Alas, the coronavirus pandemic continues to prove Dr. Anthony Fauci right:"The virus is in charge."
As you have noticed, all around us there's delay. From Major League Baseball contemplating a month delay, schools and universities very slowly resuming in-person classes, or a decidedly different lineup and focus of Super Bowl advertisers, we have no choice but to continue to be patient. Isn't that the pits?
As Daphne Howard reported*, "Footfall patterns show that getting back to normal requires more than flipping the "open" sign.
- "Our latest research shows that even with a vaccine, people will still be afraid to go in-store, and are fully prepared to cut back on spending if the nation returns to another lockdown," stated Greg Petro, CEO of First Insight.
- "The overall picture," reports Howard, "leads Morgan Stanley to forecast store traffic to remain down 40% to 55% in the near term, or worse if COVID-19 cases continue to rise or another lockdown is required to stem the spread of the disease."
Well, reduced store traffic is not news to anyone. But here's another perspective from Jason Goldberg in Forbes**.
- "While customers are buying more online, they are visiting stores less, picking fewer retailers and buying more in each trip."
- "Walmart CEO Doug McMillion told investors 'shoppers are making far fewer trips to stores, with total transactions falling 14%. And they are spending significantly more during each visit, as the average ticket size during the quarter increased 27%.'”
That's quite the dramatic shift, isn't it? Customers are decidedly more purposeful in their store visits.
What a great opportunity to emphasize how your stores offer solutions; the internet offers only transactions.
Meanwhile, we must wait.
Only when the vaccine becomes more widely available, and we gain more understanding of the variant strains (and as the weather improves!), only then will the shoppers begin to re-emerge.
Until that time? Ahh, patience, patience, patience.
* Stores are open, but the pandemic keeps shoppers away. Daphne Howard, Retail Dive, January 29, 2021.
** Retail Was Remarkably Resilient in 2020, But Has Been Changed Forever. Jason Goldberg, Forbes, 1/16/2021.