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Why COVID-19’s Impact on Retail Is Not as Bad as You Think

Posted April 21, 2021

Two women carrying shopping bags at shopping mall.

Sometimes, life throws you curveballs. The pandemic, for instance, seemed to come out of nowhere. For eCommerce stores, this did little to affect business. But for in-store retailers, the hault in operations caused them to rethink their game plan. And those businesses that took the initiative to adjust its services to address customers’ changing needs were the ones that knocked it out of the ballpark!

COVID-19 & Its Impact on Retail

Let’s review four changes in retail shopping that were a direct result of the pandemic. And how they have helped retailers keep their customers connected. 

Curbside Pickup

Extending services to now include curbside pickup has helped meet customers halfway. If shoppers are concerned about social distancing, and don’t want to venture inside a store, they can still get the products they love from the brands they follow––all from the convenience and safety of their own vehicles. 

According to a study conducted by Medallia Zingle on COVID-19’s impact on shopping behaviors, approximately 87% of shoppers said that they would be in favor of stores continuing the use of curbside pickup even after the pandemic. Maintaining your curbside pickup services will allow you to serve two types of customers:

  1. Those who are ready to return to retail locations
  2. Those who prefer to maintain social distancing

Contactless 

A big push we saw this past year was contactless payments. Though Apple and Google Pay have been around the block for some time now, many small businesses “just” started offering this convenient feature to their patrons, some as early as June 2020. And this number is projected to grow with time.

Credit card companies like Visa, for example, forecast that contactless payments will be a must-have feature for businesses to stay competitive and retain customers, post pandemic. In Visa’s Back to Business Study 2021 Outlook, the company reports that “nearly two thirds (65%) of consumers say that post-vaccine, they would prefer to use contactless payments as much as, or even more than, they are currently.”

Shopping Local

It sounds easier to buy your products from a major eCommerce store than a local retailer, and many were seeing this trend happen during the first couple weeks of lockdowns. But when consumers realized that their favorite local shops, boutiques, and restaurants were losing revenue, they quickly turned their attention back to supporting local. 

In another recent study on new trends in shopping behaviors post COVID-19, the findings reveal that a higher number of individuals fear COVID-19’s impact on the economy (88%) vs. its impact on their own health (64%). This may be responsible for the recent push to “buy local” and to support stores and shopping centers in surrounding communities instead of eCommerce. 

An Appreciation for the Small Things

Too much screen time can make you miss the simple pleasures of everyday living. In fact, the term “zoom fatigue” quickly started trending in 2020 and “lockdown fatigue” just started trending this year. 

“As more businesses open back up to the public, it’s clear that though curbside and in-store pickup offer convenience, customers miss the in-store shopping experience, too,” said Holly Rome, Executive Vice President of Leasing at Rosedale Center. “Having the ability to test a product before buying it has and will always be a unique selling point for shopping centers. The difference now is many people appreciate and long for this experience more than in previous years.” 

Though these all sound like small changes, they allow customers, who still may be anxious about returning to the public space, more confidence and control over their shopping experience. And when they are ready to return to in-store shopping, they can do so on their own time, without it affecting your store’s revenue. 

What’s Next for Your Business?

Though the pandemic has created challenges, it has also encouraged many to be more resourceful, inventive, and creative in their efforts to retain customers and still offer a personalized shopping experience. 

“At Rosedale Center, we’ve helped our diverse range of tenants implement safer shopping experiences for their customers, as well as help bring customers to our location with exciting new experiences, said Lisa Crain, Senior General Manager. “Just last year, such experiences included a Deadly Drive-In that took place in October and our Minnesota Fare, which gave nostalgic Minnesotans a taste of their beloved “state-fair” experience.”

Rosedale also played host to Art 2020, an exploration of art installments from local artists and designers across the Twin Cities.

Crain continued: “We plan to host many more events and experiences, where guests from all over the state can visit and enjoy fun and entertainment paired with a diverse shopping experience.”

How Does This Impact Your Business? 

When you lease a rental space from Rosedale Center, you are strategically positioned in the center of all this action and excitement. And because we have implemented many new safety procedures, our customers feel safe and confident while visiting our shopping center.

To learn more about our leasing options, contact our team today! We offer flexible leasing options to fit your goals, budget, and needs.

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