The COVID-19 pandemic has lead to a harsh economic reality. Often considered one of the hardest-hit consumer-based industries, retail has struggled with the pitfalls of the pandemic. Earlier this year, stay-at-home orders across the U.S. forced countless businesses deemed non-essential to close in order to curb the spread of the virus. This forced many retailers to get creative to connect with customers and drive sales during the worst public health crisis in a century. And while much of the country has begun to reopen following the lockdowns that defined the Spring and early Summer, the virus doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon—and consumer behavior has shifted significantly.
According to research from Digital Commerce 360, 58 percent of online shoppers expect to order more online in the coming months. Drawing on data from its client base of 6,200 brand and retail sites, Bazaarvoice reports that eCommerce page views were up 75 percent year-over-year in June, with order count up 57 percent. With a significant amount of the population staying home, brands and retailers are implementing new strategies and improving their eCommerce systems and processes to stay competitive in the new commercial reality.
THE RISE OF BOPIS AND CURBSIDE PICKUP
Though not a new concept, buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) has grown significantly in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. What was once a relatively new and novel method for retailers to offer a convenient shopping experience for consumers—and to successfully integrate their online and offline presences—has become a crucial component of retail strategy in the age of coronavirus. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, April saw a 208 percent increase in BOPIS orders—signaling that consumers view it as a viable alternative to traditional retail shopping in a time when limiting exposure to others is imperative.
Numerous national retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond and Dick’s Sporting Goods have embraced curbside pickup, a contactless form of BOPIS. But it’s not just the big stores offering the service, many smaller shops have adapted, like the Lakes Running Co., a suburban Minneapolis running gear retailer, and the Kentucky-based Brownsboro Hardware & Paint. Chicago-based Foxtrot, a small local chain of upscale convenience stores, has seen revenue growth thanks to its on-demand delivery and pickup services.
Once the domain of large grocery chains and big-box stores, COVID-19 has made BOPIS and curbside pickup a reality for all retailers.
MOBILE SELF-CHECKOUT GAINS MOMENTUM
In order to minimize time spent inside a brick and mortar location and avoid congested check-out lines, numerous retailers are launching mobile self-checkout technology. U-Haul recently debuted its mobile self-checkout app, called U-Haul Scan & Go. It allows shoppers to easily scan individual items—like boxes, bubble wrap, or other moving supplies—and pay for them on their smartphone while practicing social distancing and limiting their amount of time in the store. Even prior to the pandemic, customers were demanding more self-service methods of purchase, with Windstream indicating that 96 percent of consumers feel that ease of checkout and payment are important factors when choosing where to shop. Now, with COVID-19 forcing consumers to consider ways to decrease their risk of exposure, offering a truly mobile and self-service point of sale option is top of mind for many retailers, both big and small.
ACCELERATING THE GROWTH OF ECOMMERCE
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly increased the amount of online shopping across industries. A survey conducted in March by Valassis revealed that 42 percent of consumers were shopping more online as a result of the pandemic, with only 8 percent saying they were doing less eCommerce spending. Even retail verticals that have been traditionally dependent on brick and mortar sales, like groceries and home goods, have seen growth in eCommerce. ECommerce was already growing at an incredible rate prior to the pandemic, with revenues expected to surpass $700 billion in 2022. Now, with more consumers at home doing their shopping from the comfort of their couch, eCommerce looks to be entering a new, more profitable era.
AN INDUSTRY LEADER IN ECOMMERCE
At Codal, we’ve helped countless clients launch, refresh, or maintain eCommerce sites that promote conversion, curb bounce rates, and drive sales. In the age of coronavirus, it’s imperative that brands and retailers offer the best online shopping experiences possible in order to stay competitive. Our data-driven design methods empower brand visibility and deliver the most elegant eCommerce solutions possible. Talk to Codal today about growing your foothold in the rapidly expanding eCommerce space.