TO THE RESCUE
WITH SHOPPERS HUNKEREDDOWN, THE RETAIL INDUSTRYIS TRYING TO MAKE THEIN-STORE EXPERIENCE ASCONTACTLESS AS POSSIBLE.
BY ERIKA MORPHY Between March 12th and March 15th, order volume for online gro- cery retailers surged an eye-pop- ping 210% compared to the sameperiod in 2019, according to RakutenIntelligence . Separately, NetElixir reportedthat online food sales rose 183% betweenMarch 1 and 25, compared with the sameperiod last year.
What do these numbers tell us? One obvious conclusion is that consumers are stayinghome while the coronavirus is still on therampage and taking advantage of onlinegrocery offerings. But reading between thelines, we can also determine that people areafraid. They are not coming out to shop forgroceries, even though it is a permittedactivity under the shelter-in-place ordersthat have spread across the US.
In addition, it is debatable whether peoplewill be willing to be among crowds evenwhen state and local governments give theall-clear. While grocery stores should befine —after all, they are essential businesses and their online activities are likelyto continue to grow —retailers in generalwill have a quandary. How will they convince shoppers it is safe to come to theirstores? The answer is clear: they will haveto pivot and invest in technologies thatmake the retail transaction as contactlessas possible.
MOBILIZING EXISTING TECHNOLOGYSome of this technology already exists buthas only had limited rollout, such as augmented reality. Tech and retail experts,though, expect retailers to finally embrace