The coronavirus has drastically affected how we go about our daily lives. The things we once took for granted, from eating out to traveling to watching the NBA, are no longer available to us. We have had no choice but to adapt, and so we did. As a result, our collectively changed behavior has accelerated some important retail trends.
This article will explain why it’s more important than ever before to digitize and future-proof your business. It will also talk about action points that Iterate.ai encouraged its members to investigate. Each point will make your business more resilient against external shocks such as the coronavirus.
It is a very dangerous assumption to believe that consumer behavior will go back to normal once the pandemic is under control. All of the action points listed below were already on their way to becoming the norm. The coronavirus has only accelerated their adoption because they have gone from being a convenience to being essential.
Inaction is the biggest threat here, particularly if your business is still managing okay during these economically troubling times. Businesses that aren’t so lucky will either disappear or will have no choice but to fully focus on servicing their customers digitally. This, in turn, will make them much more dangerous competitors over time.
Look at it as an opportunity. Use the extra pressure from the coronavirus as a way to convince the skeptics on your team, to allocate a bigger budget to new technologies, or to make any other change appropriate for your business and the consumer’s changed behavior.
Three of the action points listed below are absolutely essential to implement. The faster, the better. The fourth action point is an example of innovation that will make your business stand out from the rest. It’s also there to show that there are many different ways to show you, customers, that you care. You need to decide which innovations best represent your brand.
In a time where you’re no longer allowed to visit all but the essential shops, your digital frontier has become the lifeblood of your business. You need to not just optimize, but deeply consider you can improve the performance, conversion, and user experience of your websites and mobile apps. Your company’s revenue depends on it.
There are numerous case studies on why performance matters. For example, Google’s DoubleClick found out that 53% of mobile site visitors left a page if it took longer than three seconds to load. The BBC found out that they lost an additional 10% of users for every extra second their site took to load.
One of the best ways to optimize your digital experience is through rapid experimentation. Create a framework where your employees can continuously run A/B tests. Consumers have come to expect nothing less than a fast, easy, and smooth experience visiting your websites.
Scientists discovered that the coronavirus can survive for up to 24 hours on cardboard and several days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces. Consumers are reluctant to touch surfaces that many other people touch. This means that you should make your point of sale (POS) and point of purchase (POP) as touchless as possible.
This can be done in many different ways, but one of them is to accept contactless payment in all your stores. Consumers should be able to hover their phone or smartwatch over your payment device to pay. Additionally, you should expect far fewer consumers to use cash for payment, as the idea that cash is dirty (and it is) is fairly accepted at this point.
Curbside pickups allow consumers to pick up store purchases without ever stepping out of their car. There are a few reasons why consumers like curbside pickups over regular deliveries. Firstly, they’re safer. There’s no delivery driver from a different company handling your consumer’s goods. The fewer touchpoints, the better.
Secondly, because there’s no delivery driver involved, curbside pickups are cheaper for both you and the consumer. There’s no delivery cost. Thirdly, they present an opportunity for the consumer to interact with your brand, which you don’t have with deliveries.
All the above points come together under the BOPIS trend. Buy online, pick up in the store. If you provide a good digital experience, let the customer pay without touching anything, and allow for curbside pickups, you’re well on your way to creating a good customer experience post-corona.
Door handles are objects that are often touched. In the spirit of “everything touchless” you should consider gesture-based door openers. Doors in shopping malls and large supermarkets already open automatically whenever someone approaches, but that’s not appropriate in all scenarios. Think of meeting room doors, hospital room doors, or restroom doors.
The technology to open, close, lock, and unlock doors using simple gestures is already here. A 2014 study discovered that people found the technology intuitive to use and strongly preferred it over touching doors. It’s an example of innovation that can make you stand out from your competitors and show your customers that you care for their health.
The coronavirus has changed consumer behavior in important ways. Do not assume that people will revert to their old behavior once we’ve beaten the virus. Instead, use the extra leverage of the coronavirus to push for the changes that will move you ahead of your competition.
Want more action points like the ones above? Iterate sent a whole list to its members. Contact us today for more information.
Stay ahead of trends with insights from iterate.ai experts and advisors