Consumer behaviour has changed drastically as a result of Covid-19. Within the span of a few short months, Spending across most industries has decreased, purchases have shifted from in-store to digital channels, and public safety has become the priority for brands and consumers alike.
As retailers adapt to this ‘new normal’ of business, the desire to win big for the incoming holiday season is higher than ever before. To succeed, retailers must focus their efforts and investments on understanding and catering to consumers’ demands and behaviours.
Covid-19 has accelerated the digital adoption of businesses around the world. However, the 2020 holiday season will be the first test of their capabilities. Those that are still testing their technology, or have yet to fully implement their digital transformation, will most likely fall behind the pack.
In 2019, rumours of a global recession were in the air. This prompted some to express caution while shopping. Despite this, once January 2020 came around, it became obvious that consumer spending was well and healthy during the 2019 holiday period.
On the other hand, 2020 looks to be much different. For one, heightened fears of the pandemic, along with social distancing and continued lockdowns, have shifted shoppers’ preferences and pushed them online. In fact, at the onset of COVID-19, the products and categories consumers gravitated to drastically changed.
Even as stores begin to reopen, customers are erring on the side of caution, with many choosing to remain as digital shoppers for the time being. The global health crisis has pushed unconventional social norms to the forefront and birthed an entirely new segment of first-time online shoppers, forcing them to adapt and assimilate new methods of shopping.
To captivate consumers’ attention, retailers will need to rely on AI-enabled capabilities. This will allow for a smoother and more reliable experience for customers who now have to deal with AI-enabled chatbots more often. For brick-and-mortar retail, social distancing has become part of the new norm, and customers will demand that retailers rethink and readjust the in-store shopping experience accordingly. Contactless technology will also play a big role, especially for the myriad of last minute shoppers who will undoubtedly turn up. For these customers, BOPIS (Buy online, pick-up in store) options will also likely be fairly popular.
More than ever, retailers will need technology to enable every touchpoint of the buying experience. Refining BOPIS operations and deploying contactless technologies will provide convenience and ease for in-store holiday shoppers. As for the online holiday shopper, they will gravitate towards the retailers that offer a seamless experience from start to finish and deliver with speed.