No one truly knows what will happen post-COVID, mostly because we haven’t reached the post part yet. The country has tried to make some semblance of a reopening happen to various levels, but most would agree that we’re not where we all want to be yet.
So what now?
Instead of prognosticating, predicting or flat out guessing, WD talked to the people, to the shoppers to understand the state of shopping now and how people feel going forward. In some cases, results were expected; in others, we were surprised by the response. Let’s take a look at some of the key findings and what they mean.
Not surprisingly, consumers have been using pickup and delivery methods even more frequently during the pandemic. What’s also not surprising is that grocery has underperformed at both BOPIS and delivery. As a potential consequence of being an essential business, innovation has been lacking in the grocery industry for quite some time. Many consumers are ready to shop, but a majority of shoppers also want to shop on their terms by using delivery or new ideas such as dark stores.
How to move forward?
The results of the survey clearly show that BOPIS, delivery and dark stores need to be a part of retail strategy going forward. Brands who did not offer these services prior to the pandemic were either forced to create makeshift versions or forced to close up shop. As we continue through this current adjustment period and post-COVID once that arrives, successful brands must inject more innovative thinking into their businesses in order to grow. Dark stores may have seemed like radical ideas just a few months ago, but if brands had them in place at this time, it would be a safety and operational win with both employees and customers.
If nothing else, this timeframe and this research show the advantages of being forward thinking and customer-focused. Is your brand offering a best in class BOPIS experience? Does your brand use third-party delivery versus company-operated delivery? Are you currently planning your first dark store or your tenth? Though post-COVID isn’t here yet, your post-COVID innovation starts now.