The COVID-19 epidemic caused a surge in online sales in 2020. According to Forrester, online sales grew by 30% year over year. It’s impossible to overlook just how dominating the shop was and continues to be in US retail with this background and prominent and continuous e-commerce growth before the epidemic.
For brick-and-mortar stores, what does the future hold? According to Forrester, people are healthier than ever, and in-store purchasing will continue to dominate retail, accounting for 72% of all sales in 2024.
The resurgence of offline shopping
Even though the COVID-19 epidemic has driven many customers to purchase online, a new poll by The Harris Poll for Morning Brew reveals that many shoppers want to return to physical shops once the COVID-19 limitations have been eliminated.
After the COVID-19 limitations are relaxed, 43% of customers say they are more inclined to purchase in person, while just 24% say they are more likely to shop online (and 33% say they anticipate doing both equally).
A positive development for malls and department shops might be that many people who were encouraged to purchase online during the epidemic now choose to do so. 41% of existing online customers expect to increase their online purchases if the COVID-19 limitations are removed. Moreover, a third of consumers (33 percent) think they will split their shopping between the web and physical places.
Outlook of big-ticket purchases
Brick-and-mortar stores still rule the roost when it comes to big-ticket transactions. As the epidemic started, just 23% of customers reported making big-ticket/expensive purchases online, compared to 35% who said making comparable purchases in-store simultaneously.
Big-ticket purchases were made online by 35% of customers during the epidemic. However, they are still more likely to be made in a shop after the pandemic limitations are lifted. According to the survey, 67% of respondents expect to make large-ticket purchases in-store if COVID limits are released, which significantly increases above the 54% of respondents who wish to do so online.
Retail giants’ dominance
No matter what happens, retail giants will continue dominating online and in-store purchasing. Shoppers choose huge multi-brand shops like Amazon, Macy’s, and Target over direct-to-consumer businesses like Casper and Dollar Shave Club when they purchase online. When COVID-19 limits are lifted, 51% of customers say they prefer to buy online from a multi-brand shop, whereas just 13% prefer to order online from a DTC brand.
After COVID-19 limits are relaxed, 84% of customers say they would shop for daily items in-person or online with a big store, compared to 76% who say they will do the same at a local or mom-and-pop business.
Shopping pattern for Millenials and Gen Z after the pandemic
Millennials and Gen Z are inclined to shop in-store, but Gen Z is far less likely to do so at a mall or department store. About the same percentage of Millennials and Gen Z shoppers say they presently shop in-store, at 96% and 97%, respectively. Comparatively speaking, just 49% of Gen Z shoppers said they went to a mall or department store before the epidemic, compared to 66% of Gen X and Baby Boomers who said they had done so.
Amidst all these, the following are some tools businesses can use to increase offline shopping:
Many questions loom over businesses and organizations in these troubled times. After the pandemic, what will life be like? Digital signage is one of the technologies that help limit the negative effect of Covid and will continue to do so, even if uncertainty becomes the new norm.
Social media and the in-store retail experience
Customers are more likely to visit a store if they first learn about it on social media. With integrated store functionality on platforms like Instagram, online businesses reap tremendous rewards from their social media activity.
Virtual and augmented reality in retail
Shoppers now can participate in engaging and educational activities in shops, thanks to technological advancements. Shoppers can explore various product forms, sizes, and styles in a wholly digital space, thanks to virtual reality (VR) technology.
Retailers may take this a step further with augmented reality (AR). Several large shops, like Nike and Ikea, already employ AR technology to help shoppers see how their purchases would appear in their homes. This retail technology is becoming more accessible thanks to apps and cellphones.
Interactive digital kiosks are self-contained touchscreen pods that show intriguing and engaging information. With digital kiosks, consumers may make their purchases at retail establishments. Because digital kiosks enable customers to connect with your shop in a manner familiar to most, they enhance the retail experience in several ways.
Despite the rise of internet shopping, people still prefer to purchase in person. In contrast, the retailers that will draw and retain customers leverage technology to enhance the shopping experience.