Understanding your customer is key for any business. In our today’s fast moving world, their habits, concerns and motivations can move quickly, which can make a big difference to your bottom line. Now more than ever it’s important to adapt. To give you a helping hand, here’s some of the key consumer trends that can affect your business.
Focus on data security
Across all demographics there is a growing awareness around the importance of cyber security. It’s not surprising either, considering research shows that a UK business is attacked every 2.5 minutes.
Everyone knows that data breaches can be damaging for your brand. However, on the flip side, showing you take data security seriously can be reassuring for your customers. Consider investing in cybersecurity training for you and your staff as well data security systems. Not only will these help prevent data breaches, they’ll also be a useful advertising tool to win more customers.
Implement sustainable practices
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of sustainability. They are looking to invest in a product that has been created or implemented in a sustainable way. By taking a sustainable approach yourself, you can attract more customers and drive down costs. Companies who demonstrated business leadership on climate change made more profits than companies who did not. Could you switch to paperless billing? Do you use sustainably sourced suppliers? How can you adjust to reduce your energy bill? Think about what changes you can make, then let the world know what you’re doing. It’ll help you with customers and be good for the environment.
Use mobile payments
Paying for at the till with your mobile was the stuff of sci-fi not so long ago. Now consumers are increasingly paying for goods and services with their smartphones and you need to allow for them to. The usage of mobile payments is growing rapidly, from a quarter of the online population in 2016 to more than a third at the end of 2018. Don’t lose out on sales, let customers pay how they want to and capture every penny possible.
Communicating with your customers has always been important for small businesses. However, the goal posts have shifted when it comes to customer expectations. With businesses investing in social media teams and automated chat bots, many now expect a near-instant response.
Particularly on social media, as it’s public interaction, you can make big gains by handling questions quickly. Leave things unanswered, however, and the negative comments can poor on even quicker. Consider giving someone responsibility in your team to check social media a few times a day and respond to any comments.
Alternatively, if customer service plays a bigger role in your business, you could invest in a dedicated platform. Many have chat bots or automated replies as standard, and having pricing plans for businesses of all sizes.
Would you be a product or service if there were countless terrible reviews? You’ve never met Jane in Swindon or Mike from Durham, but it turns out we all care what they think. Customers now read reviews as a key part of their decision making process. 88% of people have said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Word of mouth is no longer good enough, you need some digital reviews to help attract new customers. Start actively encouraging customers to leave reviews on TrustPilot, Google, or your own website. Typically the best time to ask is just after they’ve bought something, when they’re most engaged (and hopefully happy!) with you.