What RTO Consumers Want from Local Businesses During the Pandemic

July 28, 2020 – Savvy rent-to-own dealers already know the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the retail landscape. But determining what customers are now seeking in their shopping experiences can be challenging.

A recent study of 1000 U.S. adult consumers conducted in May for Podium by Survey Monkey provides some actionable intelligence about what they want today and what they expect in the future.  This research identified several insights about these potential customers’ preferences:

The first is that the availability of curbside and contactless services in local businesses is more important than before.  Only price is a more significant driver of how customers choose which businesses to interact with and purchase from – and price only beat curbside and contactless services by less than 1% among these respondents.

The second insight is that consumers are increasingly interested in texting with local businesses, rather than contacting them by telephone or email. Nearly half of respondents reported they are now more interested in texting than they were before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Texting with a local business increased significantly for these survey takers, with more than 60% texting within the past month and nearly 12% texting within the past 24 hours of completing the survey. All age groups – and not just young people born in the 21st century – prefer texting with local businesses over other kinds of communication, including customers 60 and older.

Finally, consumers who have used the new services prompted by the COVID epidemic – including curbside pickup, local delivery and contactless payments – overwhelmingly want those services to continue after the virus is no longer a public health concern.