How has Covid affected retail sales? How much traffic have offline stores lost during the last 2 years? Did this traffic convert to e-commerce? To know answers, keep reading:
Did you know E-commerce has an 18% share of total global retail sales (source: csnews)?
Consumer preferences are always considered a top priority in the retail business, and adaptation to these changing consumer preferences to stay relevant is common knowledge.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated the retail industrys’ call to transform digitally. Well-known retailers such as Walmart, Target, etc. thrived as they already had the technology and processes to act accordingly while others found their businesses upended overnight.
Some businesses closed down their doors, while others quickly updated their strategies to continue engaging with their customers by creating or building assisted shopping channels including BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick up in-store), zero-touch checkouts, etc. most retailers did the combination of the aforementioned. Meanwhile, virtually, all retailers rushed to make updates to existing websites and interfaces customer friendly to reflect the new reality.
Changes are here to Stay
This digital and zero-interaction transformation is here to stay. But depending upon the nature of the business, service, or product, some of these changes will stick long enough while others won’t. However, what will stay is a renewed focus on community building in retail; understanding, and catering to customer touch points.
It is important for organizations to integrate new online experiences and digital touchpoints with their in-store strategies; provide a seamless experience to valued customers with no delivery fees, and hassle-free exchange and returns. Doing this will help the retailers in capturing customer loyalty as a key differentiating factor.
Here are a few examples of how some retailers have responded to the trend;
Walgreens offered customers to buy items online and pick them up at their local pharmacys’ drive-thru window. These drive-thru windows were typically used for the prescription pickup but now customers are getting a wide variety of products including cans of soup or cleaning products.
Walmart launched express delivery which allowed delivery of various items including household items, toys, groceries, and electronics, etc. in less than two hours.
Wawa Inc – the convenience store opened the first standalone drive-thru location in Pennsylvania, where shoppers place an order and pay in exchange for their goods. If the line gets too long, customers are ushered curbside to wait for their orders.