Data continues to back up the gut feeling that retailers have had since the beginning of the pandemic. Namely, that COVID-19 has completely reshaped how consumers approach shopping. Incisiv’s latest in-store shopper survey, “The New Store Shopper in High-Touch Retail,” found growth among the use of curbside pickup, as well as an emphasis on contactless store pickup.
Incisiv recently worked with Mercatus on another research study that found online grocery on the rise, predicting sales of online groceries to reach $250 billion by 2025.
The latest survey, commissioned by Manhattan Associates, spoke to shoppers who planned to visit a high-touch, non-grocery retail store in the next six months. A whopping 80% of those surveyed said they expect to increase buy online, pick up in-store and curbside pickup use for over the next six months. Additionally, 90% said they would prefer home delivery over a store visit in the coming months, highlighting the need for retailers to be flexible in terms of order fulfillment.
“E-commerce fulfillment, including home delivery and in-store fulfillment, will be crucial for the 2020 holiday shopping season,” said Kevin Swanwick, vice president of store solutions at Manhattan Associates. “Shopper demand for an optimized purchase journey has only increased with the pandemic. Retailers who have applied learnings from the past several months and made the right technology adjustments will be better positioned to manage the expected demand for e-commerce fulfillment. Once customers feel safe, converting those ‘returns’ into sale-exchanges in a frictionless way will be critical for maintaining revenue in stores that are open for socially-distanced selling.”
Though 85% of respondents said they have significantly increased their use of curbside pickup and 79% said that a contactless store pickup is very important to them, many shoppers reported encountering friction in their latest experience. Eighty-one percent rated their latest shopping experience three stars or lower when asked about availability of preferred pickup date and time, even though 85% said the ease of completing the purchase was four stars or higher.
“Shoppers view and value stores very differently today than they did pre COVID-19. More than ever before, it is all about safety, speed and convenience," said Gaurav Pant, chief insights officer, Incisiv. "And, this change in behavior will impact high-touch retail categories such as apparel, luxury and specialty in unique ways. We recommend retailers make it easier to find store inventory online, simplify the in-store pick-up experience, and help their store associates build stronger relationships with customers digitally. As importantly, retailers must arm their store teams with tools to fulfill online orders more efficiently — and ultimately, profitably."