Pre-Purchase customer experiences
The pre-purchase consideration stages have elongated as the consumer now factors in much more thought before the actual purchase. While groceries and non-prescriptive medicine category will have strong growth with customers already shopping for such products and increasing spends from pre-pandemic levels, apparels, accessories and furniture stores will experience a longer-term recovery with customers delaying purchases till after the pandemic. Customers are also wary of travelling long distances to shop at their preferred locations, with 67% customers not willing to travel more than 5kms for shopping. Retailers will need to optimize their store layout and adopt practices that reduce crowding and enable customers to shop quickly. Going shopping is no less than going on a mission during the pandemic with 68% customers preferring to wear protective gear and 60% customers making shopping lists to reduce time spent in store.
As a next step, retailers must focus on empathetic messaging addressing customer concerns to ensure a safe shopping experience with the use of portfolio rationalization for multi-category retailers in terms of expected demands for each category. With fear and safety concerns still looming large on the minds of shoppers, retailers will need to focus on making their customers aware of the safety and precautions associated with the product and its retail and device interactive and empathetic messaging with an emphasis on hygiene and convenience. Retailers can leverage emerging technologies to increase brand recall and consideration in the mind of shoppers.
In store experience
The traditional brick and mortar channel of retail has been under siege by online/omni channel platforms ever since mobile technology evolved. With the onset of COVID-19, there is an increasing thrust on retailers to readjust their business operations to account for increasing preference for online and contactless purchases and decreasing preference for visiting stores physically. Given that majority of the customers are neither willing to enter the store nor willing to spend more than 30 minutes inside the store, the entire in-store shopping experience that might have therapeutic for some is instead causing anxiety.