It’s no surprise that consumer shopping habits are changing right now. And retailers should pay close attention. Speaking to Chain Store Age, Shopkick CEO David Fisch said: “It’s critical for retailers to know what’s most important to consumers right now, especially as things continue to change. Here are some buyer trends and how to adapt.
In grocery stores, consumers are stocking up, but this varies by geography.
Stockpiling essentials seems to give consumers a sense of security and preparedness. In cities with the strictest social distancing precautions, from business closures to curfews and shelter-in-place policies, shoppers are hoarding more than the average consumer.
Grocery stores should have the essentials, and the brand doesn’t matter.
It seems like a no-brainer, but what do consumers find essential? This appears to include perishable foods, water, toiletries, cleaning supplies, medical supplies, and pet supplies. And 85% of Americans say they don’t care about product branding right now; availability is key. So retailers can look beyond their usual brands to stock more essentials.
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Beauty retailers opt for online-only sales.
As more consumers stay at home, they are less likely to use cosmetics such as make-up. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a chance. Stores like Sephora offer free shipping and extended returns to encourage consumers to shop online. Speaking to CNBC, UBS analyst Michael Goldsmith said, “Beauty can be a category where you can get an immediate positive emotional response when you buy it.”
Thus, retailers wishing to encourage more online sales could emphasize a positive emotional response in their messaging to customers.
Customers turn to convenience stores to find out-of-stock groceries
While essentials are hard to come by right now, convenience stores can take advantage of this opportunity to stock more than usual, such as toilet paper and cleaning products. As demand for oil declines as more consumers stay home, it’s time for c-store retailers to expand their in-store selection and offer items that are running low in grocery stores.
Mobile commerce is on the rise as consumers look for contactless ways to shop and pay.
PYMNTS.com surveyed more than 2,000 US consumers to learn more about how they have changed their daily lives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to their survey:
“The share of consumers making purchases by mobile phone increased by 7.7 percent at the beginning of March, and even more among high-income consumers. This income group was 10.5% more likely to make purchases via mobile than before the pandemic, while 8.2% of low-income consumers did the same.
Now is the time to assess your technology capabilities and figure out how best to integrate mobile ordering and mobile payment capabilities. If you still offer in-store shopping, consider offering mobile scan and checkout, where customers can use their phone or handheld device to scan items while shopping and pay by phone when they’re done, so they don’t have to wait in line.
Retailers who can find ways to innovate quickly and provide added value to customers will be better equipped to mitigate some of the challenges of these unusual times.