Shoppers Are Stressed, Appreciative of Retail Workers

Shoppers Are Stressed but Appreciative of Retail Workers
Shoppers report having little money to waste as retailers wonder about upcoming holiday sales.

Retailers usually want to surprise and delight shoppers, but thanks to COVID-19, those emotions have been replaced by stress and anxiety, which are less conducive to sales.

New research from Kelton Global shows that 81% of in-store shoppers during these extraordinary times want additional information to assess whether it's safe to visit a store, and that 64% of consumers are trying to touch as few items as possible when searching retail aisles. As well, 59% of shoppers would rather use self-service instead of employee interaction.

The survey report also found that consumers “value the essential contributions of store employees more than ever before, with 7 in 10 saying they've been feeling more appreciation since the start of the outbreak.” That could be good news for food retail employees hoping for continued pay raises and bonuses from their employers.

Even so, retailers might take note that consumers still have relatively little money to waste. The report found that the percentage of those on a “strict budget” remains high at 74%. “We believe this means that while consumers are starting to feel better, they’re still watching spending and being cautious. In other words, their optimistic attitudes aren’t yet converting into actions,” the report stated. But as time passes during the pandemic, fewer consumers report being extremely or very concerned about the virus — down to 59% compared with 74% near the start of the pandemic.

"Collectively, our data suggest some key takeaways for retail brands trying to find the way forward right now," said Martin Eichholz, Kelton's chief insights officer. "Reassure people that it's not all on them individually to navigate this new world. Ease tension over the unpredictability of other shoppers. Demonstrate that you care, and that you're putting people ahead of profits."

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