By SWNS Staff

w/ VIDEO + INFOGRAPHIC

What’s the first thing you want to do after the pandemic ends? A news survey found 68% of Americans can’t wait to return to their favorite small businesses.

The new poll asked 1,000 Americans to reflect on their time during the pandemic and found they’re itching to support their local businesses that had to close temporarily.

Just over half of respondents said they’re looking forward to reuniting with their family and friends by hanging out at their homes. The majority of those polled are planning to safely reunite in public, at bars and movie theaters.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of DaySmart , the survey found 56% of respondents said this past summer finally allowed them to feel like themselves for the first time in ages.

As they started to get back out there, the top things respondents looked forward to doing over the summer included dinners, concerts and weddings.

Nearly seven in 10 respondents said supporting as many small businesses as they could was a top priority for them during the pandemic.

The top small businesses that people plan to patronize are spas (70%), nail salons (66%) and bars (58%). 

The survey also polled 1,000 small businesses owners to see how they’re planning for this influx of support.

The pandemic blues hit hard among small business owners, with 55% admitting they forgot what they loved about their business until they were able to let people back in.

Many business owners plan to continue to implement pandemic era measures. Seventy-six percent said they will continue a shorter work week and 57% said they will maintain contactless delivery and curbside pickup.

Nearly eight in 10 business owners are seeing a boom in business as the world reopens and people begin to feel more comfortable leaving their homes. But 67% said they are struggling to find the space to accommodate all of their returning and new customers.

“After a year like 2020, it is important that consumers maintain their health but also their happiness,” said Pat Shanahan, CEO of DaySmart. “Seeing that engaging with their local communities, including small businesses, has boosted consumer happiness, it is promising for businesses owners as they continue to welcome customers back in-person.” 

After a year of online shopping and the loss of face-to-face communication, business owners are reporting that customers are requesting more options to customize products and services (40%) as well as better explanations of how their products and services work (33%).

Additionally, 17% of business owners polled said their customers are looking for them to improve their social media presence – and 46% of business owners said they are planning on improving social media pages.

But of those who use social media to communicate with customers, 86% do so through Pinterest, 83% use Snapchat and 75% use TikTok. 

Sixty-two percent of business owners said their main emphasis right now is creating more opportunities for customer feedback and 60% of business owners said they plan to provide communication in more languages.

“No one expects a complete reversal to pre-pandemic routines. Some aspects of life are permanently changed because people have found them to work better,” said Shanahan. “To keep up with these evolving best practices, small businesses will need to continue to prioritize customer feedback and stay attuned to the conversation around their needs. By doing so, they will attract more business from these newly enthusiastic consumers.”

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