Shoppers to Brands: Keep Things Convenient

January Digital and Coresight Research teamed up to gauge “post-ish COVID-19” consumer shopping behavior in the U.S., and found consumers want merchants and brands to “retain and improve upon pandemic conveniences.”

The report noted the results underscore “retail’s dire need for strategic agility ahead of the holidays.” Authors of the report said while post-ish pandemic discretionary spending continues to increase “across apparel, domestic travel, experiences and luxury, the consumer’s high-bar expectations for fast, free delivery and returns, along with seamless omnichannel experiences are here to stay.”

Tierney Wilson, senior vice president for client strategy and consulting​ at January Digital, said personalization, last-mile delivery logistics, localization and BOPIS “are not new concepts, but customers are making it clear that getting these conveniences right and making them truly tailored is more important than ever.”

Key findings of the report include a desire from consumers for convenience and ease in their shopping experiences. “As the world comes out of the pandemic, 50 percent of U.S. consumers expect fast, free delivery to remain when choosing a retailer or brand to shop, while nearly 50 percent say the same of easy, free product returns for online orders,” the companies said in a statement, adding that the ability to “view and purchase the same products in-store and online was the other feature that was considered ‘very important’ by more than one-third of consumers.”

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By demographic segment, the research showed that 34 percent of respondents under 45 years old “ranked buy online pick up in-store and curbside options as ‘very important’ over the ability to view and purchase the same products in-store and online.”

Additional findings include that 33.4 percent of those polled “find the ability to view and purchase the same products across online and offline channels ‘very important’ when determining which brands and retailers to shop with, with another 17.4 percent saying that it is ‘somewhat important’ to them.”

By category, the survey found that the “proportion of consumers purchasing clothing products in stores has risen by more than 7 percentage points over the last three months showing a shift back toward pre-pandemic spending.”

Wilson said brands and retailers need to be “surgical in your approach to understanding what moves the needle for your specific business and lean in. Creating agile infrastructures will allow brands to quickly pivot strategies. Whether it is assortment, services or marketing spend, put data at the center of decision making to drive success in the back half of the year.”

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