This is Part 2 of the 3-part series which will shed light on the shopping trends emerging post lockdown. The purpose of this 3-part series is to help retailers and merchants revive customer sentiments in the post lockdown period and promote spending. You can view Part 1 here.

This article will cover three more key shopping trends emerging –

Digital means productivity

With only digital communication possible during lockdown, there is a level of digital awareness in Indians unseen before.  This has brought about a realization of the power of superior digital tools in improving productivity and communication. The increased digital awareness has led to a surge in the need to upgrade digital tools.

In the short-term, sales of laptops and other work-from-home equipment such as routers, printers, and other accessories could see a surge. In the mid-term, there could be increased investments for buying a high-end mobile, licensed software, anti-virus, and other productivity tools.

Data shows that the first discretionary category to surge upon lockdown easing was higher-end mobiles and IT.  Post lockdown easing, sales of the > ₹10k average ticket size category rose 15%, indicating the purchase of higher-value goods in this period.  It looks like unavailability of zero cost EMI schemes did not worry consumers as they readily availed high interest EMI schemes, clearly showcasing their need for these high-end digital products.

Paper is less safe – but safe enough

Throughout the lockdown, currency transactions continued to remain as the leading mode of payments. The fear around handling cash was far lesser than it was thought to be, indicated by the prevalence of cash transactions. Similarly, the hesitation around handling paper bills and charge-slips was more in the mind and did not translate to reality. With consumers having to touch products and packaging that had been handled by others, there was a transition to digital payments and electronic bills and charge-slips, but moderate.

Touchless payment modes such as contactless card payments and UPI however did see a surge, primarily driven by safety and convenience.

A direct correlation of safety and hygiene with knowledge was also visible, with the touchless payments gaining precedence in the pharmacy segment vis-à-vis others, where the cashiers tend to be more educated.

Shopping experiences will transcend channel barriers

It looks like shopping experiences being straight-jacketed into online, offline, and delivery experiences could be a thing of the past.  With consumers wishing to spend minimal time in stores, however still not wanting to lose the ‘touch and feel’ of products, the need for new payment experiences may emerge that span across a consumer’s journey between offline and online spaces.

Few interesting examples displaying this are –

a) Customer orders over a call, delivery happens in-person with pre-payment through UPI or post-payment at the time of delivery through UPI QR code printed on the bill,

b) Customer visits a store, selects a product but the right size is unavailable, the order is placed online and payment is taken in-store,

c) Customer places an online order from the comfort of their home, selects pre-payment or post-payment option, visits the closest brand store to pick-up the product and complete payment (in case of post-pay).

In the imminent future, the key aspect of blending offline and online experiences will be reconciliation and control. To provide the optimal shopping experience, merchants will need to deeply integrate their online and offline platforms, payment systems, and supply chain.

Look out for the upcoming part which will elaborate on relevance of offers in today’s times, customers’ expectations of the shopping experience and the prevalence of higher basket sizes in today’s times.

 

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