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High Inflation: What Businesses Can Do to Win in the Future

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If you haven’t read our previous blog on how businesses can win consumer trust now during high inflation, click here.

Planning Now for the Future

A lot of our survey consisted of asking what businesses can do now to win consumer trust during high inflation, but we didn’t stop there. Many consumers, especially older generations, plan to postpone purchasing or hiring services until inflation cools off. With that in mind, we also asked what businesses can do to win consumer trust when they’re ready to purchase in the future.

The Generational Shift in Spending

Based on the results of our survey, spending habits between older and younger generations were distinctly varied for the current high inflation period. While 50% of Gen X and Baby Boomers were in favor of putting off spending and waiting for prices to come down, only 27% of Millennials and Gen Z would.

But no matter who you’re appealing to as a business, consumers are spending less overall right now. So what can you do now to stay top-of-mind when customers are ready to spend more in the future?

Staying Top of Mind

Keep in mind both groups of generations are looking for a great customer experience. The number one factor for Baby Boomers and Gen X choosing to do business with a company in the future is if the company provides extendable pricing terms and great service. That means excellent customer service even when they’re not deciding to buy or hire right now. This can include being available to answer the phone, having all your contact information up-to-date on your website, providing relevant information about your product or service, and being transparent about price raises.

As for Millennials and Gen Z, these two generations grew up using the internet and usually turn to it for almost all their research—including looking up their questions online with a quick Google search. The content they read is often from businesses providing tutorials, self-help, and DIY resources.

But where do they put their trust? Unlike Baby Boomers and most Gen X who are satisfied with word-of-mouth recommendations, Millennials and Gen Z go online to find new brands and use social proof, reviews, influencer marketing, and the company’s values and beliefs as determining factors. In fact, Gen Z and Millennials are 50% more likely than Gen X and Baby Boomers to hire a business in the future that shares the same values and beliefs.

How to Win in the Future

Business success and inflation are like oil and vinegar, they often don’t go together, but add some bread, and you have a masterpiece. So how do you get that bread for your business? In an inflation environment, it’s more than knowing what your customers want and providing it. It’s about being honest, transparent, and empathetic to your customers, as well as providing a great product or service.

Remember, consumers are more hesitant to spend their money during high inflation, so make sure you are going the extra mile. Even if potential customers aren’t choosing to spend now, providing great service and an excellent customer experience will help keep your company top-of-mind for when they’re ready to purchase from or hire you.

Every potential customer who isn’t buying or hiring now is a customer to win in the future. You need to find ways to stand out from your competitors using strategies such as reviews, testimonials, values, transparency, and our survey results.

So how can you put all that in your content? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Baby Boomers and Gen X

44% of Baby Boomers and Gen X said they would hire a business in the future that provided excellent service even though they could not afford it at the time. So what can you do to meet their needs?

One example is making sure your FAQ section on your website is easily located, updated often, and user-friendly. Don’t use jargon or specialized terms that only people in your field would understand. Try and provide answers to your most frequently asked questions so your information is relevant. Provide a Contact Us option for visitors who would rather speak to a team member on the phone.

A 53-year-old homeowner from California made plain some of their needs. “Good communication during the entire process, including following up. Promptness in getting back with a quote and detailed list of work to be done. Explain the process or work to be done in layman’s terms, so it can be easily understood.”

Millennials and Gen Z

Remember Millennials and Gen Z want to support businesses that are clear about their beliefs and values and provide helpful content. Gen Z and Millennials are 50% more likely than Gen X and Baby Boomers to hire a business in the future that provides instructional blogs and videos, such as DIY articles.

Patagonia has found a way to do both. Not only do they often post about conservation efforts–such as their latest blog about killer whale preservation–but they also provide a Do-It-Yourself repair guide on their website. There, customers can find clothing repair video tutorials, guarantee information, and even where to find repair services in their retail stores.

This resonates with one of our survey respondents, a 35-year-old from Michigan, who said that businesses should “offer more services and advice/information on the side, resources for people with low/no funds, ways to extend the life of their products, things of that nature.”

Overall, when consumers spend money, they want to make sure they’re spending with a business that cares about them, and that it's worth the money spent. Remind your customers that you’re all in this together and relay your values of a business and what you’re doing to put them first.

Meeting the Needs of All

You might be thinking that you need to choose one target demographic or the other to cater to, but both older and younger generations have quite a few needs in common, including strong customer service, transparency about price increases, and a preference to be kept in touch with.

As for generational differences? If your target audience is broad, there’s no reason you can’t address both older and younger customers with content meant specifically for each group.

For example, if you said out a monthly newsletter for your electrical company, include a section about your price increases or new payment plans along with a helpful how-to guide about how to check on simple issues without needing to contact an electrician.

The main thing to remember is you can meet the needs of both sets of consumers. As long as you know what they’re asking for. If you want to learn more about our research report findings and how it affects your small business, click here.

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