A disappointing experience at their regular stores when COVID-19 started is causing many consumers to explore new options.
Thirty-four percent of consumers expect to try a new retailer in the coming weeks as the pandemic continues and forces shoppers to evolve routines to find products and fit budgets, according to a survey by Kantar. Target was the retailer that consumers were most likely to try, at 20%, followed by Walgreens and Dollar General at 14% each and Family Dollar at 13%.
The report, “Covid-19 Commerce Snapshot,” found that 92% of shoppers had a negative in-store experience at the onset of COVID-19. When stores ran out of products, 41% of shoppers went without; 42% went elsewhere.
Since the pandemic began, one-quarter (26%) of households have used a new online fulfillment method, including home delivery, curbside and in-store pickup. Among all the shoppers who used home delivery, 60% were trying it for the first time. Forty-two percent consumers used curbside pickup for the first time, while 39% used in-store pickup for the first time
In other findings, shoppers visited five grocery stores on average at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, up one store from pre-COVID, and accounting for an additional 129 million retail trips in the week of March 15-21
Also, Kantar found that 37% of consumers are planning to spend more during the next few weeks, due to being home more (74%) and stocking up to prevent product shortages (56%).
As to what retailers can do to win shoppers, Kantar offered the following advice.
• Focus on in-stocks to minimize shopper defection to other retailers;
• Shoppers will seek ‘clean’ stores & ‘hands off’ payment and fulfillment methods.
• Provide ‘low-touch’ shopping environment (prebagged apples) & safety to staff (PPE).
• Use digital & social media to over-communicate in-stock.
• Expect major shift in trip types as shoppers stock up weekly.