New research is finding Americans like social distance services like curbside pickup. And they want them to continue even after the pandemic is over.
The State of Local Business survey from Podium reports that 84% of respondents have used tech-enables services like contactless payments too. The vast majority (86%) expect they will continue.
Small Business Continues Pandemic Shopping Experience
Over half of the consumers polled said they stayed away from local businesses that don’t have these services. There’s a big shift local SMBs need to pay attention to among women and people over 60 too.
A full 55% of women appreciated pickup, curbside and contactless services. That’s a big difference from the 43% of men who responded in the same way. The numbers for people over 60 might be the biggest surprise. Only 3% considered these services before the pandemic. Once it hit that number grew to 41%.
Eric Rea, co-founder and CEO at Podium, says what was once an option has become the only way to sell goods and services during COVID 19.
“While previously just a nice way to do business, offering options like contactless payments, texting and curbside pickup have become the only way for local businesses to operate,” he said in a press release. “There has been steady movement towards digital transformation among local businesses in recent years. That accelerated over the past few months. Consumers have become accustomed to the new forms of communications and services. There’s no going back.”
Social distancing measures actually helped local businesses get new customers. The survey reports that 57% said services like contactless payments and curbside pickup were behind them making a purchase from local business for the first time.
The research also points to some other interesting trends small businesses need to pay attention to. Like the fact that since the pandemic, there’s a trend towards Americans texting with businesses. In fact 41% said the pandemic made them more interested in communicating this way.
Texting is the favored way to communicate, according to the research. Only 23% of respondents favored calling and emailing only ranked with 18%. Using a website chat was far third at 15 percent.
The breakdown of the social distancing services Americans like best is:
- A full 80% preferred curbside pickup. Even after pandemic restrictions are eased.
- Grocery delivery was popular was 79% of respondents.
- Contactless payment options was a close third with a 78% positive rating
The survey also highlighted a few red flags that small businesses need to watch for. Twenty nine percent had a bad curbside pickup experience. That shows businesses need to be organized.
In fact, 49% of the respondents who complained said the service was unorganized. A slightly lower number (42%) complained it was slow. Another group reported a lack of coordinating communication options.
The national online survey was conducted in May. One thousand Americans aged 18 and over were polled. Podium is a messaging platform designed for customers. It has headquarters in Lehi, Utah. It serves over 55,000 local businesses in Australia, Canada and the United States.
More in: Coronavirus Biz Advice, Small Business Statistics