• Newsletter The COVID consumer responds as 'Everywhere Retail' emerges


Monthly Tonic - Issue 05

What learnings can we take from the short term consumer behaviour and retailers tactical reaction to COVID-19, that will inform our longer term strategic planning for the future of retail?


Not sure about you, but I am feeling a sense of COVID-19 fatigue. Working remotely for nearly eleven weeks has brought its challenges, but also provided many benefits. It has given me plenty of time to consume the countless articles, webinars and podcasts that are devoted to how retail will RE-imagine, RE-engineer, RE-boot and RE-shape itself, as a ‘new normal’ emerges.

Retailers everywhere are RE-acting and RE-sponding with tactical solutions to get their doors open and people shopping again! It is truly amazing how many people I have spoken to, miss 'the shops' and need a little 'retail therapy' to bring a bit of happiness back into their daily lives. I am very encouraged by this emotional response to missing the face-to-face social, educational and entertaining experiences that physical retail delivers so well. With so many consistent themes emerging from across the retail sector, it's been challenging to curate our monthly newsletter and share only the best of the best and most inspiring articles that are driving our daily studio zoom sessions. I hope you find the below links helpful.

Fundamental social and economic changes All of the actions taken to 'flatten the curve' are the expressions of the latest global movement for social justice, akin to 'me too' and 'black lives matter'. An excellent article from Wired highlights how this pandemic has driven a social response around inequalities, echoing community, equality and empathy. A stark reminder that it shouldn’t take a global pandemic to remind us that we are connected

Taking the opinions of key reporters and correspondents across many sectors, the BBC's article highlights twelve social and economic changes they have seen, and potentially might see due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides a comprehensive summary with integrated links to supporting information and reports.

We are experiencing similar local and global responses to shared changing behaviours. McKinsey's report provides a good summary of global consumer behaviour and sentiment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with statistical and graphical information about how different cultures and economies are reacting and what consumers are purchasing.

Forbes' article discusses what changes we might see in the US retail landscape after restrictions are loosened. It highlights several short-term habits that may stay with consumers, such as increased awareness of germs and prominence of online shopping for specific sectors. Though, who knows what habits will stick long term.

Re-shaping retail is an evolution, not a revolution This insightful article in Forbes by Katie Baron outlines several key adaptations retail businesses have made in response to COVID-19 as well as discussing some consumer attitudes and behaviours. It is filled with great examples of business responses and innovation that has come from this period.

Staff safety is a primary focus While retail unemployment is a significant issue, so too is the health and safety of retail staff that remain employed. The Harvard Business Review discusses actions retailers need to take to ensure staff protection. The ability to protect workers may be critical for consumer loyalty post-COVID, as consumers become aware of staff hardships and become more conscious of which brands they choose to support.

The retail store as a vending machine of the future This article by Brittain Ladd provides a fascinating alternative perspective on the future of retail post-COVID-19. He argues that rather than a shift towards experiential retail, there will be a drive for convenience and optimisation - projecting the retail store of the future will be akin to a vending machine.

We have written a series of insight pieces that outline what we think the future retail landscape might look like in the new normal, post COVID-19. With the intention to be provocative and to encourage a broader discussion, we build on seven emerging attitudes and behaviours to redefine an emerging 'Everywhere Retail' construct. You can read the full set of articles here.

Feel free to get in touch if you'd like to discuss further.

Kind regards

In Quinine's ‘Monthly Tonic' newsletter, we share the key articles, reports and research studies that are driving the conversations we are having here in the studio. Each newsletter is based around a single theme that extends beyond retail to explore broader social and cultural influences shaping the changing world around us. We share a range of insights, perspectives and points of view that are positively impacting the direction we are heading and the discussions we are having with our clients. The following newsletter was shared with all our friends, clients and Quinine community members. If you would like to receive our next issue, please sign up here!