Do Americans want retailers to keep their social distance after COVID-19 is gone?
The novel coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the lives of Americans in all 50 states and U.S. territories. It has forced people to develop new habits, including how they shop for and buy goods. As it turns out, Americans like many of those changes and would like to continue taking advantage of them after COVID-19 seems like a collective bad dream that they once had.
New research from Podium, a customer messaging platform firm, shows that consumers are looking to continue buying online and either picking up orders curbside or having them delivered to their homes. Contactless payments and text reminders are also high on their continuing wish lists. The research found that 84 percent of consumers made use of these types of services during the pandemic and 86 percent plan on continuing doing so once it has passed.
“There has been steady movement towards digital transformation among local businesses in recent years, which was exponentially accelerated over the past few months,” said Eric Rea, co-founder and CEO at Podium. “Consumers have become accustomed to the new forms of communications and services, and there’s no going back.”
The percentage of customers who prioritized shopping at businesses that offered curbside pickup and other contactless services rose from 13 percent before the outbreak to 49 percent at present. The biggest jump took place among those 60 and older, with three percent finding it important before and 41 percent listing it as a priority now.
Fifty-seven percent of Americans report that services such as curbside pickup, food and grocery delivery and contactless payments led them to purchase from a local business for the first time.
Forty-three percent said local businesses that failed to offer these types of services lost sales as a result.
Eighty percent of consumers would like local businesses to continue offering curbside pickup when health safety restrictions are finally listed. Seventy-nine percent want to be able to get their orders delivered and 78 percent would like to continue using contactless payments.
While many have been pleased by the convenience and perceived safety of curbside pickup, not everyone’s experience was uniformly pleasant. Leading the list of gripes, 29 percent report having experienced unorganized service (49 percent), slow service (42 percent) or a lack of convenient communication options to coordinate easy pickup (38 percent). Two-thirds of people having a bad experience are less likely to want to test whether they will go through a repeat by purchasing from that business again.
- Report: Consumers Want Social-Distancing Services From Local Businesses Even After the Pandemic – Podium/PRNewswire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think the impact of curbside pickup, home delivery, contactless payments and text communications has had on relationships between consumers and retailers during the pandemic? What do you see as the potential for these and other social distancing services to have on consumer/retailer relationships in the years ahead?