Avionos, which designs and implements digital commerce and marketing solutions, released its new U.S shopping report, “New Habits Die Hard: How Trust Will Define Shopping in Summer 2021.” The report outlines what builds trust among consumers, and how both small businesses and national retailers can retain customer loyalty as spending increases this summer.

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To better understand how shopping habits have evolved throughout the pandemic, Avionos surveyed 750 U.S. consumers who had shopped at both a major retailer and a small, local business since March 2020. The data uncovered that more than three-quarters (77%) of shoppers have come to trust certain brands more due to their actions during the pandemic, and 99% of those say they will continue shopping with those brands after restrictions ease.

Additionally, while 63% of respondents are still overwhelmed by increased brand communications, that number is down 15% from last November during the middle of the pandemic and early holiday messaging barrage. From communications to easy transactions, consumers expect brands to deliver more than just a great online experience. Moving beyond streamlined online shopping and fast deliveries, retailers must focus on building trust within their consumer base through offering fair prices (48%), delivering correct, accurate orders (43%) and following COVID-19 procedures such as social distancing and regular sanitization (40%).

“After a year of caution, consumers are itching to spend more this summer. Given the new shopping reality is a combination of in-store and online purchases, the success of individual retailers will hinge on companies’ ability to maintain the trust they built with customers during the pandemic through reliable delivery, accurate online inventory and safe in-store procedures, in addition to offering great digital experiences,” said Scott Webb, CEO of Avionos. “The standard conveniences of fast delivery and cheap prices aren’t going to cut it anymore. Retailers must anticipate shoppers’ ever-changing needs and ensure their offerings meet these evolving demands to retain their market share, whether they’re a local business or a household name.”

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Key report findings include:

  • Brands have a big opportunity for sales lift in the second half of 2021. Nearly half (48%) of respondents say they’ll spend more on shopping in summer 2021 than they did in summer 2020, and 37% of consumers say they’ll spend more on big-ticket items like cars and vacations in summer 2021 than they did in summer 2020.
  • When it comes to building trust with customers, reliability is table stakes. 45% of consumers said the ability for brands to deliver what they expect when they expect it is their top consideration when trusting a brand, followed by fairness in prices and policies (21%) and reputation (11%).
  • Small, local businesses build trust better than national retailers — or do they? Consumers are more likely (62%) to trust small, local businesses than national retailers (36%) when it comes to trust-building offerings like fair prices and delivering orders on time.

“While both small, local businesses and large retailers are winning in different aspects of the customer experience, our report shows both must focus on aspects of reliability and trust or risk harming the loyalty they’ve built with customers during the pandemic,” said Dan Neiweem, co-founder and principal at Avionos. “That would be a great mistake when entering into a period where nearly 40% of consumers are ready to buy experiences like vacations and other big-ticket purchases. Retailers should capitalize on the shift in sentiment by innovating on opportunities to make shopping as reliable and frictionless as possible.”

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