COVID-19 transformed our lives in a lot of different ways, from social distancing and mask-wearing to changes in food delivery services. A lot has changed and the same goes for how we shop. With the introduction of social distancing and lockdowns restricting our movements the impact on how we shop was instant. But now the vaccine rollout has started, restrictions are easing, and it would seem like the way we shop will go back to normal right? Well, that might not be the case, so how has it changed?
General hygiene in public places was of high importance during the height of the pandemic and as we start to get it under control, this change is likely here to stay. Stores started to buy bulk hand sanitiser to have for public use to ensure hands were germ-free and contact was safe. This is still happening today, with almost every retail, grocery, and department store having ‘hand sanitizer stations’ at every entrance and exit for customer use. Even though this was set up purely to stop or limit the spread of COVID-19, keeping up with general hygiene in public spaces is now normal and will be here to stay when shopping in the future.
Public shopping centers now have also boosted cleaning schedules to ensure their public places are clean and hygienic for customers to visit. It’s now not enough to simply do the minimum, shopping centers and malls need to present an area that’s clean and hygienic in order to attract customers to visit and shop at their center and not elsewhere.
Apart from hygiene peoples are now keeping health devices like oximeters, BP monitors and thermometers at their home to take important measurements related to their health.
The Digital Marketplace
There has also been a big shift to digital marketplaces. While retailers and shopping outlets have had online stores for a while now, they have really only been popular with younger generations and the majority of the population was still opting for a brick-and-mortar shopping experience. COVID-19 changed this in a major way, introducing masses of people to the convenience and ease of digital shopping.
Online shopping across all sectors jumped to levels unseen before, even delivery services couldn’t keep up with the amount of store shipping items out to homes. But this change hasn’t just impacted retailers, even grocery stores have adopted this change and it’s now common to get groceries picked out and delivered straight to your door.
These changes were a big shock to the population at the start of the pandemic; however as we learned to understand the changes and live with them; they have now become the new normal. Even as the globe gets the virus under control with vaccines and added safety measures these changes will stick around into the future and the way we shop won’t be the same as it was pre-COVID.