This past year has forced many consumers to hunker down in their homes and out of stores. However, as states reopen and vaccines are becoming more readily available, some of the trends, such as the most prominent, contactless shopping, that has gained traction during the pandemic will not disappear any time soon. Retailers must adapt and develop long-term strategies for these hot, contactless consumer shopping trends.

The invisible bagger will live on

Trapped at home equates to online shopping and for many consumers, it also means new types of online shopping including grocery and food delivery services. According to McKinsey research categories such as grocery, household supplies, and health care products are expected to exceed 35% in growth over the next year. Many consumers are looking to continue ordering these categories online even after stores open. It will be more important than ever for retailers to try and distinguish themselves amongst a plethora of competitors.

One way for retailers to set themselves apart is to offer a seamless checkout process. Retailers can also recommend products to consumers based on past purchases. The most important way for retailers to remain above the rest, is to deliver products harm-free and on time. Although the consumer is not shopping in-store, the experience and the quality of the products remain of the utmost importance.

Self-checkout will continue to increase

Those consumers who still prefer to shop in stores have also shifted their behaviors due to social distancing. However, the in-store contactless shopping trend is expecting to continue after COVID-19 dissipates. In fact, 79% of consumers intend to continue or increase their usage of self-checkout in retail after COVID-19 with Millennials and Gen Z leading the adoption of increased contactless activities. Although this quick adoption is mostly found in grocery stores and big-box retailers, brands need to find new ways of engaging with their customers during the buying process.  This could be a reminder of something they buy weekly or a bonus coupon on an item in their cart. The more you engage beneficially with your customers, the better their experience and the more loyal they will become.

Brand loyalties are dying

These contactless consumer shopping trends have hit big brands hard. There has been a shift for more experimentation with private labels or off-brands as more people remain at home. In fact, 80% percent of customers who started using a private brand during the pandemic indicate they intend to continue using it once the COVID-19 crisis subsides. Luxury brands heavily rely on customer experience in-store as a core part of the purchase. Now, these brands need to find new ways to differentiate themselves online. Private labels provide a product, well-known brands provide a positive feeling utilizing that product. This positive emotion is the key thing brands will need to translate into a seamless, symbiotic contactless experience.