How businesses can help their customers to cope with the cost-of-living crisis

Inflation is likely to have taken a toll on your business; the Startups website notes that small businesses have recently been taking out higher loans to help meet costs.

However, a large section of your customer base is likely to be financially struggling as well. The UK’s Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast a 2.2% drop in real household disposable income for 2022/23, Retail Week reports.

The good news is that, by looking out for your customers during this tough period, you can incentivize them to stay loyal to you. Here are some steps you could take…

Take advantage of a loyalty points scheme 

Your company might already have some kind of loyalty scheme where, simply by buying goods from your business, customers are able to amass points that can be converted into money-off vouchers.

If you don’t actually have any such loyalty program, now would be a good time to create one. If you already have one, you could draw more attention to it in your marketing campaigns.

Accept a wider range of payment methods 

These days, a potentially bewildering range of payment options abounds. As well as such traditional measures as spending in physical cash or with a credit or debit card, there are ‘digital wallets’ like PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Don’t be afraid to start accepting more of these payment tools. Many of your customers could feel attached to particular ones and dislike being barred from using them at a store where these people would otherwise be happy to continue shopping.

Consider how your customers’ lifestyles might have changed 

Difficult times often lead people to reassess their priorities. Think about how, for example, online fitness classes took off during the COVID-enforced lockdowns due to the widespread closures of leisure centers and gyms.

Many of your customers might now long for certain products or services that you don’t currently offer or, at least, promote as much as you really should. Those customers might also be open with you about exactly what these in-demand products or services are…

Provide cost-cutting tips informed by your specialist expertise 

Whether industry you are working in, chances are that it has given you an in-depth insight into how people like your customers could save money.

For example, if you run a tech repair shop, you could advise your customers how to extend the lifespan of their laptops and smartphones. One reliable strategy for fostering loyalty from such a tech-savvy crowd is driving customer engagement with webinars on ‘how-to’ subjects.

Reach out to your customers on social media 

Naturally, you could use your brand’s social media channels to publicize content — like the above-mentioned webinars — on how to better contend with the increased cost of living.

However, your brand could also post humorous material on social media, such as by starting a poll or hashtag geared to make your customers laugh. This would send out the message to your customers that you are interested in engaging with them even when they aren’t strictly buying from you.