There has never been a period of disruption to the ways in which we buy and pay like 2020.
Trends toward online and omnichannel didn’t just accelerate, they jumped years. Shoppers were forced to adapt to an ever-shifting set of rules and change how they acquire everything from food and groceries to entertainment. They ramped up and doubled down on their online shopping skills. And most miraculous of all, my mom, who is not exactly what you’d call a digital native, can now Venmo. What does this new shopping world look like in the future?
Just ask Kettlestrings Tavern in Oak Park, Ill. The corner tap and restaurant expected to open in mid-March 2020 on a one-two punch of St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness driving traffic. Instead, on opening night, the only sporting content the TV networks could muster with all the leagues paused were reruns of used car auctions. Opening night looked more like closing night.
But Kettlestrings pivoted: It launched online and phone ordering; takeout and delivery; to-go cocktails and beer; third-party delivery apps; tents constructed for outdoor seating in converted parking spots; and TVs moved outside. Instead of shuttering, it survived. Many businesses didn’t adapt fast enough and didn’t make it.
Others, like Target, Best Buy, Walmart and Amazon thrived, posting strong and even record earnings, as they’d been investing in online and were positioned to scale quickly.
Ipsos data shows that although people miss much about in-person shopping, they don’t expect to go all the way back. They have built new habits and skills. They also want to keep them going and take advantage of the newfound convenience of ordering staples online, having them deposited in the back of their pickups and SUVs. Or just having it all show up at their doorstep.
2020 changed everything. And if you think that year was bonkers for buying, just wait until you read about what’s coming next, in the move from online to virtual. My mom’s digital avatar will see you there. Just kidding. That’s probably pushing it.