How COVID-19 has changed the way consumers choose businesses online

product, consumers
Happy couple comparing online products buying on line with a laptop and credit card

Choosing a business online used to be simple. But since COVID and the restrictions and lockdowns that have applied in Australia, customer behaviour has become incredibly nuanced.

Choosing a business online used to be simple. Customers would perform a search, select a business near them with a high ranking, and go. Messaging platform Podium analysed their recent consumer behaviour surveys to identify five big changes in how Australians are finding small businesses online.

1. Consumers are placing more importance on local businesses’ online listings

Approximately 44 per cent of Australian consumers say they’re more likely to look at a local business’s Google listing before visiting it than they were prior to COVID-19.

2. Consumers aren’t just looking for five stars

68 per cent of Australian consumers report that they don’t trust a high review rating unless it’s backed by a high quantity of reviews, and 81 per cent of Australian consumers say that reviews must now be recent and relevant in order to care about them.

 3. Consumers are looking for businesses who can text

In wake of COVID, over 40 per cent of consumers say they’re “likely” or “very likely” to switch to a different business because they offer text messaging to communicate.

4. Consumers are looking for validation of pandemic-friendly services

Since COVID-19, almost 69 per cent of Australian consumers are reading reviews to validate the accuracy of local businesses’ safety practices.

5. Consumers are reading and relying on reviews more than ever before

Reviews now influence 84 per cent of Australian consumers in discovering a local business. Approximately 40 per cent of Australian consumers have read an online review in the last three days, and 62 per cent in the last week.

As you can tell from this list, COVID-19 has come with a number of changes and expectations—and with most Australian businesses facing uncertainty about current or coming restrictions, we need to stay ahead of them. If you continuously adapt to changes such as these, you’ll not only keep up, but also stay ahead of the curve. You’ll be well on your way to getting found and chosen online—every time. To read more groundbreaking stats on consumer behaviour, download Podium’s full 2021 Australian State of Reviews report here.