The pandemic has seen many businesses adapt, change their models and even take the leap into online to cater to their community. And while businesses adapted their path-to-purchase to stay open, consumers shifted the way they interact with businesses too.
Consumers have begun to look for ways that will allow them to practice shopping safely, whether through online and delivery, or options such as click-and-collect.
According to Australia Post, e-commerce sales are up 73% year-on-year as many people make purchases while in lockdown or while facing restrictions from their homes. Meanwhile, Facebook reports that in Australia, conversations related to contactless shopping increased by three times since February 2020.
As Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the busy Christmas buying period rapidly approaches, now is the time for businesses to work on ways to provide safer purchase options both in-store and online, easier communication methods and websites that are fully functional for the traffic associated with the holiday season (regardless of restrictions).
Here’s five key areas of your business to consider, ensuring you’re keeping abreast of changing COVID related consumer behaviour.
1. Can you, or do you, offer a click-and-collect service?
Just recently, Myer announced a partnership with Amazon to feature Amazon collection points in stores — a sneak peek into how bricks-and-mortar stores are clearly considering online in their business models and how it can aid into the future.
All of the major Aussie retailers offer click-and-collect services, and it’s becoming a core customer expectation, so now’s the time to incorporate it into your suite of offerings.
2. How are you marketing to your local community?
While people are looking for safer shopping options, consumers are searching for local businesses more than ever.
According to Facebook, from February to May 2020, clicks on searches for local businesses increased globally by 23%, which highlights that both distance and support for small business overall remains top of mind for many around the world.
3. How are you communicating with your customers?
According to the same global study, 40% of holiday shoppers surveyed by Facebook said they would be likely to make purchases this Christmas if a business can be messaged easily.
Moving to a more local focus for shopping also means strengthening connections with businesses online. Platforms such as Messenger, Zoom, Microsoft teams and telehealth provide contactless connection points with colleagues, patients, family and friends.
4. Can you offer online services to complement your existing business?
From online styling sessions, to music lessons from well-known musicians, contactless connections provide opportunities never seriously considered by both consumers and businesses before COVID-19.
Consumers have found ways to maintain their purchase requirements through safety, comfort, communication and connection with businesses. This makes it a very likely possibility that for businesses to maintain themselves post-COVID, including these into their business models should be seriously considered.
5. How robust is your website infrastructure?
Is the pathway way to purchase smooth and bug-free?
Does your site load quickly or is there a lag?
Are the images you use for your pictures, transferring across to social media correctly?
How competitive are your shipping costs? T
he last thing any business needs is a potential customer to become discouraged or frustrated. Shopping cart abandonment statistics are frighteningly high in Australia and back in 2018 it was estimated almost 60% of Australians ditched their cart due to high shipping costs.
We don’t know what’s to come with Christmas purchases this year. We don’t know whether visiting stores will be an option for some parts of the country.
But what we do know is the more we can use this time now to prepare ourselves to meet the shifts and demands of consumers that we have seen already, the more business owners are giving themselves the opportunity to shine bright come December.