Friday, September 22, 2023

Support your customers in a financial crisis and reap the rewards of loyalty

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Consumers are battered by high inflation and the rising cost of living, and the changes they need to make in their buying habits are hitting businesses hard. Entrepreneurs, too, are feeling the pressure of rising operating costs as they try to find ways to help their customers through tough times and maintain their loyalty long after the cost of living is over.

Research by consumer intelligence firm QuMind found that 49% of UK customers would like to see price freezes on non-branded products, 46% would like more loyalty rewards to make items more affordable, and 41% would enjoy free delivery or collection services .

QuMind’s CEO Mark Ursell said: “Entrepreneurs must remain flexible in their response to changing consumer behavior. However, decisions should be based on real customer insights rather than gut feelings. Guesswork not only runs the risk of missing commercial opportunities, but can also put entrepreneurs in trouble by investing in new initiatives that don’t match the current needs of their customers.”

Pricing strategies that support

Some companies are committed to helping customers by not passing on price increases. When Rock Balboa launched his vitamin and nutrition business, Rock’s Discount Vitamins-N-More, 16 years ago, he promised to keep his prices lower than any competitor and to match price if anyone found a lower price. That strategy continues today, explains Richard Trevino, the company’s vice president for organizational development.

“With the economic disruption and volatility of recent years, the costs of materials and products have skyrocketed, driving many supplement companies out of business,” he says. “However, Rock has refused to pass those costs on to our customers because what we sell to them is essential. We have reassessed our financials based on our commitment to our employees and customers; we have not increased prices and have renegotiated with our suppliers to keep our costs as low as possible. We are weathering the storm.”

Retailer of luxury slippers Shaffay has lowered its prices, aware that the cost of living crisis will make customers struggle to heat their homes and will need slippers to keep their feet warm for months to come.

Founder Anna Elshafei says, “We know that sales of things like lipstick tend to soar during economic downturns as people want to be able to give themselves an affordable treat during tougher times. A new pair of Shaffay slippers is a treat. They are not cheap, but by lowering prices we make them an affordable luxury for more people.”

With the slipper season just getting started, there is yet to be a revival in sales for the new brand. However, Elshafei believes that supporting customers in difficult times is essential to maintain their future loyalty. She says, “We see our customers, our ‘Slipper Souls’, as our community, and if our customers know we support them, they will support us.”

Customers in control

Other companies have focused on easing the pressure of meeting bill payment deadlines for those struggling with a rising cost of living. Billing and Payment Company blue necklace has developed a digital payment solution using Request to Pay technology to give customers more options.

UK managing director Tim Annis says: “They can choose the date when payments are due again, so they can set up accounts on days that meet their financial needs, such as reconciling them to payday, or split payments into smaller, more manageable amounts, e.g. , weekly, and ask to be taken directly into the bill.”

This puts control in the hands of the customer, while delivering real-time insights to the billing company and removing the billing black hole. “It provides billing and payment certainty for both sides, transforming the customer experience,” says Annis.

In today’s climate, it’s more important than ever for companies to stay true to their purpose and meet customer expectations, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has revealed. It found that 57% of consumers don’t believe food and beverage companies when they say they’re doing their best not to raise food prices for items. Only 34% said they were happy when brands communicated openly about price increases, while 12% were concerned and concerned when they shared.

Understand consumer spending choices

James Delves, head of public relations and external engagement at the CIM, said: “Marketing departments need to build trust with consumers to ensure they are at the forefront when clients and prospects decide where to spend their limited budget and understand current trends. in their markets.

“They can do this by checking their customer base to understand how priorities have shifted, communicating directly with them to understand immediate and long-term needs, and authentically engaging with consumers through the channels they trust. Only then, with the bigger picture in mind, can companies expect to maintain brand loyalty and engagement.”


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