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New Retail Realities: Post-Pandemic & Beyond - Dr. Brynn on CBC News

May, 19 2020

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Dr. Brynn
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Dr. Brynn

New Retail Realities: Post-Pandemic & Beyond - Dr. Brynn on CBC News


As markets re-open, Dr. Brynn joins Heather Hiscox to talk about the ever-evolving #retail realities - consumer considerations, confidence, concerns and questions:



As CIBC's Chief Economist Ben Tal so aptly stated in a recently broadcasted market update: "Every crisis [economic, diplomatic, environmental....pandemic] serves to accelerate trends we were already seeing in the markets." If Mr. Tal is right, and we believe he is, applied to consumer shopping and retail, we can expect to see more - much more - of what we were already seeing in the consumer marketplace: more online shopping; retailer adoption of omnichannel; bricks-n-mortar move to destination, hands-free, experiential, entertainment, immersive retailing; a decrement in FMCG & fast-fashion consumption all together (#fashionwaste); increases in consumer market-awareness, literacy, responsibility, ethical consumption considerations; cautiousness about marketplace interactions & transactions etc. 


Retailing, Shopping, and Consumer Sensibilities are no different: a pandemic changes how you and I have had to consume, what we consume, why we consume, our faith in the markets, our perceptions of international trade/exports/imports, our loyalty to some brands/retailers/providers over others, our sense of safety and security with our interactions and transactions in the free and open market. A fundamental shift in the way consumers have had to and will continue to act and interact (#consumerbrainscience) due to COVID-19, changes the way markets expand, behave, retract, move, and respond to information, news. 


Today, Heather Hiscox & I attempt to deliver some of these insights while answering the public's questions about the ever-evolving new realities of retail. Here, are some topline points about what industry insiders are predicting and/or expecting in the near and future terms.

Expect social distancing requirements to continue & as much 'hands free' shopping as possible
  • Expect to see things like: plexiglass around cashiers and retail workers
  • Many hand sanitizer stations;
  • Dedicated hours for certain subpopulations (e.g. community hour, seniors hour, sensitivity shopping etc)
  • Shorter overall hours of operation per day, per week
  • More cleaning - separated by time (e.g. every 2 hours) or volumes (e.g. every 100 patrons)
  • Limits of # of people per store location
  • Longer line-ups and wait times outside
  • Pre-ordering required as well as 'appointment-based' curb-side pick-ups
  • Closures, out-of-business, as well as retailers that remain closed voluntarily
  • Continuing the move to e-commerce, online, omnichannel offerings
  • Expect change rooms to be closed/non-usable
  • Decreased foot-traffic compared to precovid 'normal' levels
Medium-to-Longer Term:
  • Bricks-n-mortar stores will have to be larger, again, more square footage for new consumer sensibilities and social distancing
  • Increase in experiential design of retail space as well as 'being spaces' ('see and be seen' environments) - in order to survive through new consumer sensitivities and routines adopted during COVID, retailers must have some reason to drive foot traffic/consumer interest to actually show up to the physical space
  • Accelerated consumer shift to Amazon, online, e-commerce, omnichannel (an existing trend that becomes magnified)
  • The move to omnichannel offerings, digital delivery will be especially true in lower-involvement, lower-margin, straight-rebuy categories (e.g. toothbrush, toothpaste) 
  • Continued 'appointment based shopping' so that retailers can manage & predict their in-store foot traffic volumes
  • More pre-ordering & curb-side pick-up
  • Decreased mall & retail foot-traffic - Canadians especially are loyal, habitual, creatures of habit in the marketplace behaviors - shifts made during the pandemic will pervade long after - even with a vaccine
  • Consumer discretionary spending will shrink with impending recession - this puts further pressure on retailer margins, profitability
  • Expect to see more 'showrooming' imposed by retailers as well as consumer sensitivities - e.g. instead of being able to sit on the furniture, you will simply be able to look and then order then, for home delivery
Don't have much in the way of data, but some:
  • In USA, last week, 65% of shoppers asked said they would be too afraid to shop in apparel categories or use change rooms because of coronavirus
  • In USA, last week, 54% of retail workers surveyed said they did not want to return to work
  • March has been one of the worst months in recorded history for consumer spending (down 40% year over year)

#retail #marketing #markets #consumerbrainscience #shopping #retailtuesday #brainscience #psychology #consumerbehavior #business #covid19 #coronavirus #economy #ecommerce #shoppers #consumers #retailers


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