Research Proposal

US Retail Channel Trends and Disruptions - COVID-19 Impact


To determine how US retail consumer needs and expectations have changed due to COVID-19. To determine how innovative retailers have responded as a result and provide case studies showing the business metric impact (or success metrics) of these innovations.

Early Findings

US Retail Consumer Behavior Changes

  • According to McKinsey's report "Adapting To The Next Normal In Retail: The Customer Experience Imperative", COVID-19 has caused consumers to switch to digital and omnichannel retail.
  • The availability of e-commerce as well as hygiene concerns caused 17% of US retail consumers to shift from their primary stores.
  • US retail consumers are also trying innovative omnichannel models such as buying online and picking up in store (BOPIS).
  • BOPIS grew 28% year-over-year in February 2020 compared to 18% in January.
  • Grocery delivery also increased by 57%.
  • 22% of US consumers are using delivery services more since the pandemic began.
  • US retail consumers showed 'high intention' to continue using innovative models after the pandemic.
  • 56% say they intend to use BOPIS after COVID-19.
  • 45% say they intend to use grocery delivery after COVID-19.

US Retailers' Response and Innovations

  • According to a Digital Commerce 360 survey of 118 retailers in May 2020 including 57 top US marketplaces, 36% of retailers are adjusting their marketplace strategy due to COVID-19.
  • 25% of retailers said they tried to provide their customers with a trusted partner during the pandemic.
  • 25% used data analytics to optimize their buyers' behavior.
  • 23% changed marketing and advertising strategies to adapt to shifting consumer behavior.
  • 13% shifted their business models to accommodate customers' concerns during the crisis.
  • 19% of retailers said their inventory turnover was hindered while 12% said their supply chain was compromised.

Case Study Brief: Panera

  • Missouri-based Panera is one of the retailers who moved swiftly to meet changing consumer expectations at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In two weeks, Panera developed and launched a grocery-delivery service that offered a unified online cart.
  • The company used its supply network to expand its offerings aside from its core business of bread and coffee.
  • Consumers can order entrées and add groceries such as fresh fruits, vegatables, milk and others using the Panera Grocery platform.
  • Panera's offerings come a a time when supermarkets are experiencing shortages in staple grocery items.
  • The company also shifted to curbside ordering and pickup as its cafés shut down due to lockdown measures.
  • Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary said, "It's a win for our associates because we will be able to keep our cafes open longer, and it's great from a business standpoint because it should be incremental profit and revenue for us at a time when we desperately need it."

Case Study Brief: Kendra Scott

Prepared By
Estel M.
CoVid-19 Impact Specialist
1094 assignments | 5.0