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Shoppers want social distancing options after pandemic

Results of a survey from Podium, a customer communication platform used by companies in the furniture industry, show that most Americans want services like curbside pickups, local delivery and contactless payments to remain once the pandemic is over.

“While previously just nice ways to do business, these options have become the only way for local businesses to operate,” said Eric Rea, co-founder and CEO at Podium. “There has been a steady movement towards digital transformation among local businesses in recent years, which was exponentially accelerated over the past few months.”

Rea said that now that consumers have become accustomed to the new forms of communications and services – there’s no going back.

When it comes to the top three factors in choosing a local business, several focus areas saw large changes.

  • Prioritizing businesses that offer pick up, curbside or contactless services jumped from 13% to 49%.
  • Consumers who appreciate well-communicated safety practices jumped from 14% to 44%.
  • The importance of the item’s price lowered from 78% to 50%.

The survey showed the largest amounts of change in women and shoppers over age 60.

For almost 57% of Americans, a local business’ pandemic-friendly services, including curbside pickup, local delivery and contactless payment, led them to purchase goods or services from a local business for the first time. And of this number, 92% said they were likely to return to this business after the pandemic.

Since the start of COVID-19, 41% of Americans are more interested in texting with a business than they were prior to COVID-19, and nearly half, or 45% of Americans, have received or exchanged text messages with a local business within the past week.

Americans would like local businesses to continue offering pandemic-friendly solutions after COVID-19 restrictions lift, with 80% preferring curbside pickup options and 78% preferring contactless payment options.

Podium and SurveyMonkey conducted this survey of 1,000 American adults on May 26-27. More results can be found here.

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