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BrickMeetsClick: 4 ways retailers can up their game as COVID-19 has changed the way consumers shop for groceries

By July 21, 2020January 27th, 2021No Comments

According to a new report by the Retail Feedback Group (RFG), which interviewed over 2,000 shoppers in the last few months to uncover their shopping habits, consumers are less satisfied with their grocery store. From store cleanliness to an increased value proposition, retailers can make changes today to improve their standing in the eyes of their customers.

Above all else, shoppers are looking for 4 things: safety, ease, product availability, and value. A Brick Meets Click article delves into these and offers actionable insights for each. The most pressing, in the wake of state re-closures and increased infection counts, is shopper safety:

There’s a need to build customer confidence that they can go to the supermarket without the fear of catching COVID-19. Per the RFG report, 67% of shoppers were somewhat or not at all confident that it was safe to shop in a supermarket, and only 54% of shoppers were highly confident that it was safe to eat all of the food bought in that store.

Brick Meets Click, July 2020, “How COVID-19 has changed the way consumers shop for groceries: 4 ways retailers can up their game”

Though some consumers may be able to do their grocery shopping entirely online, this is not the reality for most people. In-store or mixed format shopping is how the majority of shoppers are getting their groceries. Additionally, limited access to dining options means more cooking at home, and more money spent on groceries each month. Considering that shoppers are more reliant on retailers as a result of this change, they also expect greater safety measures from their local stores.

Wall Street Journal: An employee at a Trader Joe’s supermarket in Omaha, Neb., disinfected shopping carts and monitored the number of customers in the store on Thursday.
Photo: Nati Harnik, Associated Press

In response, retailers can take steps to assure their customers of standardized cleaning practices. By protecting shoppers’ health, stores have the opportunity to build trust with their current customers. Brick Meets Click notes a potential solution for safety concerns:

While it’s not realistic to try to create a zero-risk environment, it is possible to show customers that you’re doing all the right things. The report found that customers appreciate it when a grocer implements social distancing and provides/requires masks – and they also notice when it isn’t being done. According to the survey, shoppers see the most effective safety measures as making disinfecting wipes available with carts and encouraging employees to stay home if they feel ill.

Brick Meets Click, July 2020, “How COVID-19 has changed the way consumers shop for groceries: 4 ways retailers can up their game”

Stores are increasingly taking responsibility in their communities through overarching safety policies; for example, Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Kohl’s recently announced that they are requiring face coverings in their stores regardless of government ordinance. More retailers joined them shortly after, including Target and CVS.

At the same time, consumers are looking for increased value for their money, which many shoppers reported as disappearing in the last few months per the RFG report. On this dimension, shoppers rated the core experience value a 3.93 (2020) vs 4.17 (2019) on a 5-point scale. For more information on how to regain ground in your pricing strategy, you can read the full insights from the report on Brick Meets Click’s site here.