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Understanding their individual emotional drivers is the key to creating a frictionless journey for each consumer and in the process, developing a base of loyal customers. | Source: Freepik
Understanding their individual emotional drivers is the key to creating a frictionless journey for each consumer and in the process, developing a base of loyal customers. | Source: Freepik

Understand the impatience of future consumers

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting impact on retail. ANASTASIA LLOYD-WALLS details the future habits of consumers.

From a retail perspective, the past 12 months have been more of a continuation of the consumer behaviours we witnessed develop during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One of the progressive things the pandemic did was accelerate the evolution of retail practices that was expected over the next 5-10 years, pandemic or no pandemic. 

This acceleration was driven by both the ‘lockdown’ restrictions implemented during the pandemic and the adoption of new technologies such as 5G.

An important example of this is the volume of data used by the average consumer. Niche activities have become part of our everyday lives! People are connecting to Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams every day to conduct business and to connect with loved ones.

Every part of a consumer’s life is now managed through the internet. Online shopping has increased as a result, and the rapid spread of ‘streaming services’ is further evidence of this.

The reality of the forced acceleration brought on by COVID is that people chose to be less social in person, but more present in a digital environment.

I’m sure you’d agree that the arrival of ‘constant availability’ via technology was not anticipated by retail businesses; however, it’s now a reality – for you, and your business.

Consumer expectations
"I’m sure you’d agree that the arrival of ‘constant availability’ via technology was not anticipated by retail businesses; however, it’s now a reality – for you, and your business."

From a consumer perspective, people expect ease of access and a quick purchasing experience.

Put another way, consumers want to have the service they want, when they want it, and how they want it!

Jewellery retailers are expected to meet these demands, which in certain circumstances, is a major hurdle.

It’s important to review your business with these expectations in mind. Are there any ways that you can reduce the time that consumers spend when shopping with you?

Time as a form of currency

This desire for ‘immediacy’ hasn’t been answered by all companies and industries.

It’s funny to think that you can purchase a necklace or chain from overseas in a matter of seconds, but when it comes to closing an account with an energy provider, you may be on the phone for an hour!

With that said, many businesses have pivoted. Many retailers offer a live chat service and shopping is largely automated with many businesses via self-service.

The businesses that have not adapted to these needs must understand that’s it’s no longer acceptable to leave a customer on hold for a significant amount of time – they will take their business elsewhere.

In order for your business to meet these needs, this may require an early investment of a into a technological overhaul of your operations. With that said, the investment is likely to be repaid by your loyal customers over the coming years, satisfied with the knowledge that you value their time.

Minimise any processes in your business that cause frustration for your customers by consuming more time than is necessary.

Conditioning consumers

As consumers have been conditioned to expected immediate results, live chats and immediate responses are one of the requirements modern consumers have.

Fast and efficient service is a function of successful businesses now. The added benefit for your business is that early communication is an opportunity to further personalise your services.

It’s a well-known fact that many younger consumers are happier to be tech connected and don’t enjoy making phone calls – a personalised digital message from your business is the solution to this dilemma. 

With that said, I would also encourage you to avoid profiling your customers based on age. The age of personalisation is upon us, and while many consumers share overlapping characteristic based on age, what they want is to be treated as an individual.

Understanding their individual emotional drivers is the key to creating a frictionless journey for each consumer and in the process, developing a base of loyal customers.

A further piece of advice: If you still maintain the traditional retail belief that you can find customers when you want them, then you are in trouble!

In today’s economy, you don’t find the customer, the customer finds you. They have more options than ever before – what matters most is that they choose your store.

Remind your staff of this fact frequently, as it should be in the back of their minds during every interaction.

More reading:
How do you treat your customers after they leave?
Quality customer service always beats out pricing
Three golden rules for investing in relationships with customers
Looking for – and finding – a business’ ‘lost customers’
Great customer experience: steps to woo your audience

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis

Anastasia Lloyd-Wallis is the head of consumer insights at Retail Doctor Group.
Learn more: retaildoctor.com.au

SAMS Group Australia
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