Published: 17/09/2020 By Andrew BaileyWhen it comes to retail customer trends I think that sometimes there is no better indicator than by reviewing my own and my family’s behaviour. Often you find it is then mirrored by overall trends by other people.
So what have I learned from the last few months:
- Customer service is key: Larger firms have often failed to perform through lack of stock, poor customer service, cancelled orders with no notice. Smaller businesses have often excelled.
- I felt anxious at the start of the lockdown because of media coverage and perceived shortages of certain products. The local businesses helped me with this and supported the local communities. I would like to maintain the relationships that have been formed with these businesses.
- For certain products like branded goods we will tend to buy from larger firms because of the price. However, where possible I try and purchase anything else from local businesses.
- I am more inclined to shop local where the ease of shopping is there and even more so if there is an ecommerce platform of some form. For example, I have purchased food and drink from local wholesalers and shops where they acknowledge receipt of orders and turn around orders quickly and most importantly show they want to build a relationship with you.
- We use local businesses for many services and have started visiting more local shops to see what they provide and getting food from pubs and takeaways who are now set up better for this.
- Often we are guided by word of mouth recommendations of local businesses.
- When I visit a website for a local business if it is not easy to navigate and I cannot find a way of placing an order or I speak to a disinterested member of staff on the phone then I tend to lose interest quickly.
- I want to support the local community and local businesses more now than ever before.
- I am willing to pay more for the goods and services because of all the positive aspects of shopping more locally.
For many smaller businesses there is no quick fix but if my behaviour is reflected by others then with the combination of focussing on the following it will certainly help:
- Focus on customer service and making any customers feel important. These customers are then your fans and will go out there telling others and doing your marketing for you;
- Get testimonials and recommendations and then tell everyone about them;
- If you have a website getting people to test it, pick holes in it and make the customer experience better;
- If you have an “ecommerce” function whatever that may be – make it easy to use.