Over the last 3 years we’ve seen major shifts in consumer spending, loyalty and expectations. During the pandemic, consumers increased their spending and online purchases from grocery and apparel to furniture, housewares and other categories. Their disposable income increased thanks to many factors like working from home and less spending on travel and entertainment. However, now that we’re in the midst of a recession and high inflation with spending power on the decline, we’re experiencing a new consumer outlook.
According to a Forrester’s Survey from 2022, 64% of online adults in the US are anxious about the possibility of a recession. 81% of shoppers are adjusting their spending habits with discernment and caution, while 42% have not yet been impacted financially by the current economic climate.
In this uncertain climate, the businesses who exceed customer expectations will win their loyalty and become brand favourites. Here are 3 ways businesses can better serve their customers during the downmarket in 2023:
1. Make web experiences as close to in-person as possible
Customers have high expectations for brands they buy from, and as their wallets tighten so does their patience for brand errors, slow response times and poor communication.
The first step in building trust and maintaining customer attention is to improve your digital footprint. Audit your website, traffic sources and product detail pages to enhance their content, features and functionality. Think of your website as your storefront and focus on delivering a great online experience. Is your website welcoming? What is the first thing you want consumers to see and know about your business? Be clear on your messaging and value propositions, improve the quality and consistency of product imagery to drive conversions on product pages, incorporate reviews across your site to build trust, and ensure you have a clear return policy to ease customer concerns about their purchase.
Over 60% of consumers said they check the return details on a product before they make a purchase. A clear and convenient return policy and process puts your customers at ease, and lets them know there will be simple methods to send back the product if there is an issue.
2. Listen and action customer feedback
Over 55% of consumers say they’ve had unresolved customer complaints, and 80% of customers switched brands because of poor customer service. This highlights the opportunity to build one-to-one loyalty with customers through clear communication.
Improving a mediocre customer experience will increase trust and repeat purchase, in fact, customers are three times more likely to recommend a company to their friends if they received great customer service.
Provide opportunities for customers to give you feedback through surveys, email, social media, and phone lines, and make sure you are setup to action the feedback. It is critical to close the loop with your customers on their issues, don’t leave them hanging!
3. Improve your reverse logistics to deliver a great customer experience
Over 90% of shoppers said they would make a purchase from a retailer again if the return process was easy. Customers expect a return experience that is as simple and straightforward as the purchase itself. Providing a hassle-free, low-effort returns experience can be the difference between a churned customer and a loyal customer, and this is especially important during economic uncertainty when customer loyalty wanes.
As more retailers begin charging customers for return shipping, you can use this opportunity to win customers with the convenience and savings offered by a return management solution like ReturnBear. With label-free and package-free dropoff kiosks, ReturnBear makes the physical return process easy and convenient for you and your customers. The more your customers use the drop-off kiosks and reduce mail-in returns, the more savings you’ll realize - Palladium Boots saved ~70% on return shipping by using this method.
If you’re in the process of preparing your business for shifting customer expectations for the new year, reach out to our team at ReturnBear. There are no monthly SaaS fees, no minimum volumes, and you only pay for the number of items your customers return. Click here to book a demo.