Yes, the shoppers WILL be returning. But boy, have they learned a lot during these pandemic times.
They are far more comfortable with online shopping, and in many cases, eager to continue that. And the convenience of "contactless" features like curbside pickup and BOPIS (Buy Online, Pickup In Store) are welcomed.
In fact, an extensive survey from McKinsey & Company* provides considerable detail about the newly-learned online shopping behaviors of customers, and their expectations of continuing to use these new-found skills.
Particular changes with presumed staying power:
But hold it. Wait just a minute. Our countervailing view is that the "homebody economy" will wear thin. And while customers do care even more about basics and value, especially when it comes to Holiday shopping, they will want "special."
"Retailing dead?" Hardly!
“Retailing” is selling to the ultimate consumer. That is not going away, in spite of the current perception.
What IS (appropriately!) endangered? Deadly retail real estate! Conventional, impersonal, and boring brick-n-mortar stores are deadly.
Many Americans who can afford to save money – thanks to reduced spending on eating out, vacations, and consumer goods – are playing it safe and hoarding their cash, according to recent research by Gallup/Franklin Templeton.*
And those who currently are saving at least a little money largely plan to keep saving rather than spending in the near term.
We once knew a lady of an earlier generation who steadfastly championed the idea that Labor Day should be considered New Year's Eve, and the Tuesday after Labor Day as the start of the New Year. (Yes, she was ahead of her time in many other ways as well.)
Here's her reasoning about the "real" New Year's Eve: as summer fades away and vacations end, the new school year starts up; the baseball season pennant race is on; football games begin. As all this happens, she explained, most people take on a renewed sense of energy.
The promise of a fresh start is everywhere. Optimism abounds!
Wouldn't 2020 be a great year to cut short? Aren't we all ready to turn the page on it?
Well, while we cannot do it officially, we can embrace that New Year state of mind.
Since Labor Day in the US is the first Monday in September, this year it happens as late as possible. Labor Day will not be celebrated until next Monday, September 7.
Most years, most folks would be perfectly happy to have August stretched out even longer. Ahh, those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, right?
And so, meanwhile, we regard Consumer Confidence as THE key indicator of consumer spending. Just last week, the Conference Board reported that Consumer confidence is at a six year low*. Ouch!
But, was that a surprise to retailers? Not really. Most retailers are well along in coping with these challenges.
"Of course I want it today. If I wanted it tomorrow, I would have come in tomorrow."
That's what we call "retail time." Retailers are comfortable with that pace; they enjoy the variety; they welcome the need to change and adjust.
But, instead of just keeping life interesting, 2020 seems to have gone overboard in bringing changes and disruption to us all. The triple pandemic of the virus, the economy, and the civil unrest. And oh yes, it's also an election year. Enough already, right?
We think the most challenging part of this is the effect on our sense of time.
Maybe you know someone like this. Or are related to them. Or are looking at them each day in the mirror.
You know; the restless, impatient ones. The entrepreneurs; the risk takers. Those who want to be their own boss. "Do it myself!"
Our theory is that the changes spawned from these triple pandemics – the coronavirus, the economic meltdown, and the civil unrest – will also be evident in new business startups. And that includes all kind of new retail concepts.
Out of this period of unprecedented frustration can come new-found backbones.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀