Good News For Independent Jewelers: 94% Of Consumers Plan To Continue Supporting Local Business Post-Pandemic, Says Study
June 29, 2021 (0 comments)
San Mateo, CA—94% of consumers who switched to supporting local businesses during the pandemic plan to continue. These are findings from a new study conducted by Freshworks Inc., a customer experience software company. The research spotlights a revival of Main Street businesses amid those companies’ rapid adoption of digital tools. Image: Kodak Jewelers' location in the main shopping district of Hoboken, NJ.
The study of 10,500 global consumers, conducted in partnership with Dynata, found that 41% of consumers were inspired to support local businesses during the pandemic and, as stated, 94% plan to continue, revealing a major shift in the global economy.
Consumers participating in the study recognized the strides small and local businesses made in customer service and said their improvements outpaced large companies by 50%. One caution, however: consumer patience and empathy for all companies appears to be running thin as the pandemic winds down.
The research suggests that it will now be a business mandate for companies across all markets, sizes and industries to meet ever-rising customer expectations and deliver seamless delight through a range of in-person and digital channels.
“Main Street is poised for a breakout year as they lead the revitalized economy both in person and online,” said Girish Mathrubootham, founder and CEO of Freshworks. “We believe providing world-class digital engagement is no longer a nice-to-have but rather a business imperative to continue to delight customers no matter how they consume goods and services.”
Key findings include:
Local businesses made major inroads during the pandemic by raising the bar on the customer experience:
- Nearly half (48%) of global consumers said small businesses got better at customer service during the pandemic, by starting to offer online ordering (53%), delivery service (52%), and providing a better level of personalization (47%).
- One in three survey respondents called out innovations like improved websites (34%) and better digital supports like chatbots (33%).
- During the same period, less than a third (29%) of global consumers thought large businesses got better at customer service while most (71%) said large businesses stayed the same or got worse during the pandemic.
- Consumers plan to extend the local boom and say that post-pandemic they will prioritize spending on domestic and international travel (41%), eating at restaurants and bars (31%), and shopping for clothes and accessories at malls (30%).
- One in four consumers (25%) said they were extra kind during customer service exchanges during the pandemic. The number of U.S. consumers who said they were extra kind is on par with the overall findings (26%). But 27% of consumers said they’re sick of the COVID-19 as an excuse for bad customer service and more than half (54%) said they will feel this way once vaccinations are widespread and local lockdowns and regulations are lifted. (The study was conducted March 23-April 7.)
Post-pandemic customers are more demanding than ever:
- Nearly two thirds of the respondents said when they feel like customer service is wasting their time, they are less likely to be understanding or empathetic.
- Over 70% of those surveyed say companies that grew during the pandemic should be giving back, with discounts and sales, lower prices or giving back to the community.
- Almost one quarter of consumers support “cancel culture,” meaning customers or fans will stop supporting a company or person if they do something perceived as inappropriate or rude.
- Stacey Epstein, chief marketing officer of Freshworks, said, “Our research reveals that customers seek superior experiences from companies regardless of size and that local companies are gaining an edge with quicker, more personal service that has been supported by digital technology. In the post-pandemic economic boom, we believe companies that delight their customers across in-person and digital channels will seize the lead.”
- “Local companies using digital technologies out served their big-box counterparts during the pandemic," added R “Ray" Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research. "The bar has been raised for companies of all sizes who are expected to retain and expand upon these digital services to better meet the demands of their customer base.”
View the full report here.