WorldExecutivesDigest.com | 5 Essential Insights Into Post-COVID Shopping Behavior | There is no denying that COVID-19 has changed the way individuals think, while social distancing and stay-at-home mandates have forced consumers to spend differently.
Now, retailers need to shift their strategies, work with leading RFID companies, and prioritize keeping customers safe.
If you want to know what the current future of retail looks like, read on for five essential insights into post-COVID shopping behavior.
1. Consumers are prioritizing essentials and value for money.
Globally, consumers have reduced their spending in response to COVID-19 and the uncertainty surrounding the state of the economy. In particular, consumers have cut back on nonessentials and are showing no signs of immediately returning to the way things were pre-COVID.
However, while overall consumer spending has declined, spending in essential categories has increased, and momentum continues to grow. Categories of products such as groceries, household supplies, personal-care products, takeout and delivery, and snacks all fall under this category.
Some nonessential categories (such as apparel and footwear, skincare and makeup) are starting to show signs of growth after months of stagnation. However, other nonessential categories (such as jewelry and accessories) remain in decline even among high-income earners and millennials.
As consumers start to spend more, they are going to continue to prioritize essential items while also focusing on products and services that provide them with excellent value for money.
2. Digital sales are soaring.
During COVID-19, across all categories, consumer shopping online increased significantly. From groceries to personal care products, household supplies to apparel and makeup, digital sales are soaring for both essentials and discretionary categories.
While almost everyone has had no choice but to start shopping (somewhat) online, it is high-income earners and millennials who have shifted their shopping habits the most and who show no sign of slowing down in their online shopping post-COVID.
For businesses across the globe, this means that investing in an e-commerce strategy is crucial as it could become the company’s lifeline – particularly if COVID-19 remains unresolved. There are a variety of ways to boost (or start) your online presence from easy-to-use, cost-effective platforms to larger customized options.
No matter the size of your operations, it is highly recommended that retailers prepare themselves to go online.
3. Consumers are actively supporting local stores and brands.
There is no denying that COVID-19 has made all consumers more conscious about their purchases as financial insecurities become a more pressing concern. It has also allowed individuals to reflect on their consumption habits and to shift their spending to be both more mindful and cost-conscious.
In addition to considering what they are purchasing, consumers are also rethinking where and whom they are purchasing from.
In many cases, this has led consumers to prioritize supporting local stores and brands. More consumers are buying from neighbourhood stores and stocking up on locally sourced products. This stems from wanting to support local businesses, desiring authentic and artisanal products, and being more environmentally friendly.
Consumers don’t want their local stores to go out of business and see supporting them as crucial for helping to maintain their neighborhoods.
For this reason, many businesses are adapting to this shift in consumer behavior by prioritizing local marketing and partnering with local influencers. What is more, consumers often feel more comfortable in smaller, local retail shops where they can maintain social distancing and pay for things through no-contact methods.
4. Safety remains a concern when shopping in retail locations.
That being said, no matter where individuals are shopping, they continue to be concerned about safety and hygiene when out in public. In most locales, government regulations require retail locations to implement mask mandates and social distancing guidelines to help keep people safe.
Therefore, to help attract consumers to retail locations, it is essential to advertise COVID-19 safety measures to ensure that you are encouraging customers to enter a location. In addition to enforcing social distancing measures and mask-wearing, it is also advised that retailers take steps to monitor store occupancy rates.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by utilizing footfall software that enables you to keep track of the number of people who enter your location. By accumulating this data, retailers are better equipped to make strategic decisions that affect day-to-day operations. For example, you can monitor your marketing activities and set performance indicators. You can also make sure you are hiring staff in alignment with the number of customers you have at given times.
The best footfall software will provide retailers with the necessary business intelligence to make the right decisions regarding health and safety measures.
5. Customers are looking for quick checkout processes.
When consumers are opting to enter a retail location, it is important to them that they can experience a quick checkout process as they want to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. This means that retailers need to find ways to make the shopping experience more efficient for visitors and use tactics to increase faster buyer decision-making.
One of the most effective ways to expedite the checkout process is to accept various payment methods and offer various checkout options.
Currently, many retail locations are not accepting cash in an effort to reduce contact between employers and patrons. Instead, they are accepting card payments as well as virtual wallets and in-store fulfilment which are no-touch options.
For many years, mobile payment has been on the rise, and COVID-19 has only hastened that trend as more shoppers are recognizing the benefits of paying for goods with their phone. Another option is to provide a QR code that customers can scan on their phones to complete their transaction.
Finally, a buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS) model can be implemented in most retailers – no matter what products you are selling or how big your operation. This way, you can stay on top of your inventory and have customer purchases ready for them when they arrive in the store, thus providing them with a quick and easy checkout process.
What do you think are the most important insights into post-COVID shopping behavior? How have your shopping habits shifted? What other changes have you noticed in your industry?
Let us know your thoughts and any relevant insights in the comments below!
Vic Bageria is the Founder and CEO of Sávant Data System LLC, a retail solutions and services provider focused on empowering businesses with progressive technology solutions such as People Counting and In-Store Analytics to improve operational efficiency and profitability (such as provided by Xpandretail powered by Savant). Vic is an award-winning entrepreneur and visionary, with experience in building recurring revenue technology businesses, who has mastered the intersection of technology, consumer marketing, customer behavior and instore insights.