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Revenge Spending: How to Position Your Brand for Post-Pandemic Shopping

Happy woman shopper holds up shopping bags

It’s official: people are ready to make plans and start shopping again.

With vaccinations now more widely available in the US, many are feeling the safety and freedom to plan and spend again. This is great news for retailers, many of whom saw uncertain sales during the last year. Customers who reduced shopping in many categories are now revenge spending to make up for time in isolation.

What Is Revenge Spending?

After a grueling past year and three months, people are excited to bounce back from lost time and lost opportunities. Most didn’t have the summer they envisioned last year. With cancelled vacations, financial uncertainty from job loss or furlough, and fewer options for outings, many put off or limited their usual spending.

This year, many have seen an improvement in their finances. Feeling greater financial stability has meant they feel comfortable with, and look forward to, spending more heavily this summer. In addition, many customers have spent the last year browsing. With lots of time at home and online, customers know what they’re prioritizing for their next purchases.

What Customers Are Looking For

Customers coming out of the pandemic are focused on several priorities.

Customers Want to Invest in New Interests

Forced to be at home, many have developed new hobbies in the last year, with an increase in sales in puzzles, musical instruments, and bikes and skateboards. More took up gardening, cooking, and hiking as new activities. Many are likely to have found interests that they’ll stick with even with lifted pandemic restrictions. When it comes to spending post-COVID-19, they may be looking to put funds towards their new hobbies.

Customers Want to Take Advantage of Getting Out

Many people spent a lot more time indoors than they had planned last year. The pandemic saw many with cancelled flights, closed and limited destinations, and sporting and other events put on hold. Now that there are fewer restrictions keeping people indoors, they’re ready to get out. They’re likely to spend more on trips and outdoor equipment, and plan vacations that allow them to use their equipment.

Many had to adapt with gyms and fitness centers closed to find at-home workout solutions. Virtual workouts that people enjoyed might inspire them to invest in a stationary bike or other at-home equipment rather than renew their old gym membership.

Customers Want to Entertain Again

The opportunity to have people over is a great reason for people to spruce up their backyard spaces. Expect patio furniture, barbeques, and backyard games to make a resurgence as people look forward to hosting guests for summer get-togethers.

In addition, after 15 months at home, many people have spent a lot of time looking at their living spaces and finding them lacking. With the possibility of having guests over again, they may want to change up their living or dining area. Couches, coffee tables, and even changes such as a new paint color or artwork hung can help them feel ready to entertain.

How to Position Your Retail Business for Revenge Spending

Customers want to shop again. How do you make your business a place they want to spend?

Differentiate Your Brand/Product

With many options available, customers want to know which product will give them the best value. You can differentiate your retail business from your competitors to make it easier for customers to feel good about your product offering.

The most common differentiators are product and price. Many retailers focus on making visible differences to their product that distinguish them from others, such as adding unique personalization options. Others focus on creating competitive pricing. There are many options beyond these as well. Finding separate distribution channels can help you be visible to and discovered by different audiences. Offering distinct service or relationships can also make a difference in standing out from the competition.

Give Them Security

Customers may be ready to shop again, but they’re likely to be cautious in wanting to make sure their spending isn’t wasted. Extended product protection options, free returns, and manufacturer warranties help customers to feel secure. They know they can have the chance to see, handle, and use the product to make sure it is what they’re looking for. 

Warranty options also offer customers reassurance that your company stands by your products and expects them to last. New consumer survey research found that 47% of customers said that a brand offering product protection makes them want to choose that brand because it shows they want the product to last long term. Providing security for customers helps them know their purchase is intended to be a long-lasting investment rather than a purchase they’ll regret.

Provide an Excellent Customer Experience

In 2020, more than half of people (58%) report having contacted customer service within the last month alone. If you're getting ready for a jump in site traffic and sales with revenge spending, expect additional customer service inquiries. 

That customer service experience can be key to building a reputation and relationship with your customers. As your sales grow, prepare the resources to keep up with additional customer service demands. You want to provide a positive experience to customers with quick and helpful responses to pre- and post-purchase questions.

This year is looking brighter for both businesses and customers. To help shoppers find what they’re looking for in your retail business, focus on differentiation, safety, and customer experience. These aspects are key to gaining new customers who will keep coming back long after the pandemic is over.


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Janessa McQuivey

About the author

Janessa McQuivey is the Content Marketing Manager at Mulberry. Her degree in Human Development fueled a love of understanding customer experience. She has been in research and writing for 3 years and has covered everything from AI technology to her own dating life. Janessa has published across blogs, newspapers, and academic journals.

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