As shoppers around the world begin shifting their pandemic perspectives, they’re rewriting what normal shopper behaviour looks like as vastly changed consumers and encountering a vastly different reality than the one that existed before COVID-19.
E-commerce outlets must continue to differentiate offerings to hone the habits that will persist in the digital shopping space. Meanwhile, physical outlets must re-assert their relevance and reputation among shoppers who’ve been met with out-of-stock items, store closures, and limited product assortment, leaving them jaded by their in-store pandemic experiences.
Add to the mix that most consumers have readjusted their household budgets this year, there are a plethora of new considerations to the future of omnichannel retailing.
Rewriting post-2020 shopping norms infographic – Download here
Understand e-commerce expansion
A recent global NielsenIQ survey found that 42% of respondents said they shop online because they were home to receive deliveries, while 45% saw value in the safety aspects of staying out of brick and mortar stores.
As some consumers find themselves reintegrating into the workplace and classroom, certain households may be spending less time at home. Retailers need to understand the specific reasons why people flocked to online stores and delivery solutions in 2020 and quickly determine which of these will continue to influence consumer behaviour.
The retail universe has changed considerably
While vaccine rollouts are allowing people to return to in-person shopping in a number of markets, shoppers are being faced with store closures, as stores have either gone out of business, temporarily closed, or shifted their operations completely online.
In fact, there was a 3% reduction in the total retail universe in the U.S. from 2019 to 2020, with grocery stores (-4%) and convenience stores (-2%) the harder hit from the realm of consumer goods retail. Physical locations that weathered the storm will need to adapt and realign to consumer needs to avoid losing a share of shoppers to online outlets.
Tailor product assortment to meet shifted consumer behaviour
These recent shifts have not only affected retailer offerings, but also consumer spending. A majority of consumers find themselves in different financial situations than before the onset of the pandemic.
Globally, 76% of respondents said they were consciously watching what they spend because of the impact of COVID-19, and more than half (51%) say they are in a worse financial situation. These conditions make it a crucial time for retailers to tailor product assortment offerings to meet these new restraints.
Adapting to meet shifted consumer needs in package sizes, value options and availability has never been as important, especially with seemingly unlimited options available online.
As global marketplaces adjust to a world of blended COVID-19 impacts, emerging trends point to one unifying element that seems to matter now more than ever: the shopper experience. Understanding the needs and shifting conditions of your consumer and addressing them with key aspects of the physical and digital customer experience is the only strategy forward.