Reinventing the Shopper Experience…Are You Ready?

Margo Jay
5 min readMar 29, 2021

Back in the spring, we were all hopeful that lockdowns would be temporary. We hoped that, by acting early, we could get this situation in the rearview mirror. As we keep moving through the fall, though, it seems we’re in this for the long-haul. The second wave of sorts is here. And perhaps more or other waves yet to come.

We all have plenty of opinions and feelings about this. But the one question keeping Marketers awake at night is what does this mean for consumer shopping habits and how do we ensure our brands continue to be part of consumers’ consideration sets.

Lockdowns Forced a Move Online

The springtime lockdown had many people switching to online shopping for almost everything. Retail stores were shuttered, unless they were deemed “essential” businesses. That meant the grocery store was open, but your favourite café likely wasn’t. A pharmacy was open, but auto dealers and clothing retailers had to shut down.

Consumers and brands alike looked to the online space to find continuity. You couldn’t go visit a store and try on the clothes, but you could order them online.

Fear of exposure also drove some people to extremes. They may have felt uncomfortable going out, even for groceries. And if you were quarantined, you weren’t supposed to leave your property at all. That means no quick runs to the store to pick up milk if you happened to run out.

Some people asked friends and family to help, but there was also an uptick in delivery services. UberEats, SkiptheDishes, and DoorDash all saw booms in demand for takeout. Plenty of restaurants that had relied on in-person dining now switched to delivery.

They weren’t the only ones. Smaller retailers offered telephone and online orders, along with delivery and curbside pick-up. The LCBO in Ontario, for example, let you order wine and pick it up curbside. Some cannabis shops did the same thing.

Grocery stores and pharmacies also offered similar options. There was a sudden push to offer delivery, particularly for supermarkets.

We’ve seen online grocery efforts before. Amazon lets you buy plenty of grocery items. Grocery Gateway had been operating in Toronto for some time…

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Margo Jay
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