The pandemic broke down all routines for businesses, suppliers, manufacturers, and consumers. Businesses changed to navigate uncertain waters in order to meet their customers’ needs. Customers had to find new ways to use the digital landscape on their mobile devices to keep up with their favorite brands, and they didn’t hesitate to jump ship and put trust in new brands with more robust online experiences. In fact, 81% of consumers shopped with at least one new brand, online or in store, since March 2020.
Everyone, from internal operations employees to consumers looking to shop, had to try new strategies to get their desired results. In the end, businesses drive results from consumers when they create an online experience that shows customers they care. Once face-to-face interaction became impossible, the internet landscape created by businesses became the way to showcase their care. Through transformations in their purchasing process, email campaigns, and providing information relative to each individual customer, successful businesses created a tailored digital experience for their consumers.
Expectations Change for Digital Experiences
As summer 2020 rolled around, many states eased COVID restrictions. In the coming month, cases began to spike again, causing more shutdowns. Rolling into the fall and winter, social distancing seemed to have no end in sight, leaving businesses to increase digital communications in hopes of increasing engagement. Customers felt bombarded with email blasts and targeted pop up ads since the pandemic began. 78% of respondents reported feeling overwhelmed by the frequent digital communications.
The best way for customers to feel welcomed to a new business is not by a clutter of digital messages. 44% say that an easy to use online or mobile purchase experience made them feel the best about their purchase. Generic ads and overcrowded inboxes are frustrating, inefficient and time consuming. A streamlined digital experience saves time on both ends, leading to better returns for customers and businesses.
Taking a Step Back
Many of the changes made in October 2020 are not relevant to Summer 2021. Businesses should take a step back and reallocate budget to target current and new customers. Down 15% from October, only 63% of respondents feel overwhelmed by digital brand communications. The reason? Restrictions are being lifted nationwide and people want less time spent in front of their screens. For the summertime, customers are doing all they can to make up for lost time spent with friends and family. Adjusting your digital marketing strategies is a valuable financial decision for businesses.
In addition, face to face consumer interactions are rising. 27% of respondents say an easy online purchasing experience shows a brand cares, down from 44% in October 2020. Instead, customers feel cared for when brands respond quickly to online inquiries (20%), take extra safety precautions (17%) and offer flexible return policies (15%).More people are making the effort to participate in the physical economy. Not all changes made during the pandemic are necessary for customer’s to feel like businesses care, but buying habits have changed. With change brings new demands for physical and online experiences.
Customer’s shopping habits and trust in businesses will define shopping in Summer 2021. Understand how to shift your business goals to meet customer needs in our latest B2C Report here.