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New Scalefast Report Shows Communication, Customer Experience and eCommerce Operations Are Top of Mind for Consumers Post-COVID

Study reveals that nearly a quarter (24%) of consumers say their shopping habits have changed permanently due to COVID-19 pandemic

LOS ANGELES –June 12, 2020 – Scalefast, a Los Angeles based digital commerce solution that is changing the way modern brands do direct-to-consumer (DTC) eCommerce, released its “Rebuilding Retail” report, revealing that nearly 40 percent (38%) of consumers will be more conservative in their spending as it relates to shopping in the future once respective state and national business restrictions lift, with nearly one third (29%) saying they’ll spend less during the holidays specifically.

The study, conducted online with the third-party research firm YouGov, uncovered not only consumer sentiment towards retail in a post-COVID-era, but also the changing behaviors and expectations they have for their shopping experiences moving forward.

“Retail isn’t going back to normal following the COVID-19 crisis, but it can rebuild and be ready to respond to the changing expectations consumers have for their shopping experiences,” says Olivier Schott, founder and CMO of Scalefast. “Our research showed many consumers have already fundamentally changed their shopping habits, and our goal is to help brands and retailers better understand these changes so they can take the necessary steps to rebuild. Consumers are looking for clear communication, and their expectations for the basics – like shipping and loyalty – have changed. They aren’t looking for fancy new technology so much as the confidence that their concerns are being addressed, many of which necessitate a more robust eCommerce push than ever before.”

Easing Anxieties and Communicating Frequently

Even as state and national business restrictions lift, COVID-19 has uprooted the retail world, leaving customers with anxieties about what in-store and online experiences will look like moving forward. To remedy these anxieties and reestablish confidence with consumers, it’s important for retailers to have increased communications, as well as robust marketing and information processes for consumers.

Consumers say that compared to their pre-COVID shopping habits:

  • 29 percent agree that they will be anxious about not being able to find the items they need/want
  • 28 percent will be less likely to try out items in-store
  • 20 percent are worried their favorite brands will go out of business
  • 17 percent are expecting more insight into how retailers operate

Even further, one in six (17%) of consumers say they will only be purchasing from retailers with clear procedures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, both online and in-store for holiday shopping.

Responding to New Expectations and Consumer Behaviors

With nearly a quarter (24%) of consumers saying that their shopping habits will have changed permanently in some way, due to COVID-19, and only 36% percent saying that they’ll be comfortable returning to stores immediately (36% within 6 months and 20% in 6+ months), retailers need to rethink the customer experience and begin accounting for significant changes in how the customer is thinking about their purchases compared to pre-COVID-19. 

Consumers report that their expectations have changed since prior to COVID with:

  • 45 percent planning to be more patient of longer delivery windows (15% of consumers are also planning to start their holiday 2020 shopping earlier this year)
  • 41 percent expecting longer customer service wait times
  • 27 percent planning to be more conscious of shipping costs
  • 22 percent planning to be more conscious of product costs over their specific brand/product
  • 22 percent expecting more flexible return policies

Boosting eCommerce Operations

COVID-19 is also poised to be a catalyst for pushing consumer habits online – even more so than what we’ve already seen. When looking to the 2020 holiday season, nearly one third (28%) plan to make more online purchases than past years.

This online influx will also allow retailers to:   

  • Win over new customers and retain current customers with a wandering eye.
    • More than one in three (35%) consumers say since pre-COVID-19 their expectations have changed to be more flexible when it comes to brand specific or product availability.
  • Better compete with third-party sellers like Amazon or Wayfair.
    • 24 percent of consumers say in the future once their respective state and national restrictions lift, they’ll be more likely to purchase directly from a brand’s website. Additionally, 9 percent of consumers report they are more likely to purchase from a direct-to-consumer brand in the future under the same parameters.
  • Invest in the right technology.
    • Moving forward, due to COVID 19, consumers also report they’re more likely to order online and pick up curbside (35%), utilize a third-party delivery service (24%) and set-up/use contactless payment (22%). Retailers investing in technology should be focusing here, as opposed to chatbots, text-to-order and other technologies that seemed to be less sticky with the consumer moving forward post-COVID-19.

Research methodology

Scalefast commissioned YouGov Plc to poll the views of a representative sample of 1,354 US adults. Fieldwork was undertaken on May 21, 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+). Scalefast has vast global eCommerce knowledge and its enterprise platform is equipped with all the elements needed for leading brands looking to expand and scale their direct-to-consumer sales channel. Recently, Scalefast was recognized in the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies and won Red Herring’s 2019 Top 100 North America award.

About Scalefast

Scalefast is the modern way for brands to sell online, empowering them to regain the control and simplicity they need to create an exceptional shopping experience directly from their own digital storefront. Its full-stack enterprise solution brings together a cloud-based eCommerce platform and global business services in an ecosystem where brands can join forces to leverage volume and data.

As a partner to L’Oréal, Sega and FLIR, among others, Scalefast is a leading eCommerce platform in the U.S. and holds multiple awards for client success and results. Brands benefit from its modern approach to direct-to-consumer eCommerce combining an enterprise eCommerce cloud with a global footprint of logistics, payment and business partners, which allows them to rapidly deliver localized and personalized shopping experiences. For more information, visit www.scalefast.com.

Media Contact
Diffusion PR for Scalefast
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