The COVID-19 pandemic has worked big changes on how we shop—and on what we expect from the places where we do it. People paid more attention to the indoor spaces where they had to spend time, especially food stores and other retail locations selling essential products. Many retailers imposed restrictions on the number of people allowed in store at any one time, disinfected high-touch areas like shopping cart handles, and regularly reminded shoppers to practice social distancing. Grocery shopping became a functional task, with shoppers visiting the store well-prepared: making their shopping lists before venturing on site, for example, instead of visiting the store for inspiration. Neighborhood markets were no longer places to bump into friends and spend some time catching up. Instead, people kept to themselves, collecting everything on their shopping lists and checking out as quickly as possible. The usage of self-checkout scanner devices skyrocketed, as many shoppers preferred checking themselves out instead of queueing up. Many retailers expect this habit to stick in the post-pandemic era, as a large number of shoppers now include self-scanning and self-checkout as part of their shopping routine.
Shoppers decreased their number of store visits overall, opting instead for multiday or weekly store purchases. Shoppers also spent more money per shopping trip, indulging in more and premium groceries as bars and restaurants were closed. Pierre Nicolas-Schwab of French market research firm IntoTheMinds reports that “consumers are buying more in less time. As a result, the ratio of spending on time spent in the store has increased by 49%.” Similarly, in their report Disruption & Uncertainty: The State of Grocery Retail 2021, Europe, McKinsey & Company found that “European consumers reduced their shopping frequencies by around 5 percent on average, while increasing basket sizes by approximately 16 percent.”
The increased basket sizes further fueled the adoption of self-scanning, as shoppers could bag their groceries along their shopping journey without having to unload their carts at checkout. The rapid adoption of these new scanning and checkout procedures gave shoppers a taste for an autonomous shopping journey. Increasingly, shoppers want a first-time-right store journey, finding everything on their list and checking out as efficiently as possible.
Internet of Things (IoT) lighting solutions, including autonomous shopping capabilities, are helping grocery retailers meet these challenges and thrive in the post-pandemic era.