What motivates us as consumers? The process of getting us to spend money is not a difficult one to succeed in if a business makes smart decisions. But it is fluid. Spending habits change like the wind. This year for instance, a whopping 90% of customers want to know how businesses are providing assistance for their staff in the wake of the Covid pandemic. 65% of consumers will base their future purchases on how well a company responds to the crisis.
Awareness and values are increasingly coming to the forefront when looking at people’s relationships with the businesses they buy from. After all, if a business can’t look after its staff correctly, what is its service and aftercare going to look like to the customer?
The uphill surge in online shopping has meant that the importance of ‘moving with the times’ and constantly improving the service you offer should be at the forefront of business’ strategies. The importance between customers ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ has also changed attitudes as families continue to stretch their budgets even further.
Be agile, be flexible, be empathetic
Feefo’s Marketing Director Keith Povey says: “Customer experience (CX) has been at the forefront of this changing dynamic between brands and their customers, where brand loyalty has been tested more than ever before. The expectations have changed from what customers ‘want’ to what they absolutely ‘need’, and the acceleration in innovation has been driven by each company’s own need to keep trading and, ultimately, to stay in business.
“Businesses large and small have had to become more agile, more flexible and more empathetic, taking care of both their employees and their customers. 2020 has shown us more than ever how resilient we are, and how, in the face of adversity, businesses are highly adaptable. Yet, while there is light at the end of the tunnel, 2021 is still going to be a challenging year full of unknowns. The way in which we think, do business and work will continue to evolve, with even more digital transformation on the horizon.”
Forward-thinking businesses have an infinitely better chance of survival and growth. Asda for example has introduced autonomous cleaning robots to its stores to prevent human interaction and so prevent the spread of the disease. A cynical move? Cost cutting? Perhaps, but automation has been happening for years. It was inevitable.
Yes, values and understanding are the buzzwords for 2021. The bargains shipped from China took a huge hit during the pandemic and are only just bouncing back. It seems that more people are wanting locally produced goods. And while the job losses in the UK are desperately sad; a lot of families have benefitted from the isolation and now want to splash out on ‘quality’.
Brands the world over have shown signs of ’empathy and alignment with community culture by striving to be a part of the global solution’. Big brands like KFC and Pizza Hut were met with praise from the public after they set up relief funds for employees diagnosed with Covid-19. So even the fast-food chains, which historically have not been well known for their philanthropy, are on their best behaviour in terms of looking after their staff.
There are exceptions, with certain high-end high street retailers falling short of the staff wellbeing mark.
Actions not just promises
Yasmin Borain, CEO of advertisement agency Tribal Worldwide London says: “The value exchange is no longer only with brand and customer, but with brand, customer, and society — our world. This year alone has opened our eyes to how important it is for us to help brands be and do better both in how they behave and through the services or products they deliver.”
Brands will need to move away from promises and toward actions. This, studies have found, will motivate consumers to vote with their feet. Businesses also need to provide a seamless experience to reassure customers across all platforms while speaking to them in a language they understand and can trust.
The demand for human interaction versus artificial intelligence seems to be split down the middle, so it’s imperative that businesses look for ways to incorporate a healthy balance between the two in which to get us back spending. The business world predicts a steady rise in online spending over the coming years. On the flip side, more than 40% of consumers say they will stop transacting with a business after a security breach from cybercriminals. In 2021, customers say they will be turning to companies that assure them of their privacy and respect their data in ways never asked for before.
These consumer motivations are at the heart of this long road to normality in a post-pandemic world; it can’t come quick enough. Listening to and respecting your customers’ wishes will ensure your brand’s stability as the world returns to business as usual.