcoming free webinar. Join us at our Localizing Your Digital Marketing to Thrive in Challenging Times webinar on August 27th at 10 am MST.