How Coronavirus is Creating New Opportunities for Retailers

By Alan Wolf, YSN

For many BrandSource dealers, it’s all they can do to keep inventory on the floor.

And while the buying frenzy won’t last indefinitely, a new consumer survey shows that the health crisis has indeed heightened people’s propensity to spend, and that they’re eager to buy new things from different places.

Specifically, the survey, conducted in mid-June by Michigan marketing agency Valassis, found that 76 percent of consumers enjoy discovering new products based on deals they receive from brands, and that 49 percent of the 1,000 U.S. adults polled have tried a new retailer since the outbreak began.

Underscoring their willingness to spread the wealth — and new opportunities to capture it — 36 percent of respondents have made an ad-induced impulse purchase since the beginning of the pandemic, and 65 percent expect to treat themselves to an unplanned purchase this month.

Surprisingly, despite the ubiquity of social media, ads and sales promotions remain the best way to win new customers and keep them, the poll showed. Indeed, 46 percent of consumers said they are paying more attention to ads offering promotions and deals since the onset of the pandemic, and 65 percent are looking forward to shopping summer sales and promotions. And whether it’s a grocery store, a restaurant or a retail shop, the biggest driver for trying a new establishment is an offer, discount or deal, respondents said.

“Consumers have had to change the way they live and shop over the last few months, creating, for some, pent-up demand for novelty and discovery,” commented Carrie Parker, Vice President, Marketing, at Valassis. “While saving money is top of mind, we see that many consumers are looking to discover new products, using deals and offers as a purchase catalyst.”

Also changing is the way people shop. Nineteen percent of respondents said they will use the buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) option more often, compared to 10 percent in a March survey, as more consumers believe new shopping behaviors will become part of their routine in the future.

“Connecting the dots between shifting behavior, purchase motivations and preferred ways of engaging will enable marketers to use [the] consumer desire for novelty to make a real brand connection,” Parker added.