Why the ‘COVID grace period’ is over and will never return

Amid endless supply chain issues, still booming e-commerce in the wake of the pandemic, and another looming variant of COVID-19, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and retailers have experienced a chaotic 2021. It’s a trend that will continue into 2022, but we can’t expect consumers to give retailers a “grace period.” Nearly two years after the coronavirus outbreak, retailers are once again expected to have understood the key issues causing shipping delays and are able to deliver an unparalleled customer experience, even in the face of uncertainty. Here are some of my predictions for how consumer confidence, e-commerce platform strategy, and the gig economy will evolve in 2022:

Consumer confidence needs a paradigm shift

The pandemic has brought about long-term changes in business operations and consumer expectations, and we will likely never return to the old “normal”. Amidst these changes, we will see a paradigm shift in 2022 related to the foundation and establishment of consumer trust that embraces new ways of doing business. For example, retailers will need to adopt an increasingly digital style of communication, transactions and more. This should also include a focus on transparency, over-communication, and the ability to be nimble to deliver the best customer experience.

For SMEs, an important lesson learned during the pandemic is that they are often unable to do everything themselves. Embracing a “partnership imperative” will become essential for SMEs to meet the ever-increasing needs of customer expectations, thereby building customer trust and brand reputation.

SMBs will need to evaluate their platform approaches to gain on customer experience

Marketplaces and platforms have been essential for SMEs to keep up with the acceleration of e-commerce and online shopping. As more of both have entered the market, it can be difficult for SMBs to choose the best solution, allowing them to maintain brand autonomy and build loyalty. their Mark.

In 2022, SMBs will need to think hard about how platform partnerships reflect their brand and enable higher levels of connectivity to enhance the customer experience. It will be important to prioritize platforms that prioritize digital innovation, allow companies to maintain a direct connection and communication with customers, and enable integrated integrations with existing technology stacks without separating them from their customers.

Gig Economy will open a market opportunity for SMBs

The gig economy holds incredible potential for SMBs as they navigate challenges to keep up with big-box retailers and customers’ same-day delivery expectations. As SMEs consider gig economy partnerships in 2022, it is important to carefully evaluate partners as they will become an extension of your brand and a creator of perceived value – representing your business at the customer’s doorstep.

As retailers and SMBs look to 2022 and beyond, they need to deploy an omnichannel experience that will build customer loyalty and recoup lost revenue over the past two years. Consumer shopping experiences should be seamless from start to finish, which includes future-proofing activities to prepare for all potential crises and areas of uncertainty. Consumers are now more than willing to entrust their money to a competitor if they feel a poor customer experience. It is therefore time for SMEs to get to work to improve theirs.

As Vice President of Global Marketing and Business Intelligence, Kiel Harkness connects UPS Capital’s set of digital insurance solutions with small businesses in the United States, Europe and Asia to create results positive for customers.

About Geraldine Higgins

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