Things look very different due to the economic and personal impact of coronavirus and lockdown. 
It’s still too soon to say what ‘normal’ will look like in the future, but here are some figures that might help you and your business respond. 

Changing loyalties 

We have all changed some of our habits recently including buying things online andtrying new brands when our usual choices weren’t available. 
Research says that more than four out of five of us will continue to choose the new brands we tried during lockdown. Customers say that product quality, easy purchasing and regular reliable deliveries were amongst the things that will keep them coming back. 
If you have seen an increase in online purchases or subscriptions from new customers since March, it’s hopeful that many of them will stay with you if you continue to meet their expectations and make sure they feel at home with your brand. 

Buying online 

While more than half of us in the UK bought something online last year according to 2019 data, 74% of people across all age groups now feel comfortable buying products online after their recent experiences. 
To make the most of the growth in ecommerce make sure your website is easy to find online and that your customers can buy from you easily. 
Over half of us have bought from an online marketplace like Amazon, so you might like to look at this option to sell your products as well. 

Returning to shopping in person 

Non-essential retail businesses reopened in June and restaurants and cafés started welcoming customers back in July, with the added incentive of Eat Out to Help Out in August. The good news is that footfall has been growing although there’s a long way to go for a full recovery. 
To keep people coming back, you’ll need to be ready with tempting new retail offers and appetising menus. 

Travel plans 

At the beginning of August, the World Travel and Tourism Council said that travel-related searches in the UK were down by 20%, year-on-year. Searches were at their lowest in May when they dropped by 30% compared to 2019, but in July the difference was a more hopeful 14% drop. This is a common pattern around the world although European travel interest seems to be steadier than most. 
If you’re providing travel and hospitality services, out-of-season autumn and winter offers could be attractive to customers who are ready to take a break. 

Buying locally 

More than half of adults recently surveyed said that they had visited their local convenience store between March and July. Half of those who went to their handy local shops during lockdown said they visited more frequently and bought more. Two thirds said that convenience stores had a positive impact on their local community and over half said that they will continue to shop locally. 
This all sounds hopeful for shops meeting local needs, so now is a good time to make sure people know what your community-based business has to offer. 
However, more than seven out of 10 now say they will do at least part of their grocery shopping online; that’s a 15% increase from last year. You will need to show your customers how you add value with your local offer of food and supplies. 

It’s not too soon to start your Christmas campaign 

More than a quarter of consumers in the UK are planning to start Christmas shopping and preparations early this year. Cost will be an important concern which is probably one of the reasons people are spreading their buying out over several more months. 
Over a third have already made some Christmas-related purchases and a quarter say they plan to have all their seasonal shopping completed before December. However, many will be spending the same or less than last year, so don’t miss out. 

Please get in touch to find out how Pulse magazine can help you tell your customers how you are responding to their new needs. 

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