There is good news for the offline retail industry. Shoppers are gradually returning to physical stores and dining outlets, marking a shift from the predominantly online consumer habits of 2020.
Data from Zenreach, marketing software providers for brick-and-mortar businesses, shows that since the start of 2021, in-store consumer visits have been increasing.
In-Store Shopping on the Rise
The data shows that compared to the same time in 2020, in-store visits are up 12.5%. During the first three months of 2021, visits to physical stores have slowly increased by 28.5% since the start of the year.
The research is important for retailers as it uncovers trends emerging as markets begin to open up. Illustrating the regions where in-store shopping is most active could be important to retailers looking to move to more destinations that are showing greater signs of in-store shopping recovery.
The shift back to in-store shopping represents a triumph for the retail industry, which has been a leading casualty of the pandemic.
Retailers Need to Prepare as Consumer Confidence Grows
With physical shopping increasing as consumers grow in confidence, small retailers that are currently operating solely online or closed altogether, may want to prepare their store for reopening. Such preparation might include marketing and promoting the reopening, getting products together to sell in-store, and recruiting staff.
Talking to Small Biz Trends, Megan Wintersteen, Vice President of Zenreach, reiterated the importance of preparing for the uptick in offline shopping:
“The past year has been full of starts and stops, which creates uncertainty and makes it challenging for business owners to understand where the market is headed. However, the positive momentum we’ve seen over the past quarter reflects the pent-up consumer demand and shows that people are anxious to get back to some level of normalcy.
“This should signal to brick-and-mortar businesses that it’s time to start considering what operations look like as we start to transition to a post-COVID world: expanding their hours, bringing back staff, and ultimately picking up their marketing efforts again to work towards bringing back their existing customer base and recruiting new customers, as well,” said Wintersteen.
Top Ten Locations Where In-Store Shopping has Increased the Most
The data also looks at the top ten locations in the United States where consumers are doing most in-store shopping.
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington has witnessed the greatest increase in in-store visits, up almost 52% since January 1, 2021.
This is followed by Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, where in-store visits are up around 33% since the start of the year. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario has seen a jump of 39% during the last three months.
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford has witnessed a 36% increase in in-store shoppers, followed by Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, which has seen a 35% rise.
The number of in-store visits at Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta has increased by more than 26%. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise has seen as 14% rise. New Orleans-Metairie has experienced almost a 13% rise in the number of people visiting stores since January 1, 2021.
In light of the positive outlook concerning brick-and-mortar consumer habits, retailers should embrace the trend and adequately prepare their offline outlets to cater for the renewed consumer confidence around shopping in stores.