The New Era of Shopping
Forbes | September 8, 2020
The consumer landscape changed more than how we shop and what we buy. These new patterns will live beyond the pandemic, altering the retail category permanently.
The Retail Pivot - Staying at home.
Fashion: The ubiquitous “Zoom Shirt” and a pair of joggers is all you need for work
Grocery: 3 meals a day at home means your grocery list has changed
Home furnishings: Those lucky enough to work from home need office furniture, school space and supplies that you relied on the office for
NPD tracks the shift in purchases. “Things like swing sets, trampolines … Things like bread makers, you have frothers that make fancy coffee … inflatable pools. 51% increase in sales of outdoor and sports toys compared to this time last year. Pool sales were up 161%, fitness equipment up 130% and adult bikes were up 121%.” And as people think about cooler months ahead, watch lots of patio heaters and fire pits get sold in the next few months.
Technology Saves Shopping - BOPIS, Curbside pickup and Automation.
Tech was already an essential tool for any smart retail strategy, particularly when it comes to big brands. But as stay-at-home orders changed everything about shopping, a multitude of innovative tech solutions are going to save retail and change the very idea of a “store”—big or small.
Frictionless journeys, personalization, and omnichannel consistency are already expectations but the bar is being raised. Customers will be looking for real-time inventory in their phones, predictive analytics based on passed interactions and current needs, and multimedia content to draw them into the store.
Greener Habits - Thrifting and Sustainable Choices.
The resale market–the rental, peer to peer, and thrift market—now expected to reach $64B by 2025, with growth driven by Millennials and Gen Z. ThredUp believes that consumers, “motivated by pinched finances and a concern for the planet, the crisis accelerated what was already going to be true.”
Concerns about healthy eating, the need to boost immunity, fears about product availability have all drastically changed people’s food choices. Nielsen reported that “In the 13 weeks ending May 30, sales of fresh meat alternatives are up almost 240% compared to last year.” Growth in plant-based milks continues, as does preparing meals at home, reducing food waste, backyard gardens and raising chickens.
The longer the pandemic plays out and the more time spent at home, the more likely it will be to build permanent changes.