What do consumers want from stores in the COVID-19 Era Safety, convenience and a sense of community are the three main things that consumers want from stores in the COVID-19 Era.
COVID-19’s rapid spread has transformed the way consumers shop, how they buy things and what they expect from retailers. Many believe that these new shopping and spending habits will continue to be beneficial long after the crisis ends. These are just a few of the key findings from Capgemini Research Institute’s “The Consumer” and COVID-19 surveys that surveyed more than 11,000 consumers across the U.S. and U.K. Recently published survey results showed that consumers and retailers who emphasize safety, convenience, and a sense of purpose will be in the best position to succeed post-pandemic. It is unlikely that consumers will shop the same way they did before the COVID-19 crises. Let’s take a closer look at the survey results and their implications for retailers and consumer product (CPR) companies.
The Priorities of Consumers in Spending Have Changed
Consumers showed dramatic changes in their spending habits in all 11 countries we surveyed. Nearly one third of respondents said that they are spending more on groceries, personal care products, and entertainment at home. Over half of respondents said that they are cutting back on luxury spending and they expect these trends to continue for the next six to nine months.
CPR companies are able to respond quickly to changing consumer preferences. Many shoppers stock their kitchens to reduce trips to the grocery store. This requires close communication with suppliers and logistic partners in order to quickly get the most in-demand products to consumers and retailers. This approach requires great visibility into inventory in order to provide accurate information to shoppers and retailers about product availability.
Consumers expect better safety and health practices
According to consumers, they prefer shopping experiences that encourage social distancing and lessen the need for touch surfaces. Most survey respondents stated that they prefer to shop at retailers that have in-store safety measures, such as:
- Modified store layouts to encourage social distance
- Mobile-based self-checkout system;
- Contactless payments at point of sale
Consumers want to feel safer in-store. For example, half of respondents stated that they prefer to shop from businesses that offer contactless delivery.
The majority of consumers don’t anticipate that their safety preferences will change significantly in the next six to nine months. These new shopping options could become standard practices, which will change the consumer experience.
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Consumers expect to shop online more even after lockdowns are lifted
Consumers have seen a drastic drop in store visits since the outbreak. For example, 59% of respondents said that they had interacted with physical stores before the pandemic. This dropped to 24% at the time of the survey. Consumers don’t anticipate reverting to old spending habits once the outbreak has passed. Only 37% of respondents said that they would engage with physical retailers at a high-level within six to nine months.
Consumers want to shop with companies that have a sense of purpose
Survey respondents said that more than half want businesses to demonstrate a sense of purpose and a sense of community. 53 percent of those surveyed stated they expect to see this in the next six to nine months.
Many companies already promote their support of various causes and community involvement. The time is now to respond to the pandemic. Companies that have no production can switch to making essential medical supplies or equipment.
E-commerce, inventory management and fulfillment technology are key to satisfying consumer expectations in the immediate and future. Organizations can face significant challenges when trying to adopt new tools and methods in the face of disruptive events. Retailers, consumers brands, and customers can rise to the occasion.
Target last week said that it is in the process to acquire technology from Deliv. Deliv is a startup that focuses exclusively on last-mile batched delivery. Target will acquire the technology to allow it to explore new ways to expedite online orders and lower shipping costs , according to a blog post posted by Target on May 7. Target stated that the technology used to deliver digital orders will be available in Target’s stores. Target, which is not buying Deliv’s technology, will hire Deliv CEO Daphne Carmeli as well as several Deliv employees. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Deliv is closing down its operations. Deliv’s partnerships with companies like Walgreens, Macy’s, and Best Buy will cease.
Total Retail’s View: Target, this is a great move. Target announced the announcement as it seeks to increase its same-day delivery options in order to compete with Amazon.com or Walmart. Consumers expect speedy delivery today. Amazon offers same day delivery for up to 3,000,000 items. Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh also offer same-day delivery. Walmart also offers next-day delivery in certain markets. Target and its competitors want to speed up delivery during the coronavirus pandemic. However, Deliv’s technology will not be available immediately. This is Target’s second acquisition aimed at quick delivery. Target purchased Shipt, an online delivery service that delivers same-day, in December 2017. Target gained access to Shipt’s tech platform and network of over 20,000 personal shoppers through the deal. Shipt is now owned by Target but it continues to operate as an independent business. Shipt also handles a different aspect of logistics than Deliv, which offers technology to group deliveries in the final mile of shipping.
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