How to Cater to the Covid-Conscious Consumer

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The disrupted consumer is living in a world consumed by Covid-19 headlines, mask mandates, and waitlists for vaccines. In many places, they’re waiting in lines to get into the grocery store, stopping for hand sanitizer every time they open a door, and learning to manage a world where grocery delivery and curbside pick-up are the norm. People adapt—and they’re continuing to adapt to an ever-changing reality. But that reality is in constant flux. So, where are they today, more than a year into this pandemic? 

Resonate took a fresh look at the transformed retail reality in its latest State of the Consumer Report, which examines the values, concerns, and attitudes guiding the purchasing decisions of today’s pandemic-concerned consumers. Let’s take a look at a few trends that retail brands need to keep in mind as they navigate this year. 

The Era of E-Commerce and Curbside

Retail has changed forever. Shoppers who never considered placing online orders previously are taking to the internet for groceries, home goods, and more. In fact, according to McKinsey, three out of every four Americans tried a new shopping behavior in 2020—many of those adopting online shopping for previously in-store purchases.

Those consumers represent an opportunity. This is, in part, why e-commerce jumped 44% year-over-year from 2019 to 2020. As a brand, how do you capitalize on this increase in online shopping?

Assuming online shopping will continue its upward trajectory, retailers are facing an inflection point. How do you continue to grow your share of the e-commerce market by appealing to both traditional in-store shoppers and those who have their credit card login info memorized? Our research found the following useful insights:

  • 34% say shipping is influential in deciding between in-store vs. online shopping.
  • 39% want curbside pick-up.
  • 37% want same-day delivery.
  • 32% of consumers will download a store’s app. How can you create a seamless same-day or curbside pick-up ordering experience within your app?
  • 81% receive email marketing messages. So, how can you cut through the inbox clutter to connect with their values and purchasing motivations?

The Return to Stores

Despite the dominance of e-commerce, a majority of consumers are eager to return to stores when it’s safe to do so. In fact, most shoppers still want to experience in-person browsing and buying. So how have their expectations changed during the pandemic? How can you ease their anxieties and encourage them to shop in person again? 

To feel comfortable returning to shopping in-store, 53% of shoppers want to see staff and customers wearing masks, and 46% expect enforced social distancing to be in place. 

There are additional ways to appeal to consumers who especially value the in-store experience. According to our research, 41% of these consumers use coupons and, of those who receive coupons, 33% receive marketing messages through the mail. Looking to bring customers back through your doors? Slap a stamp on a promo and send it through the USPS. Likewise, 17% of these shoppers say they tend to buy online and return in-store, while 24% buy online and pick up in-store. Can you convert these returns to purchases by offering an in-store, same-day coupon with pick-ups and returns?

Retailers are no longer talking to the consumer of a pre-pandemic world. They’ve changed. The world has changed. It’s been disrupted. But it’s also presented an opportunity to develop deeper relationships with consumers and focus on connection over clicks. Is your customer experience up for the challenge?

Heather Bien is Senior Content Marketing Manager at Resonate.