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How COVID-19 has impacted consumer behavior and what brands should be doing to adapt

There has been a great amount of research historically on the universal nature of human needs, most notably by Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs and more recently in Positive Psychology. Universal human needs are always important, and should play a part in our approach, however the way these needs manifest differs depending on the particular context or circumstance.

The immediate effect of COVID-19 is particularly acute as the majority of the world adapts to social distancing and varying levels of lockdown. While there is an expectation that as the pandemic dissipates these restrictions will be eased, there will be a much more long term impact on our behavior, driven by the changes in our needs, particularly in relation to control, security and health.

Brands need to take note of these changes and adapt. Brands need to be brave. They will need to be more transparent than they have ever been before, providing more information to consumers than they may have previously been comfortable with. They will need to put the comfort and safety ahead of revenues. However, the pay off to those that do embrace these principles will be high – with greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.

We’ve created products that enable you to reduce the anxiety of your customers through the management of the density of visitors in your venues, monitoring how hygienic customers believe your venue is, as well as capturing feedback on if they would recommend your venue. Below we discuss these in more detail.

Control

We all have an inbuilt desire for achievement. A subset of this is the need to feel in control. COVID-19 has created a situation which is making many of us feel out of control and preventing us from doing the things we would normally do to satisfy our goals.

As we start to return to some semblance of normality, we will all be looking to reassert that control. Individuals are likely to be much more cautious about whether or not to enter a busy venue. Social distancing will still be top of mind and will lead to insecurity and in many cases this will trigger anxiety.

It will be important that venue owners are aware of this anxiety, are doing what they can to manage this need and are putting the control back into the hands of the customer. While previously it may have been anathema to provide information that might discourage customers, this level of information and candour will be appreciated, and businesses will see the benefit in greater satisfaction and loyalty.

Purple is providing our customers with the ability to both manage this, and deliver insight back to their visitors. Using our Smart Counter, venues can begin to track and monitor the number of people in their venue at any one time. Additionally, through providing information on the size of the venue, we can deliver a Density Score to understand if you are complying with social distancing guidelines. This reporting can be delivered internally through the Purple portal, or using our API you can deliver this information directly to your customers via your website or app.

Health

In a post COVID-19 world, there will be more emphasis than ever on hygiene, being clean and not passing on germs. People will need to feel secure about entering physical spaces whether that is an office, school, airport, hospital or city.

The health driver is front of mind right now, and a big part of that is feeling as an individual that things are getting better and improving. Right now people are willing to play their part and provide information and leave feedback, as they recognize it is of greater significance and helps everyone reach a greater goal; that there is a benefit to them and a benefit to society.

Purple can provide you with the tools to ask your visitors for a Hygiene Score, asking them to rate a venue based on how clean they found the experience. The survey could also ask people to rate specific areas of the venue, enabling you to gather feedback rapidly and adapt your space and processes accordingly. Initially this data can be passed directly back to you through the portal and Social Responsibility Dashboard.

In order to reassure customers that you are being proactive, as well as that you have the highest standards of hygiene, you could display your score to the public in real time through our API.

While some businesses may be reticent about making this type of information publicly available it will be the brands that embrace these principles, are transparent and treat customers like a fellow citizen rather than a target consumer that will continue to enjoy their loyalty and custom.

Trust

COVID-19 has had a marked effect on our trust. People don’t feel confident of their surroundings, the people around them, or the information available to them. Consumers are looking for new ways to establish trust.

More often than not, trust is built up through hearing what other people have to say, a trend we have seen for some time with reviews being the number one influence on consumer behavior. Now, more than ever, how consumers rate their experience will play a massive part in your success.

Purple provides businesses with the ability to ask their visitors if they would recommend their venue to friends and family, providing a Net Promoter Score (NPS). Tracking the NPS internally through our portal will be important in allowing you to understand how your customers are feeling about visiting you.

But again, the real strength will be through transparently putting this information in the hands of your customers. Showing them that you take their feelings seriously and are willing to act upon their feedback to make them more comfortable when visiting.

Social Responsibility Dashboard

Purple has created these tools, and the dashboard because we understand that we will see the impact of COVID-19 on customer attitudes and behavior for some time to come. The businesses that act responsibly, transparently and put their visitors safety at the centre of what they will do, will thrive in the coming months and years, and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to do this.

The Social Responsibility Dashboard is free to use.

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