How The Pandemic Completely Changed Retail

The pandemic served to change retail in numerous ways including inviting more collaborations between brands and stores and lessening the amount of contact that occurs between people when shopping.

By Trista Sobeck | Published

Pandemic changed retail

The COVID pandemic changed everything for us. It changed our day-to-day and it changed how we interact with each other. In addition, the pandemic changed retail and how we shop. There are many retail trends to look forward to in 2023, but stores are in trouble if they don’t curb their experiences for how folks shop in a post-pandemic world.

We’ve seen the retail space lose workers, beg for workers, and redefine customer service and what it means to modern shoppers. According to Business Insider, the entire retail space is more than likely not going to die but the pandemic changed retailing buying habits, supply chain, and customer experience. 

  1. Stores Are Fulfilment Centers: Stores are relying more and more on their own network of locations to help keep stock up to date throughout their locations. The pandemic changed retail in this way in a response to keep up with e-commerce demand.

    Instead of relying on fulfilment centers in the middle of the country, stores rely on each other. In addition, don’t expect to see curb-side pick-up fade into history either. A huge percentage of shoppers under 50 take part in curb-side pickup. Another way the pandemic changed retails is through returns. If you do choose to go back to the store for a return, chances are, they’ll just tell you to keep it. 
  1. No More Interaction: In the past, shoppers would go to certain stores based solely on how they interacted with customers. If the store was known for amazing customer service, more folks would flock there. However, the pandemic changed retail as the space has upped its software and hardware for less interaction. This was done in hopes to curb face-to-face interaction in an attempt to keep people from getting sick.

    So look for more self-checkouts to pop up in the coming year. We first experienced self check out mostly in grocery stores, but expect to see them more frequently in big box retail stores like Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and even H&M. 
  1. Collabs with big brands will lead to a true shopping experience. Although we clearly don’t want anyone to help or bother us when they are shopping, the pandemic changed retail in a way we didn’t expect. If we are going to leave the house for any reason, stores better make it a good one. So, they are teaming up with movies and shows in order to create shopping experiences and adventures that are one of a kind.

    Walmart recently teamed up with Netflix’s Stranger Things television show to create an in-store “Upsidedown”-like area filled with branded products like mugs, t-shirts, hats, and more. Look for Walmart to expand its Netflix hub to include more shows and deepen the experience. Walmart will also expand with a Roblox collab where shoppers can use AR to experience a game while they pick up dinner.

The pandemic changed retail and if in-person stores do not keep up with online shopping, true brand experiences, and ease of returns, retail stores can look forward to going the way of the dinosaurs. When you can get everything online and don’t have to leave the house, why bother shopping just for fun?