Consumer Trends Analysis: Pandemic Impact on Brand Loyalty
Exults offers insight on various recent reports detailing shifts in retail and eCommerce purchasing behavior.
The emergence of a global health crisis back in March affected just about every aspect of human life, and consumer behavior serves as no exception. Purchasing data now shows that concerns surrounding the health crisis, along with restrictions put in place because of it, forced consumers to rethink the way they buy goods and services.
A recent report from McKinsey declares that 75 percent of consumers have altered their shopping methods in some way since the pandemic arrived. With many storefronts ordered to close their doors during lockdowns, more and more consumers began to embrace eCommerce. Additionally, shortages of certain products saw an increase in consumers purchasing new brands
Furthermore, according to another report from Bazaarvoice, 39 percent of consumers worldwide bought products from new brands this year, and 88 percent of those first-time purchasers indicated they intend to continue buying these brands in the future. More than half of consumers in the U.S. (51 percent) resorted to purchasing brands they hadn’t previously known about, likely a result of more well-known brands selling out their stock due to higher demand.
Forbes also reports that consumer loyalty has decreased as a result of the pandemic, adding another challenge to the many obstacles retailers already face. Their conclusion comes from a study conducted by Wharton Baker Retailing Center and WisePlum that indicates consumers experiencing problems or delays when ordering goods were 35 percent less loyal than those able to purchase products without complications.
Luckily, there do seem to be several consumer trends brands can follow to maintain customer loyalty even during these trying times. For example, customers were more likely to remain loyal to a company if it was quick to resolve issues on the first attempt. Impressive customer service in the face of mistakes can restore broken trust among consumers, convincing them to purchase from a business even after experiencing difficulties.
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“While businesses figure out new ways to interface with customers, it’s important to keep a ‘human’ element in their approach to retain brand loyalty,” said Zach Hoffman, CEO of Exults Digital Marketing Agency. “That means providing clients with clear ways to get support and provide feedback. Companies must also demonstrate an understanding of the concerns and perspectives of their prospective customers and clients through their communications and marketing on platforms like social media and their website.”
Connecting with consumers emotionally is also a necessity post-lockdown, and one-way companies can successfully accomplish this is by placing their focus on health and safety. It appears that post-shutdown, consumers are more concerned than ever with health and safety protocols. If companies are increasing efforts to keep staff and customers safe, they’re likely to win the respect of those frequenting their stores.
Of course, even with safety measures in place, many consumers continue to prefer online shopping based on the 15 to 30 percent reported growth in online shopping and continued rise in the use of contactless services.
Hoffman added, “Adaptability is key for any business, but especially those reliant on eCommerce for their success. This year has proven how quickly and wildly the economy can change, so it will be important for companies to employ adjustable tactics such as digital marketing strategies to stay dynamic going forward.”
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