Which pandemic-friendly services should your business keep?
When COVID-19 first hit, the world of business changed almost overnight. Social distancing markers were taped to floors, plexiglass shields were put in place, curbside/delivery services were instituted, text-to-take-out became a restaurant necessity, and masks became a requirement.
As our pandemic status continues to shift, some pandemic adaptations may no longer be necessary where you live. However, research shows there are some pandemic-friendly services your business should definitely keep, regardless of the circumstances.
Curbside pickup quickly became a necessity for local business when COVID hit. And according to recent consumer research, it’s here to stay. Over 84% of consumers have used services like curbside pickup since COVID-19, and almost 57% of consumers say they purchased goods and services from a business for the first time as a direct result of the business offering services such as curbside pickup. In a recent survey, over 80% of consumers reported that they would like local businesses to continue to offer this service in the future.
Local food/grocery delivery
Local food and grocery delivery has also become an essential as 84.4% of consumers have used it, or services like it, since COVID-19. Grocery stores have experienced double digit increases in online ordering and delivery. Over 80% of consumers also reported that they would like local businesses to continue to offer local food and grocery delivery in the future.
From what we’ve seen, contactless payments is another key trend that you should continue to follow. While 61.3% of consumers still prefer a traditional payment option, over a third of consumers now prefer a mobile payment option; and this trend is surprisingly similar across all age groups. Over 84% of consumers have used services like contactless payments since COVID-19. And 53.5% of consumers say a local business’s failure to offer services such as this led them to seek out and engage with a competitor or discontinue patronage altogether.
As in-store shoppers trickled to a stop in the beginning stages of the pandemic, major retailers such as lululemon turned to video to offer a quality virtual shopping experience. Video is quickly becoming a primary medium for business as 85% of businesses across a wide variety of industries have implemented video as an essential part of their marketing strategy. A recent survey revealed that 85% of consumers expect local businesses to offer more convenient communication and services now than they did prior to COVID-19, and video is helping businesses meet this expectation. Additionally, Forbes predicts that this medium could be the future of retail.
Finally, texting has become a critical communication channel that you should continue to use. While only 35% of businesses believe customers’ preferred communication channel is text, our research shows that 41% of consumers report texting as their preferred way of communicating with businesses. About 65% of consumers think that texting makes working with a local business more convenient, and over 40% report they are “likely” or “very likely” to switch to a different business because they offer text messaging to communicate.
Some of your pandemic-friendly services are not just essential to a pandemic status. They are the foundations of the modern customer journey. And they are here to stay. To learn more, check out our ebook, 5 Ways to Stay Ahead of the Competition.