How Has COVID-19 Affected Consumer Buying Habits?
Do you remember what it was like to shop pre-pandemic? Getting to touch all the merchandise at will, standing in crowded aisles, taking your own time to browse without tugging at your mask. These are all things that have become a distant memory.
It is fair to say that 2020 has been one of the most challenging years of our time and the months of lockdown has forced us to not only live differently but to buy differently.
The global pandemic has forced us to adapt to what seems to be a “new normal” and changed shopping as we know it.
While COVID-19 cases are still soaring across the globe, uncertainty still persists. Lockdown and social distancing are still very much a part of our everyday lives, which also means that eCommerce is soaring and industries are embracing the new digital future in order to adapt and survive. As a result of this, consumer buying habits have also changed.
If you haven’t already looked into the current trends, these are some of the ways that COVID-19 has impacted consumer buying habits.
Buying Essentials Only
Before COVID-19 and the economic decline, most consumers wouldn’t think twice about maxing out credit cards on luxuries like cosmetics and clothes. Since job and financial stability have become very uncertain during these times, consumer priorities have become more aware of their spending habits and are more focused on purchasing essential foods they need rather than the luxuries they want. Groceries and household supplies have become top of the list for most consumers in these difficult times.
Customer Loyalty Is Shifting
With so many people being laid off from their jobs due to the pandemic, customer loyalty has also shifted. This has a lot to do with the value for money consumers are getting. The rapid losses in jobs mean that consumers may not be able to stay loyal to a brand they love. Value for money, convenience, and availability are taking precedence over loyalty. This isn’t necessarily by choice, but consumers are re-evaluating their spending habits and becoming more aware of what or who their money goes to.
eCommerce Is thriving
Online shopping was already a growing consumer trend, however, the pandemic has highlighted just how important it is to access products and services digitally. eCommerce now accounts for around 16.1% of all sales in the US, which is a trend that is likely to stay even after retailers reopen their doors. In fact, some retailers have officially closed their doors for good as online shopping has presented consumers with many conveniences and cheaper alternatives.
Point Of Sale Consumer Financing
Point Of Sale financing (POS), also known as ‘buy now, pay later’ was already a popular trend before the pandemic hit.
According to research, customers prefer POS financing even if they can afford to pay full price upfront and this has become more prevalent in the past few months. Even though a shopper can afford to pay in full for the goods they want, with the financial uncertainty looming, financing the goods with buy now, pay later solutions gives shoppers more flexibility when it comes to their budgets, especially in the event of unexpected situations that may arise.
Should You Offer Point Of Sale Financing?
Consumer financing has opened the doors for more opportunities for merchants and consumers alike. By offering consumer finance from renowned partners like ChargeAfter, you are able to relieve financial burdens for the consumer and bring more traffic to your store. So, it’s a win-win situation.
Here are a few more reasons why consumer financing benefits your business:
Customer service – Pandemic or not, consumers prefer companies that provide excellent customer service. Consumers like to be heard, and if you can listen to them, they will likely stick with your brand for a long time.
Chance to upsell – When you provide customers with a financing option, you have the chance to offer more of your products without burning a hole in their pockets.
Immediate payments – One major benefit is that payments are made immediately once the application has been approved. Not only that, but your customer can apply for the loan without ever leaving your store and you don’t need to deal with the admin of collecting payments, allowing you more time to focus on your business.
While the pandemic may have brought on a whole lot of uncertainty, one thing is for certain, online shopping is here to stay. Understanding the shift in consumer habits is essential if you want your business to thrive. Consumers are much more aware of what they are buying. While the focus may initially be on essential goods at the moment, that doesn’t mean they are going to abandon other purchases completely. That’s why you need to be ready. Understand and meet their demands, offer POS Consumer financing, and give them more choice when it comes to their financial wellbeing.