With the rollout of vaccines, relief from the pandemic is on the horizon but many customers indicate that they want to continue their current buying behavior post-pandemic. 

The pandemic has permanently changed customer expectations and offers retailers a unique opportunity to define customer experiences and build stronger customer relationships. Here are some ways to meet the expectations of customers post-pandemic.

Meet customers where they are

The convenience of being able to order goods online and have them arrive on the doorstep isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Now that far more consumers know just how easy it is to buy online and receive goods quickly, it’s up to retailers to ensure that buying online is super convenient for them. 

They expect to order via mobile apps. They want informative product descriptions and clear product images. The checkout process should be uncomplicated and they want convenient forms of payment. 

Meeting customers where they are doesn’t only mean offering them convenient shopping online. They also expect speed and security when they shop online. Cloudways offers fast WooCommerce hosting for businesses. Customers will benefit from the incredible speed and ironclad security. 

Go out of your way to demonstrate safety

Safety remains a primary concern for consumers. Customers expect businesses to think about their health and safety. They will be hesitant to do business with retailers who don’t provide this. Retailers need to be super-responsive to customer emails, calls and inquiries regarding safety. It may be necessary to extend live chat hours. 

The best marketing tactics will address their concerns even before customers voice them. Keeping them informed at all times and doing everything possible to give them peace of mind will enable retailers to build more rapport with consumers, offer them better online experiences and compete with other brands effectively post-pandemic. 

Offer value-unique services

During the pandemic, businesses accommodated customers as best as they could. They offered services like extended free trials or curbside pickup from physical locations. Businesses were stimulated to be more creative in the ways they addressed customer needs and they shouldn’t stop now. 

Doing the unexpected can surprise and delight customers. It can be something simple as long as it fits with a brand and makes the customer experience more memorable. This, in turn, can prompt customers to promote the brand and refer others. 

 Ensure better delivery

Customers want items shipped quickly and at little to no cost. Retailers may struggle to meet this demand. Some e-commerce platforms have responded with new package tracking, shipping, and local delivery features. Some offer free shipping for orders in excess of a specific dollar amount. 

Savvy retailers will have to keep working on their delivery strategies to offer faster, more affordable and reliable deliveries. They may need to integrate more advanced technologies to make this possible, such as machine learning and the Internet of Things.

Rethink returns

Retailers tended to think of returns as an irritant in the past but now that they can amount to at least 10% of their sales, they need to think about them strategically. 

Even though online shopping is becoming the norm, many customers still prefer to return items in-store. Some of them don’t even want to make purchases online because they have concerns about returning them. 

The retailers who succeed will be those who offer customers easy and convenient ways of returning purchases. Customers should be able to make returns in-store or via mail without any trouble. There is evidence that handling returns well builds customer loyalty. Fair, equitable and consistent return policies can help retailers to stand out. 

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.