TMCnet Feature
March 23, 2021

How COVID has shaped new consumer purchasing behavior

When the covid pandemic started sweeping across the European continent, many small businesses ran into problems. Not only did lockdowns pose a threat to their income, but they could also result in being put out of business. This is a threat that kept a lot of entrepreneurs awake at night. What if the stores will open again, will consumers come to visit? After months of purchasing online, do consumers finally see the benefit of online over offline? Creating a safe environment for consumers to shop is key.

Ensuring a safe shopping environment

When consumers start visiting stores again, business owners need to facilitate a safe environment. This starts with social distancing measures and overall hygiene. Clean stores are more important than ever. Lots of marketers see hygiene as the new ‘sustainability’ hype nowadays. This means that everything needs to be safe, including the payment process.

The payment process is key

Why is the payment process so important? Because it is the only physical touchpoint the consumer needs to visit when purchasing something from a store. Here, physical interaction is needed to deduct the amount from the consumer’s account. Luckily, there is an innovative card machine that can be leveraged. When you use a card machine that can support touchless payments, you are already one step in the right direction. A leader in innovative machines is SumUp, a company that creates devices that can be connected to smartphones and tablets. This makes it faster and more price-effective to conduct payments.

Another learning from the Chinese market that can be of help is the QR code payment. The shop owner can show a QR code that can be scanned by the consumer. Once scanned, the consumer will see a website with the amount and a link to the payment. The consumer can then use their preferred means of payment (e.g. debit card or PayPal (News - Alert)) and complete the transaction. This is even better as no psychical interaction takes place it is the most hygienic payment possible.

Entrance and exit of the store

Besides the card machine, flows throughout the store should also be closely monitored. The bottleneck in terms of safety is the entrance, as multiple people could want to enter. There are special tools that can be leveraged for this. For example, a visitor counter could halt people that want to enter the store. When there is a queue, it should be closely monitored as well. People should not be standing too close to each other when waiting outside.

The exit of the store is less of a problem, as long as the payment process is a natural flow of people. For example, with a two-minute interval between payments, you ensure that the exit does not get congested and visitors can roam around freely. When taking these measures at heart, small business owners can start receiving their customers again in a safe fashion. Happy shopping!

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