The survey revealed a shift towards restored confidence among consumers to shop in-store one year into the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of consumers are neutral (28%) or unconcerned (22%) about shopping in-store. While a third (34%) are still concerned, only 16 percent said they were currently very concerned. Comparatively, in Sensormatic Solutions’ April 2020 survey, 79 percent of respondents were either concerned (20%), moderately concerned (30%) or very concerned (29%) about shopping in-store.
“Shopping used to be many things to many people: a casual in-and-out, a chance for discovery, or just part of a daily routine,” said Kim Melvin, global leader of marketing, Sensormatic Solutions. “However, due to COVID-19, health and safety naturally became a top priority for shoppers. To aid in restoring consumer confidence as stores either stayed open or reopened, retailers found ways to provide a safer and more comfortable environment. This included offering alternate fulfillment options, implementing technology that monitors store occupancy for social distancing compliance, and incorporating self-checkout and contactless payment options.”
In fact, when the survey respondents were asked what technologies would make them feel more comfortable shopping in-store, results showed that consumers preferred social distancing monitoring (53%), self-checkout (53%), and mask detection (47%).
Shift to Free Standing Stores and Unified Commerce
Sensormatic’s survey also found that more than half of consumers (54%) shop most frequently for non-essential products at freestanding stores/strip centers, followed by open-air shopping centers (16%), online (14%), enclosed malls (9%), and outlets (7%). This aligns with Sensormatic Solutions Shopper Insights data, which has found that enclosed malls are consistently underperforming other format types by about 10 percent from pre-pandemic levels.
Although consumers are shifting to freestanding stores and open-air shopping centers, their use of unified commerce services have remained consistent since the start of the pandemic. Just over a third (37%) of respondents reported using buy-online, pick-up-in store (BOPIS) and buy-online, curbside-pickup (34%) in the last month, a slight increase from when they were asked the same question in April 2020.
“As retailers prioritize digitization efforts to meet shopper demands, it is critical to shift toward a higher level of precision,” continued Melvin. “During the pandemic, many retailers created supply chain and fulfillment efficiencies to meet heightened customer expectations. Those that adopted technology for item level inventory accuracy were able to deliver seamless shopper experiences and capitalize on increasingly popular fulfillment options, like BOPIS and curbside pickup, during a challenging time. This puts those retailers in a position of strength to continue meeting and exceeding consumer expectations now and in the future.”
Sensormatic Solutions and its intelligent operating platform for retail, Sensormatic IQ, is a vital component of Johnson Controls OpenBlue technologies and innovations which promotes healthy people, healthy places and healthy planet. Sensormatic Solutions is helping retailers solve complex challenges related to consumer confidence, health and safety as part of its mission. To learn how the company is supporting the retail industry’s needs during the pandemic, visit the Sensormatic Solutions’ COVID-19 Retail Security Needs.
Sensormatic Solutions collected responses between February 19 – March 10, 2021 from 1,000 US-based consumers, 18-years and older, via a third-party provider to determine findings of its Consumer Sentiment Survey.