Buzzworthy Insights – Shoppers Excited to Return to Stores

07.06.2021 Buzzworthy Insights
By Shasta Catli, Analyst

Shopping habits are expected to be back to pre-pandemic levels before the end of the year.

Shoppers are beginning to return to brick-in-mortar as restrictions caused by the pandemic begin to lift. 4 out of 5 global consumers said they feel comfortable shopping in physical stores. There is also a ‘healthy buzz’ present as consumers are eager to experience shopping again. Global shoppers missed ‘touching and trying on’ items (45%), the fun and social experience of shopping with friends (35%), and being able to bring the purchase home right away (35%).

Even though there is excitement around the return of in-store shopping, global consumers have enjoyed the convergence of online and offline shopping. 33% plan to continue using click-and -collect services beyond the pandemic, with U.S. consumers above the global average (38%). Both digital and physical shopping play important roles within retail, and the balance is returning with increased foot traffic. (View source)

The First ‘Store-Hailing Platform’

Robomart brings mobile stores to consumers in less than 10 minutes.

Robomart has launched a fleet of mobile mini-marts in West Hollywood, CA that work similar to Uber. Using the Robomart app, consumers can ‘hail’ a mobile store to come to them and it will arrive within 10 minutes. When Robomart arrives, the user opens the door via the app and can handpick their items.

Consumers can view a list of all products in the Robomart app before hailing, which eliminates selection errors or out-of-stock items. Each vehicle features an RFID-based checkout system that allows consumers to simply take their products and walk away. No physical checkout or payment is required.

For the first phase of the launch, Robomart is premiering two types of mini-marts: Pharmacy Robomart and Snacks Robomart. The Pharmacy Robomart stocks items such as ibuprofen, hand sanitizer, and shampoo, while the Snack Robomart stocks items such as chips, chocolates, and other snacks. Robomart plans to expand its fleet to grocery, pantry, deli, and café in the next few months. (View source)

5 Factors Driving Purchasing Decisions

Consumers across demographics are motivated on factors beyond price and quality.

Research by Accenture Strategy and Accenture Interactive found that buying motivations are being driven by five distinct areas. The five factors include health and safety; service and personal care; ease and convenience; product origin; and trust and reputation. While the five factors have been important to Gen Z and Millennials, they have expanded across all consumer demographics due to shifted shopping behaviors caused by the pandemic.

  1. Health and safety: This factor ranked high in importance for consumers, with 71% believing it is crucial that companies prioritize health.
  2. Customer service and personal care: More than half of consumers say they would switch brands if a brand doesn’t provide clear and easy options for contacting customer service or provide clear responses about service level related to the pandemic or economic/societal issues.
  3. Ease and convenience: 57% of consumers would switch retailers if they did not ‘offer new fast and flexible delivery options of goods such as click-and-collect and curbside pickup.’
  4. Product origin: Consumers want to know what goes into a product and how it is transported. 76% are attracted to brands that source services and materials in highly ethical ways.
  5. Trust and reputation: A majority of consumers would switch providers if they did not ‘take visible actions for a positive social impact.’

The five factors serve as the new baseline for attracting consumers post-pandemic. Brands and retailers must work harder to differentiate themselves beyond price and product quality and must assure their customers that shopping experiences are safe. (View source)

Video Game Promotions

Chipotle Mexican Grill is using video games to engage with customers and build brand loyalty.

Chipotle introduced a promotional video game called ‘Chipotle Race to Rewards Exchange’ that ran from June 23rd – 25th as part of its loyalty program. It is an interactive racing game that allows players to earn points and avoid obstacles for a chance to win a 2021 Tesla Model 3 and many other prizes.

Points can also be exchanged for 15 different reward options via the Chipotle app, including free guacamole, drinks, and other goods. Additionally, customers can redeem their points to support non-profit partners, such as Farmlink Project and National Urban League.

Video games have become a mainstream channel for online engagement and sales. Chipotle came up with a fun way to demonstrate how to establish brand loyalty while their customers earn rewards in an engaging way. (View source)

Consumer Sentiment on the Rise

Consumer sentiment rose in June to the second highest level since the beginning of the pandemic.

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 85.5 points in June, up from 82.9 in May. Consumers had a more positive view on short-term expectations, while current conditions slightly declined. The gains in June were among households with incomes above $100,000 and their expectations for future economic outlooks.

‘Economic strengths’ were anticipated to grow due to declining unemployment rates and rising interest rates in the year ahead. 56% of consumers expect unemployment rates to go down and 73% expect interest rates to go up.

While many consumers are optimistic about an end to the pandemic in the near future, they are still dealing with risk from COVID-19 variants. Consumers are not likely to reduce the savings they’ve accumulated in the past year and are likely to maintain precautionary funds. (View source)Thanks for reading!

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