Independent Retailers and the COVID-19 Crisis

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Since March 2, 2020, The ROI's Co-Founders have been offering insights, strategic approaches, and online resources for independent retailers affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

These appeared first in The ROI NEWS.

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Ready for the Post-COVID Customers?

Believe it! A second chance to make a good first impression!


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: 

  • More online shopping
  • Less brand loyalty
  • Need for "hygiene transparency"
  • Back to basics & value
  • Rise of the homebody economy

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." 

  • Shoppers are eager to have an in-store shopping experience – especially one of discovery and delight! – and the special attention it affords. 

These are the shoppers who will welcome the chance to shop in-store. 

But be ready. Many of them will feel like they are coming to your store for the first time. And they are more discerning than ever! 

The key is: what will they find when they enter your store? Here are a few "musts."

  • Will your staff be warm and welcoming?
  • Will it be bright and sparkly clean? (Shoppers DO care about "store hygiene.")
  • Will it feel roomy and safe? (Lighting matters here, as do shiny floors.)
  • Will it be thoughtfully organized, making it easy for them to shop?
  • Will it offer a sense of discovery? And delight?

This truly is your second chance to make a good first impression. Make it fun for you and your shoppers!

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The great consumer shift: Ten charts that show how US shopping behavior is changing. Tamara Charm, Becca Coggins, Kelsey Robinson and Jamie Wilkie, McKinsey & Company, August 4, 2020.



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