In the spring, at the beginning of the pandemic in the U.S., the RWS team kicked into overdrive, providing independent retailers with an array of resources and actionable recommendations to reach shoppers. 

Ever since, the team has been focused on helping its retailer customers adapt to the new set of criteria consumers have been using to make decisions: What will keep me and my family as safe and healthy as possible? A Google survey revealed that more than 50 percent of shoppers want to know how businesses are responding to the crisis.

As a result of social distancing, contactless sales and delivery where shoppers don’t have to enter a store to buy has skyrocketed. While some consumers are eager to come into a store, RWS research shows that there will continue to be a large group of shoppers that won’t. This could range anywhere between 30 to 70 percent of consumers who will prefer to shop from the safety and comfort of their homes. 

The Google survey revealed that during the pandemic, 24 percent of surveyed shoppers went online to purchase something they would normally buy in-store, and 87 percent of them said they’d try it again.

RWS has been working closely with retailers to ensure they have, at a minimum, a strong online presence that meets the demand for contactless sales. A fully-optimized, e-commerce website should be properly merchandised, giving consumers an intentionally crafted experience just like in stores. And that’s not all. If they’re not already, retailers should:    

  • Ensure their salesforce can sell effectively via phone, online chat and text, using the website as the primary showroom.   
  • Train and equip their delivery team, developing new procedures for minimum contact delivery. 
  • Update website messaging (and advertising) to communicate with consumers their store is open and taking the proper precautions to serve them, making it easy for consumers to do business with the retailer through a variety of options.
  • Maintain supply and availability of financing options.    

Another Google survey shows consumers are searching differently:

Searches for “curbside pickup” and “home delivery” grew by 70 percent and over 100 percent, respectively, over the week ending March 28.

60 percent of U.S. consumers searched online for “what’s open near me?”

The RWS team has been making everyday adjustments to retailers’ WebFronts® to satisfy consumers’ “need to know.” To learn more about maintaining a useful and relevant e-commerce site that supports sales, check out the following “A Dozen Tips to Make Your Site an Effective Tool for Your Sales Team” infographic below: