NEW YORK, June 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- TPN, the creative commerce agency, revealed today the findings of its new study that takes an in-depth look at shifts in shopping trends and consumer expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study draws comparisons to a similar survey that TPN fielded in June 2019 looking at consumers' shopping experiences and their use of BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) at retailers.
Surveys were conducted prior to COVID-19 restrictions in mid-2019, as well as during the height of restrictions in April 2020. Results indicate that consumers who ordered groceries online and picked them up at stores for the first time during the restrictions are more likely to return to shopping inside stores as stay-at-home orders lift. On the contrary, those who were repeat BOPIS shoppers during the pandemic are more likely to continue leveraging these services.
"When comparing survey results from April 2020 to last year's findings, we are seeing a drastic shift in consumer wants and needs and the value around BOPIS," said Cheryl Policastro, head of strategy and insights for TPN. "Those who leveraged BOPIS prior to COVID-19 used it for value, convenience and to save time – all which they noted have disappeared during the global health crisis. Moreover, those who used BOPIS for the first time during the pandemic were dependent on the service for a much different value proposition: one of safety and control."
Additional results from the study revealed vast differences in shopper mindsets and behaviors:
- A Shift in Sentiment: Pre-COVID BOPIS users noted that they were driven by value and convenience; 50% were attracted to no shipping costs or fees, while 21% noted that BOPIS allowed them to be smarter with their time. Those sentiments shifted drastically in April 2020, with 60% of BOPIS users noting that they were using the service to avoid long lines and crowds and 52% of users noting that they were using the service to minimize time spent inside a store.
- From Control to Chaos: Before the pandemic, 35% of BOPIS users said the service helped them feel more in control and helped them guarantee the items they were looking for would be in stock. Now, 47% of BOPIS users believe the service does quite the opposite and gives them a lack of control, making them feel like their order won't be fulfilled correctly.
- Experience Versus Expectations: A level of frustration was clearly felt amongst those who were using BOPIS before the global pandemic, with 41% noting there were fewer products available, 34% reporting their order was not completely fulfilled, 28% noting longer wait times to receive their order, 13% having difficulty confirming their order date and pick-up time, and 9% finding the experience more stressful than it was before. However, some new BOPIS users did find their expectations were being met, with 21% noting the service as more efficient than in-store shopping, 11% finding new items to buy, and 11% buying more than they did while shopping in-store.
- From Meaningless to Missed: A seismic shift occurred when focusing in on the tangible shopping experience. Before the pandemic, only 4% of BOPIS users said they missed the experience of going into a store. That number jumped to 30% during the course of the pandemic when visiting a store became more of a challenge.
"All of these insights point to the fact that we are in an unpredictable time when it comes to retail and shopping. We're seeing a move to the middle, with online shoppers noting they will also go back in-store, while traditional shoppers may start using online shopping more often," said Policastro. "As the landscape continues to evolve and change, we'll be keeping a pulse on what this means for shoppers, as well at what this means for retailers and how they should be responding."
As reopening plans evolve and consumers begin to venture out, Policastro offers the following tips for retailers that are looking to enhance both traditional and online shopping experiences:
- Deliver on Shoppers' Needs Beyond Function: Before COVID-19, shoppers were interested in using BOPIS for various special occasions – in fact, 40% were interested in using BOPIS to prep for hosting and 38% to prep for vacations. Policastro believes companies should create a clear opportunity for expanded use and make the online shopping experience a place for discovery that is motivating and inspiring.
- Fix the Flaws: The global pandemic exposed several areas of opportunity for retailers. Policastro recommends retaining the base of trialists by ironing out the logistical and operational issues, as well as working to drive retailer differentiation by creating an online experience of discovery and planning.
- Go With the Flow: The global pandemic has changed the way consumers shop, behave, and buy. Policastro recommends adapting to this by understanding the new consumer shopper journey realities and implementing solutions. She also advises evolving and deploying a new end-to-end, integrated strategy that keeps new consumer realities top-of-mind.
For more information on the proprietary studies fielded by TPN, including results and methodology, please click here.
About TPN (www.tpnretail.com)
TPN is the creative commerce agency that exists to Make the Buy Happen for some of the most iconic retailers, technology and CPG brands in the world. We specialize in all things commerce—leveraging the agency's core practice areas of Digital Commerce, Brand, Retailer and Shopper —to create connected experiences that drive sales and build brand commitment. TPN is a part of the DAS Group of Companies. The agency has nine offices located across the U.S. and the U.K. and is celebrating more than three decades of delivering creativity and results.