What are consumers thinking, and retailers doing? The COVID 19 impact.

In what has been a turbulent year for everyone, COVID-19 has spurred dramatic change and transformation particularly in retail consumption. With economic instability comes transformation in consumer behaviour. 

Consumer And Retailer Gaps In Sentiment On Franchise Buyer

To monitor just how much things have changed, Retail Doctor Group conducted research to map the changes in behaviour and sentiment, as a result of the pandemic, and what actions retailers should take in response.

Now that we are heading into Christmas, how is all this going to play out across such a vital time for retailers and the broader economy? 

Here is a snapshot of some key findings and takeaways to help you understand what retail strategy roadmaps might look like into the future.

Convenience & Efficiency

Consumer Behaviour: Time has always been a valuable currency. Now, consumers have moved towards localised (stand alone or local stores) or online shopping for safety and efficiency.  

Retail Strategy: Considerations need to be made for optimising local physical and digital strategy in line with new consumer expectations. Attention to database management, and online fulfilment processes being smooth and efficient. Also important here is the offering of click and collect options, along with physical stores being agile and effective, with a solid COVID-19 safety plan.

Retail Floor Space On Franchise Buyer With Rdg


Consumer Behaviour: Time poor consumers want empathy and understanding from brands they engage with, on a personal level.  

Retail Strategy: Customer segmentation needs to be accurate and current. Never before has the path to purchase and behavioural profiling of customers been more important to forging that personal connection. Traditional, generic sales pitches are out. If brands understand customer key emotional drivers, they can predict their desires and behaviours.

In-Store & Online Experiences

Consumer Behaviour: Consumers are looking for experiences and purchases to boost their moods. Small value purchases are on the rise. 

Retail Strategy: Stores need to offer a unique bricks and mortar customer experience that is worth leaving the house for with products that are easy to purchase and that will evoke positive emotions. Digitally, the online experience needs to be personalised, seamless and trustworthy.

Shopping Mall Corridors On Franchise Buyer With Rdg

Social Responsibility

Consumer Behaviour: Consumers are now far more likely to purchase from a business who follows sustainable and ethical practices, than those who don’t.  

Retail Strategy: Every brand should have a stance and a formal policy on sustainability and ethics that is communicated and easy to understand for consumers.

By understanding customers and tailoring (even reinventing) retail strategies, brands will have the best chance of maintaining customer loyalty.

As to whether these changes are permanent or transient, only time will tell...

Download and read the RDC Whitepaper Here.

Reference: Retail Doctor Group Consumer and Retailer Sentiment Report November 2020