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‘Plexiglass will last for a while’: Shoppers are still worried about COVID but return to the store


Target Corp.
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Chief executive Brian Cornell told reporters it will recently adhere to safety measures taken during the pandemic in the near future.

“The focus on safety will be of interest to consumers for many years to come,” he said. “We will continue to work towards ensuring a safe, non-contact environment. Plexiglass will last for a while, and we will continue to encourage social exclusion. ”

However, Target is gearing up for the day when shoppers will revert to some of their pre-pandemic behaviors, like staying in stores to see what’s new and exciting, rather than simply to pick up. an online order.

“We are preparing for a customer that will take longer to shop the entire store. We hope to see more boosters continue to grow as customers take longer, ”he said.

As people begin to “take off their yoga pants” and start shopping for the parties, events, and luggage they need to spend more time outside of the home, Target says the innovation “will adds vitality to certain parts. “

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, but a year away, the vaccine is roll out, travel plan in the making and for some, it’s time to party.

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For most others, this is still a time to be cautious even if the dim light at the end of a pandemic shines a little brighter.

According to the American Psychological Association’s “Tensions in America” ​​report about the pandemic a year later, 57 percent of black Americans said they “felt
uncomfortable about adjusting to direct interaction when a pandemic ends. “Fifty-one percent of Asian Americans, 50 percent Hispanics, and 47 percent white Americans feel the same way.

And almost half of Gen Z (46%) adults say their mental health has deteriorated, followed by Gen Xers (33%), millennials (31%), boom ( 28%) and the elderly (9%).

Stephen Rogers, executive director of Deloitte Insights Consumer Industry Center, says this is a growing situation.

Read: Aim to spend $ 4 billion annually over the next few years to build ‘record’ by 2020

“It took a long year to get to this point,” he told MarketWatch. “But stories of larger gatherings – once that starts to happen, I think consumer confidence about leaving and leaving will continue to grow.”

Deloitte data released on Monday shows anxiety levels are starting to decline, with 64% of Americans feeling safe when they visit stores, up from 51% at the end of December.

In the United States, nearly many surveyed consumers are worried about signing a COVID-19 because they are worried about their finances (51% and 48%, respectively,) the Deloitte report. ).

And more and more people are planning to spend money on clothing and eating out, even if one in three says they will wait until after the pandemic to go on vacation.

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The most recent COVID-19 Community Mobile Report shows that visits to places like restaurants, shopping malls, theme parks and museums in the United States are down 10% from previous COVIDs. there.

“What we are telling retailers and what they are telling us is that there needs to be much more detail in their understanding of,” said Anthony Waelter, US consumer industry leader at Deloitte LLP. consumers.

“They need to deepen a deep affinity with consumers – acknowledging that there are different physical and financial perspectives.”

Watch: 3 ways in which the role of TV has changed during the pandemic

Wearing a mask has the potential to cause social dissonance and other safety measures that consumers are already familiar with. But now, says Rogers, retailers need to “balance” being cautious and moving forward as people become more comfortable with activities that will bring them back into the public space.

One thing not to be missed is online shopping, which developed before COVID-19 and accelerated during the pandemic. Both Rogers and Waelter say that the drastic increase in e-commerce started as a safety measure and has become a matter of convenience.

The key now is to develop stores and shopping experiences into one that consumers can enjoy with ease, whether they’re moving aisles, picking orders or trying. try to return an item.

“The role of the store and its associates will be reimagined,” said Rob Garf, vice president of retail and general manager at Salesforce.com Inc..
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.

Also: Walmart added dozens of local automated fulfillment centers to speed order delivery and pickup

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Stores have been turned into mini fulfillment centers and have changed their physical layouts to smaller formats or in-store setting on the horizon; associates have assumed new roles such as service agents and other assignments; and more and more traditional locations no touching.

“There have been a lot of turning points retailers have taken in the past 12 months and they have been forced to rethink the role the store has played in the past decade, but COVID has accelerated it.” Said Garf.

Garf predicts that shoppers will hesitate to return to stores in bulk in the first half of the year, but demand will drive shoppers away in the second half of the year.

Salesforce is now talking to customers about handling that growing volume in terms of both safety and quality of the experience. After all, people will go to the stores not only to buy things but also to have fun in every way that the pandemic has limited.

“What consumers crave is to experience and go through all aspects of someone’s life,” he said.

“Whether it is entertainment, or travel or food, there is a need for this pent-up experience. That might be what drives people back to the store. ”

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