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UK customers are engaging with brands again, as website traffic, email and chat interactions are higher now than ever

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Data analysis of activity by leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform HubSpot’s 100,000 global customers reveals that the ramped up marketing efforts as COVID-19 restrictions started easing are paying off, with Brits opening more of the marketing emails they’ve received than at any other point during the pandemic.

HubSpot’s Covid data report, which tracks activity on its platform used by over 100,000 businesses across the world, shows that 56% of all marketing emails sent in the UK were opened in March, the highest opening rate in regular retail times since the start of the pandemic.

After an expected dip in customer interactions over the Christmas 2020 period, HubSpot data shows that UK marketers have been cautiously ramping up their efforts to start 2021, with a 21% increase in the amount of marketing emails sent between December 2020 and March 2021.

This slow progress strategy is bearing fruits, coupled with lockdown restrictions that have forced consumers to do their shopping online: further data shows that website traffic in the UK is at its highest level since the start of the pandemic, with an increase of 40% between December 2020 and February 2021. At the same time, as companies aim to offer customers an on-demand, in-the-moment experience, live chat usage has been growing consistently over the past three months, going from 128% of the pre-Covid average in December 2020 to 168% in February 2021.

The  HubSpot’s data also shows that marketing emails open rates: open rates have consistently maintained growth since the COVID period started, but as March 2021 marked the start of lockdown restrictions easing in the UK, rates have seen an increase of 28% between December 2020 and March 2021.

Customers are also browsing again after the Christmas dip, as January saw website traffic hit an all-time high of 58% since the start of the pandemic.

Chat conversations with customers via chat have seen a slow and steady increase in the last 12 months, and the final numbers are telling: they went from -2% in February 2020 to 168% in February 2021.

As a result, proportion of deals created and closed has been growing steadily over the past 12 months, with the number of deals created growing from 0% in February 2020 to 39% in March 2021, its highest ever rate – while the number of deals closed grew from -6% in February 2020 to 34% in March 2021

Inken Kuhlmann-Rhinow – EMEA Marketing Director at HubSpot explains: “Our latest data gives hope to UK marketers, but also a number of important lessons on how to create effective customer experience strategies in the new world. While announcements on the loosening of lockdown measures in the UK have generated more interaction with marketing emails and websites, this may be a temporary halo effect. The simultaneous rise in customer support conversations indicates that there are longer term challenges to be addressed: now is the time for customer experience leaders to ensure they’ve properly invested in the tools and infrastructure needed to support the new normal. Some businesses have done this successfully while others are still working to come up with an effective plan. The good news is it seems like most companies understand they need to adapt their marketing strategies in some way if they want to continue to thrive in a post-COVID world.”

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