Covid 19 has put normal life on hold. It’s hard to find an area of life it hasn’t infiltrated. Given all this, it’s only natural that the virus has had a massive impact on global shopper behaviour. While most shops are shut, supermarkets the world over have been forced to adapt to incorporate vital health and safety considerations and facilitate social distancing in-store. Floor stickers, queuing, one-in-one-out rules, one way systems and protective screens have rapidly become the new norm.
The natural, habitual process of grocery shopping has changed. We are no longer free to roam, but now have to navigate enforced one-way systems that take us the length and breadth of the store.
SRI data suggests that traditionally shoppers only visit approx. 35% of the store. In normal circumstances, they dip in and out of aisles according to their needs. The new restrictions mean they are forced to navigate the store in its entirety.
This represents a profound opportunity for certain categories. For example, a typical mainstream grocery aisle, like soft drinks, would normally only get about 30% of store traffic to visit. Now it is getting 100%. So that’s exposure to 70% more prospective customers. Bingo!
On the flip side, prime locations are not necessarily prime anymore. Does a gondola end have the same impact on engagement when shoppers are not permitted to choose how and where they move?
Inevitably there are more currently more questions than answers:
- How can retailers adapt store layouts to improve the shopper experience and drive growth, whilst adhering to health and safety guidelines?
- What are retailers and brand owners going to do to capitalise on increased aisle visitors?
- How should designated promotional areas such as feature spaces and gondola ends adapt?
In the early days of this new-world-order-for-retail, there are clearly more questions than answers. But one thing is for sure, big prizes are in-store for the brands and retailers who get it right.