How shopper behaviour might change post-lockdown

Shopper behaviours, insight and impact on British retailers as lockdown eases

‘Uncertain times’. It’s a phrase that certainly fits the general public, but has been a complete understatement for UK retailers. 

Shopper behaviour post-lockdown, it will inevitably change. Shoppers young and old have adapted their habits and while online retailers like Boohoo have seen a cosmic-sized boom in their customer base (1), brick and mortar stores like Primark have shut down completely leaving 1.5 billion of stock in their wake (2).

Now, as stores open from June 15th and pubs and restaurants follow on the 22nd, we’ll explore how this’ll impact shopper behaviour and how stores can drive revenue in this volatile market.

Harnessing momentum

In a recent YouGov survey a huge 61% of shoppers supported English high streets reopening June 15th (3). Social media is awash with comments supporting our favourite stores opening their doors, prophesying an initial rise in profit and footfall. 

We’re craving what we couldn’t get in lockdown and actively looking to rebuild behaviours. Reinstating these old habits is vital, so strike while the iron is hot, to change shopper behaviour post-lockdown.

Pret have already opened their doors and to celebrate are offering a ‘20 coffees for £20’ gift voucher. A genius tactic, owning the moment and establishing regularity while teeming generosity. All the while reintroducing customers to the coffee shop experience.

Building consumer confidence

As much as we’re ready for normality, we’re proceeding with caution, adversely affecting shopper behaviour.

Nottingham Business School research associate Nelson Blackley said retailers would “need to clearly communicate and demonstrate to consumers their absolute commitment to providing a safe environment for both their staff and customers.”(4)

While sanitation stations and signage are a given, a recent Intu study found the majority of customers want to see tech-based solutions. 60% actively encourage the introduction of temperature scan on store entry, CCTV technology to control crowds and cashless stores (5).

This can be done without costly repercussions. Self-scanning is a familiar behaviour in supermarkets, Wilko are trialing it at select staff tills – reinforcing their commitment to safety while not having to change their store layout. 

Reinstating the social experience

Shopping is widely viewed as a social experience – from idly perusing shelves to post-shop coffee. But, with a flurry of tech-based solutions, shopping alone preferable and one-way systems dictating browsing, how will this change shopper behaviour?

We can look to other countries to find answers. Customer intention is evolving across the world. In Europe and China, over 50% plan to leave home to get together with friends and family (6) – with dining out, going to a hair or nail salon, or working outside the home seen across most countries. However, intent to travel, shop at malls, or attend crowded indoor events remains low. 

Adaptability is key. Turn your marketing to reminding customers of the benefits of socialising and adding nostalgia to reinforce behaviour.

More from The Behaviours Agency 

An understanding of your customers’ habits and behaviours as we ease back into normality is key for growth. If you want to know more, join us for our series of webinars, gain insight on our blog or get in touch today.

By Ellen Jackson

Creative Copywriter