By: Cindy Blackstock, Co-Founder and CEO
IRL is shorthand for “in real life.” Take an experience from the virtual world and transfer it to the here and now, your reality. Recently, one of my bigger IRL moments has revolved around shopping. I have flipped my experience from an 80/20 mix of in-store versus online shopping to 5/95 during sheltering-in-place, and now settled in about 20/80 ratio. Needless to say, my retail shopping world has flipped, and I’m not alone.
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “How Coronavirus Changed the Retail Landscape,” COVID accelerated a shift in how we shop with online credit-card transactions increasing dramatically and e-commerce sales in the second quarter rising by 44.5 percent, compared with the same period in 2019. Currently, stores are seeing an uptick in consumer spending, thanks to COVID restrictions lifting, but WSJ is reporting foot traffic is still down year-over-year.
If you weren’t comfortable with giving your credit card information online to complete a transaction, you most certainly are now. This fast-forward move is something I labeled as “accelerating the inevitable” and shared more about accelerated shifts in consumer behavior here.
However, there are some of us who yearn to return back to leisurely walking the aisles of Target, sipping our latte from Starbucks, and discovering new items. That’s right, I’m talking about real-life, search-and-purchase missions right between the bread aisle and the snacks. Those moments when you arrive at the spice section and ask yourself, “When did McCormick’s come out with all these new seasonings?” Or perhaps next to your usual go-to morning bowl of boxed cereal, you see there’s a new brand, and it has less sugar, and you can actually study the box for the list of ingredients. You are thrilled and excited to try these new things – none of which you would have discovered if you did your usual Shipt order.
Path to purchase has changed. Shopping behavior is markedly different. Brand loyalty has shifted. Brands and retailers need to effectively pivot to meet these new marketplace dynamics. Three key areas to understand right now:
- How to reach target consumers with relevant messaging
- How brands can position products and benefits to breakthrough and be discovered across various shopping experiences, in-store and online
- How retailers can elevate loyalty programs so that they are the IRL shopping experience of choice
Contact us at contact@SIVOInsights.com to learn how SIVO Insights can guide your business decisions with customized human intelligence on current consumer behavior.