Consumers Increasingly Choose Brands Based on Safety Measures and How They Treat Their Employees During the Pandemic

Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. consumers stopped purchasing from a company during the pandemic because their COVID safety protocols didn’t meet their expectations

The pandemic has accelerated the degree to which U.S. consumers choose brands based on their health and safety standards and how well they treat their employees and customers, according to new research from Qualtrics (Nasdaq:XM).

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“We also discovered that our new food trucks were massively popular with customers and that they wanted to see them more often, which completely changed our strategy long term.”

Consumers expect brands to go above and beyond recommended safety standards. Thirty percent of consumers started purchasing from new brands over the past 18 months because they liked new safety measures that brands adopted, such as curbside pickup or delivery. Conversely, 22% of consumers have stopped shopping with a brand because they felt their health and safety measures were insufficient.

The results underscore a trend among U.S. consumers who expect more of the brands they are doing business with, and who will switch brands if they feel they don’t share their ethical and social values.

During the pandemic, J. Dawgs, a Utah gourmet hotdog restaurant, began selling do-it-yourself gourmet hot dog kits and launched a number of new food trucks to safely reach their customers outdoors. Many customers said this move increased the likelihood they’d continue to purchase from the restaurant and now they are making those changes permanent because of continued customer demand.

“We found that 72% of our customers who purchased DIY hotdog kits said they would not have purchased from the restaurant during the pandemic otherwise and were keen on seeing the kits continue, even after we reopened,” said J. Dawgs founder, Jayson Edwards. “We also discovered that our new food trucks were massively popular with customers and that they wanted to see them more often, which completely changed our strategy long term.”

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