LEHI, Utah, November 30, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Podium, a communication and payment platform for local businesses, today released its annual report State of local commerce report, highlighting the issues that preoccupy local businesses, especially how the relationship with consumers and local businesses has changed forever as a result of the pandemic. Research shows consumers are supporting their local businesses and supporting those that offer ease and convenience, such as texting and curbside pickup options, and give back to their communities.
“When the pandemic first hit, many of us went out of our way to support a local business and had to adapt to new ways of interacting with them, from curbside collection to SMS payments “, said Eric Réa, co-founder and CEO of Podium. “What this latest report shows is that local support is here to stay, and so are pandemic-friendly services. Consumers are deeply invested in supporting the businesses that keep their local communities thriving and they care. expect ways to do digitally compatible business with them. “
Research shows a forever changed consumer experience, where pandemic-friendly services are not only preferred, but expected.
More convenience = repeat business and referrals
Consumers seek convenience when supporting local businesses. Previously, a simple way of doing business, offering services such as texting, contactless payment options, and extensive pickup and delivery options are now required to be successful.
- “Ease of doing business” was cited as the top consumer preference:
- 54% of consumers say this is one of the top reasons they choose to work with a local business for the first time, right after the price
- 60% of consumers cite it as one of the top reasons they would renew their business with a local business, on par with price
- 57% of consumers say this is the reason they would recommend a business to friends and family
- 46% of consumers actively seek out businesses that offer alternatives to talking on the phone, such as text and chat
- 43% of consumers actively seek out businesses that minimize personal contact
Consumers have a deep connection to local businesses in their community
Data suggests consumers are supporting their local businesses, especially after the unprecedented and unpredictable challenges their favorite local businesses have faced. Doing business locally and supporting their local community continues to be an integral part of their daily lives.
- 9 in 10 consumers say they do their best to do business locally, and 7 in 10 consumers visit a local business once a week or more
- When asked how positively they perceive their local businesses, consumers gave an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars
- 3 in 4 consumers say they are more likely to spend money on a local business if the business shows support for community issues and / or charitable causes
- 68% of local businesses say their business actively supports local charities or causes
If they haven’t already, local businesses must prioritize their digital transformation
The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in local businesses. Pandemic-friendly services are here to stay, not only for consumers but also for employees of local businesses.
- 92% of local businesses say consumer expectations have changed since the start of the pandemic
- 2 in 5 consumers (40%) still want contactless transactions, 44% still want an increase in digital and mobile communications, and 3 in 5 (59%) still want expanded pickup and delivery options.
- Local businesses are also reporting that after word of mouth, their most effective marketing channels are all digital, moving beyond traditional channels like outdoor advertising and mail.
- Among local businesses with direct visibility to investments, nearly 75% say they have purchased technology in the past 12 months to help their teams work more efficiently.
Local businesses continue to feel the effects of the pandemic
In 2021, labor and inventory were the main issues for local businesses, compounded by a sharp increase in demand. Meanwhile, adapting to changing consumer preferences and COVID protocols continues to create uncertainty and unexpected challenges. In fact, the main business challenges for local businesses over the past year include:
- Staffing and hiring: 52%
- Supply chain and inventory: 48%
- Restrictions and protocols related to Covid: 45%
- Increased demand management: 26%
- Changing customer expectations: 23%
To access the full report, please visit https://www.podium.com/2022-state-of-local-business/.
Podium exists to help local businesses thrive, so they can focus on what matters most – their customers. Podium powers thousands of local businesses to help them facilitate millions of customer interactions and payment transactions. From customer-generated reviews to more transparent communications offerings and contactless payment tools, Podium is modernizing the way local businesses operate and grow their businesses. Podium is headquartered at Lehi, Utah, and was founded in 2014. For more information, visit www.podium.com.
This survey was conducted online by SurveyMonkey on behalf of Podium de September 10 to 28, 2021 among 1,304 consumers and 923 businesses surveyed in the United States, Canada and Australia.