Virus Changes Shopping Habits    

Results of a new survey suggest that Americans are changing the way they shop as uncertainty and anxiety rise across the country due to COVID-19. In fact, three of four consumers (76 percent) are adjusting their shopping habits, according to research by shopping rewards app Shopkick, which polled 24,400 consumers across America between March 16 – 18, 2020.

Here are the key findings (across demographics):

  • Americans are stocking up on essentials. Nearly half (47 percent) of consumers reported stocking up on essential items, with 78 percent saying it made them feel “safer.” These essentials include food items and water (93 percent), toiletries (74 percent), cleaning supplies (58 percent), medicine and medical items (45 percent) and pet supplies (41 percent). To 85 percent of Americans, brand names do not matter during times like these.

  • Consumers are taking extra precautions when shopping in-store. Nearly 60 percent of consumers said they worried about shopping in-store. To mitigate their concerns, 85 percent said they were taking one or more additional health precautions, such as disinfecting their hands and shopping carts (92 percent), shopping at slower times (66 percent), using debit/credit cards to avoid handling cash (63 percent) and using self-checkout (59 percent).

  • Only one in four consumers is making more online purchases. Although most consumers are worried about shopping in-store, the majority (76 percent) said they were not shopping online more frequently. However, of those who were, 60 percent said they would continue to shop online more frequently in the future.

  • Across the country, aisles are empty. Nearly 100 percent of consumers noticed household essentials selling out at their usual retailer or grocery store. The essentials include toilet paper (97 percent), hand sanitizer (93 percent), disinfecting wipes (91 percent), bottled water (69 percent), medical items (64 percent) and canned goods (54 percent). In addition, 78 percent reported seeing store purchasing restrictions, such as limits on the number of specific items shoppers could buy.

  • Consumers are still finding time for fun. Despite the current situation, 43 percent of consumers said their spending habits on fun, non-essential purchases had not changed. Five percent even reported spending more money on these types of purchases.

“With most Americans still shopping in-store, retailers need to dedicate resources toward keeping physical locations clean, essential items stocked and providing options for health precautions,” said David Fisch, general manager of Shopkick. “Right now, it is critical for retailers to have a finger on the pulse of what is most essential to consumers, especially as the situation continues to evolve.”

Big Brands Step Up during Pandemic

Many of the country’s largest food companies are giving bonuses to employees and hiring new ones to cope with the coronavirus outbreak. Others are giving cash to organizations on the front lines of fighting the virus.

For example, Hormel Foods giving more than $4 million in bonuses to 13,000 plant workers who provide high-quality food during the pandemic. Mondelez has pledged $15 to support communities during the outbreak and are extending paid sick leave for employees affected by the virus. Procter & Gamble’s Global Disaster Relief team has donated more than $5 million in cash and products such as diapers, deodorant and toothbrushes to at-risk communities. Clorox Company Foundation donated $5 million to three organizations on the front lines of fighting coronavirus: Direct Relief, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation's Emergency Response Fund and the American Red Cross

Beer and Booze for Hand Sanitizers

Major producers of beer and hard liquor are donating millions of liters of alcohol to make hand sanitizers, which have become a hot product during the pandemic. For example, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest beer maker, will start shipping some 50,000 liters of disinfectant made with alcohol removed from its alcohol-free beers for use in hospitals in several European countries.

Diageo, the world’s largest distiller, will donate 2 million liters of grain neutral spirit to help manufacturers make more than 8 million 250-ml bottles of sanitizers that are in short supply in countries hard hit by the virus. Pernod Ricard, maker of Jameson whiskey, donated 70,000 liters of alcohol for use in hydroalcoholic gel.

Keeping Pace with eCommerce

Just 17% of brand leaders believe their organizations are ahead of the curve when it comes to organizing for eCommerce, compared with the vast majority (71%) who report they are merely keeping pace or catching up.

Those are the key results of a study from Kantar, a data and consulting company and eCommerce performance analytics company Profitero. The companies surveyed nearly 200 brand leaders at consumer products companies globally to understand trends in how companies are organizing and strategizing for eCommerce.

The survey findings reveal that many manufacturers are still unprepared when it comes to readying their business for digital transformation, with most organizations lacking a true strategy for integrating eCommerce into the overall business structure, and many continuing to operate in “channel silos.” For example, 40% of respondents report that their organizations lack concrete goals or measurable objectives for eCommerce. Only 11% say that each functional team in their organization has specific eCommerce goals built into strategic growth plans and KPIs.

“Our 2019 survey shows that most manufacturers have fully embraced eCommerce as a strategic necessity, but still have a long way to go when it comes to integrating it into every facet of the business,” said Keith Anderson, SVP Strategy and Insight at Profitero. “It’s evident that CEOs need to be investing more to modernize their organizations for digital transformation and most importantly, doing more to include eCommerce in the job descriptions of everyone in the company.”

Management Solution Reduces OOS for General Merchandise

Three quarters of general merchandise suppliers using its Out-Of-Stock (OOS) Management Solution from ReposiTrak improved direct-store delivery are reducing out-of-stocks by an average of 75 percent.

The company’s OOS Management identifies out-of-stock opportunities so suppliers can work with retailers to maintain on-the-shelf inventory. Although out-of-stocks has been an issue for years in food retail, on-the-shelf product availability has taken on a critical urgency for traditional food retailers as shoppers now have the option of ordering products online.

General merchandise suppliers using the out-of-stock management solution made improvements in available shelf inventory in less than three months.

“We pair technology with people to give general merchandise suppliers the means to reduce out-of-stocks,” said ReposiTrak Chairman and CEO Randy Fields. “We provide suppliers with actionable information and then our team of experts works with them to identify opportunities for reducing out-of-stocks.”

The ReposiTrak Platform drives growth and supports supply and demand activities for retailers, manufacturers, and their trading partners, consisting of three product families; Compliance & Risk Management, Supply Chain Solutions and MarketPlace Sourcing and B2B Commerce.



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                                                                         Early April 2020
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