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Shopping Habits Amid COVID-19

Shifting Shopping Habits Amid COVID-19

COVID-19 is reshaping shopping habits—most likely forever. Consumer behavior has shifted drastically in the past month and is continuing to evolve. No one knows exactly what’s to come, but we do know that what’s happening now will impact the retail landscape long after the COVID-19 crisis is over. Here’s what we’re seeing today and how these changes will permanently alter the state of retail.

In-Store and Online Integration Is Crucial

People are still shopping in-store. In fact, according to a Shopkick study in Chain Store Age, 72% of consumers are still visiting supermarkets and 69% are shopping at big box stores. But this doesn’t mean that they’re shopping the same way. Rather than leisurely exploring their options in-store, people are getting in and out as quickly as possible.

Some aren’t entering the store at all, opting instead for curbside pickup or contactless delivery. In March, 29% of shoppers opted for curbside pickup and 18% for BOPIS services. Kroger is even testing out a pickup-only store to help limit contact. This means that online exploration needs to replace in-store discovery.

Technology Adoption Is Increasing

As we’re all avoiding human contact, it’s not surprising that we’d feel safer interacting with a computer screen than a person. Especially in areas where the virus is spreading, eCommerce is becoming a popular alternative to shopping in-store.

For those still shopping brick and mortar, safety and cost cutting are two major priorities that technology is assisting. To limit human interaction, 75% of shoppers are using self-checkout as an extra precaution. To save money, more people are taking advantage of shopping rewards and couponing apps, providing opportunities to discover new products.

Brand Loyalty Is Dwindling

According to a recent Shopkick study, 85% of Americans don’t care about brand names during this time. Many consumers are selecting brands based on what’s most affordable or just what’s available on the shelf or online. People are trying new brands out of necessity since their preferences aren’t always available.

This is a great opportunity for private label brands and for any brands with healthy supply chains. Consumers will likely change their brand preferences long-term coming out of this, making it crucial that shoppers adopt your brand now.

Adapt to Survive—and Thrive

These trends aren’t new. We were seeing them before COVID-19, but the pandemic is speeding up the rate of change for consumer behavior. Connecting your in-store and online experiences, offering technology to help shoppers, and strengthening your brand are all becoming increasingly important. Companies need to adapt now to see long-term success after this is all over.