Society, people and companies are being profoundly transformed. What will their relationship be like from now?
There are many changes that Covid-19 has already brought to our society, turning the lives of most people around the world upside down and predictably transforming the way we are and act, not only now but in the near future. People change, but so do companies and the way they relate to their consumers. Many of them remain closed and will have to start from scratch when they are allowed to, creating a new relationship of security and trust with their customers and reinventing the way they serve the public in order to gradually recover their turnover. Those that remain open are already being transformed: security and cleaning measures, capacity controls, reinforcement of online channels, etc. What is clear is that no one will be indifferent to the new normality, so it is important to understand or at least try to foresee, how the relationship between companies and their customers will be.
Undoubtedly, at first the greatest concern of users will be security, so companies (especially in the offline channel) will have to communicate confidence, clarify what their security, distance or cleanliness measures are, and achieve a purchasing process with the least possible physical contact, but without losing emotional contact. In order to achieve this, they will be able to use technology as an ally, offering contactless payment methods to avoid cash and using all kinds of innovations such as virtual fitting rooms to avoid trying on clothes in the retail sector.
Although there is less contact in the online channel, the consumer must be specified how their delivery will be or what process their package has followed to ensure that there is no risk. Fear is a very powerful feeling and, therefore, controlling every detail to mitigate it will be the difference between success or failure in this new environment.
Once we have passed the step of safety, the new consumer will pay special attention to the commitment of brands to society. In a period where help and solidarity have been and will continue to be fundamental, people will value even more than before the actions and behaviour that companies take towards society, their purpose and their values. It will no longer be enough to sell products or services, something else will have to be brought in. Those companies that already during the crisis have contributed value, either by protecting or improving the conditions of their workers, by modifying their production to collaborate or by donating all kinds of necessary elements, will have an advantage over the rest, at least at the beginning. This is why it is important to define what we are going to do and how we are going to communicate it, without waiting for the activity to return to normal.
On the other hand, we are all already aware that this health crisis will bring with it an economic crisis that will lower the consumer’s purchasing capacity. Thus, for those businesses with high purchase receipts or products with a high cost, it will be important to offer financing options that allow their customers to split payments to cover them over a longer period. For this purpose, there are payment gateways such as Sipay, which provides the necessary tools to offer this option, as well as the contactless payments mentioned above and numerous payment methods for both face-to-face and online purchases (and even by phone).
Finally, and as we have already mentioned, ecommerce has had a great positive impact in recent weeks, especially in sectors where this purchasing channel was barely present before, such as food. This shift towards online commerce will not disappear easily, but many of the habits created will remain and coexist with the physical commerce. Thus, shops should understand the opportunity presented by this channel, being a good time to implement it in those businesses that for the moment are only physical and to optimize it in those who already have online presence. The logistics for optimal distribution and the right partners to offer the safest payments will be essential to achieve this goal.
In short, if customer experience was already important before this crisis, now it is essential to maximize it throughout the purchase process, from consideration to payment, and in all channels. Omnicanality will gain a new dimension in this new scenario in which the consumer will flow between online and offline and will modify its purchasing habits following many factors such as business commitment, security or convenience. Although it may scare us at first, a rough sea always hides infinite opportunities. Now is the time to locate and exploit them.