Tusco Display blog
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Store Returns

One of the Big Questions coming out of the Year of Covid has been: Will shoppers return to shopping in stores? The presumption has been that shoppers have adopted more online shopping practices and won’t want to give up the convenience of having their groceries picked & packed for curbside pickup (BOPIS) and having their apparel, books, dogfood, sporting goods, etc delivered to their front porches.

The US Census Bureau tracks online v in-store buying. Their Q4 report shows that online sales for all of 2020 were 14.0% of total retail, up from 11.0% in 2019. Now, that’s quite a leap, for sure, but I’d have predicted the number was even greater, perhaps pushing 20%.

Turns out, shoppers still like stores.

Retail payments and shopping service company Klarna just surveyed 41,000 shoppers across the US. They found that 77% of shoppers want to be able to try on clothes again in fitting rooms this year, but only 36% would like to see beauty and wellness product testing return. Shoppers have new, higher expectations for safety but report broad eagerness to shop in stores again.

Some specific findings:
+ Stores have an instant gratification advantage.
+ Shoppers prefer to shop for apparel and footwear in-store.
+ Shoppers would visit an online brand’s physical store if they could.
+ Shoppers agree that touchless features improve the in-store experience.

Some predicted that Covid would accelerate the demise of brick-and-mortar retail. Instead, we see a resurgence of shopping as people emerge from their homes in 2021 in search of new experiences, curated help in-store, instant gratification, less frustration in managing returns, and more social interaction once again.

Covid didn’t kill American retail and neither will Amazon.