How America Shops ®   COVID-19 Insights

The Road to the 
Next Normal

What you need to know to understand and navigate the COVID-19 crisis, and to build your new Future of Retail.  

Timely US and global shopper and retail insights and inspirations, plus strategic and tactical frameworks so you can anticipate and plan for The Next Normal.

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COVID-19 Shopper & Retail Insights

Continuous shopper and retailer studies, innovative retail examples and tours from around the world, blogs, webinars, and podcasts. The WSL essentials to help you grow in The Next Normal.

Reports

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SHOPPER

Black Shoppers

Shopping behaviors and financial worries are all here in this report that compares Black to Caucasian shoppers. Findings that will lead you to change strategy and rethink priorities will be the willingness of Black shoppers to spend more on healthier choices, their respect for national brands, and perhaps the greatest opportunity is to show them you care.

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SHOPPER

Supporting Shoppers’ Emotional Health in a Crisis

Back when life was ‘normal’ - before facemasks became lifestyle accessories - nearly 45% of shoppers told us stress was the top obstacle to leading a healthy life. Now, the COVID pandemic has created more stressors challenging emotional health...

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RETAIL INNOVATION

What Retailers Can Learn from Restaurants

Shopping isn’t the only thing shoppers have missed. It feels good to dine out again, even if the tables are in the middle of the street. Retailers can learn a thing -- or 5 -- from restaurants and how they are engaging with customers during this time. A little jazz, potted plants, and discounted takeout can go a long way, even putting smiles on those who are just passing by.

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RETAIL INNOVATION

Reopened Retail Part 4: New York City

WSL took a Retail Safari® around two NYC neighborhoods: Herald Square & the Upper West Side to see what retail reopening looked like for Macy’s Herald Square Flagship, Forever 21, Riley Rose, and more.

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SHOPPER & RETAIL

New Report: The Bridge to an Open Society 

As stores re-open, retail will be on a rollercoaster ride.  As shoppers swing from panic stock-up to frugal shopping, categories, brands and retail choices will be impacted. You need to know how to plan for the next 6 – 12 months. This report will will enable you to do just that with deep insights into how shoppers, categories and retail are changing.

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SHOPPER

How to Connect with Struggling Shoppers Today

As we move from health crisis to financial crisis, its crucial to understand how to engage frugal and frightened shoppers who are already asking, “Is this a smart use of my money”?

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RETAIL INNOVATION

Reopened Retail Part 3: Austin, Texas

WSL is continuing our travels looking at Reopened Retail and we have made our way to The Domain – an outdoor shopping mall in Austin, Texas.

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RETAIL INNOVATION

Reopened Retail Part 2: Malls in Fort Worth & Dallas

We went scouting 2 popular shopping malls in Fort Worth & Dallas, to see first-hand how retailers are reopening; what changed, what stayed the same, and what we can learn from it.

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RETAIL INNOVATION

Reopened Retail: A Look Into Texas Shopping Life®

WSL headed into Texas stores (including Macy’s) to see first-hand how these retailers were reopening; what changed, what stayed the same, and what we can learn from it. The results are in and they’re urgent.

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SHOPPER & RETAIL

COVID-19 Insights Series: The Road to The NEXT Normal

4 reports delivered from April to Dec 2020 to enable you to understand where shoppers and retail are headed as we transition from health crisis to financial crisis.  Our experience dealing with retail crises (2001, 2008) and successfully anticipating the future will help you build relevant shopper-led strategies in a post-COVID world.

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SHOPPER & RETAIL

How America Shops® In a COVID-19 Crisis

This is WSL’s first look at how Shopping Life® is changing in ways that will affect you now and long term. Caring Scores are included based on shopper perceptions of which organizations and retailers really care about them.

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Podcasts

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RETAIL

Future Shop Podcast: The Emotional Power of Retail Now  

In this episode, Wendy Liebmann interviews Dr. Gayatri Devi, a nationally recognized neurologist, attending physician at Lenox Hill Hospital/Northwell Health, director of New York Memory and Healthy Aging Services, and author of “A Calm Brain: How to Relax Into a Stress-free, High-powered Life”. You’ll learn how the current pandemic has changed not only relationships with families and work but also retail experiences; And more...

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RETAIL

Future Shop Podcast: How Walmart is Disrupting Health & Wellness  

In this episode, Wendy Liebmann interviews Matthew Parry, Senior Director II of Customer Experience at Walmart Health & Wellness, about how the largest retailer in the world is disrupting everyday health care. You’ll learn about Walmart’s strategy to build personal health care solutions – from clinics to the whole store; New customer purchasing behaviors inside and outside the store; How COVID-19 has forced Walmart to leapfrog 5 years into the future; And lots more...

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RETAIL & BRANDS

Future Shop Podcast: Humanizing Brands, Retail and Corporate Culture  

In this episode, Wendy Liebmann interviews Craig Dubitsky, the “happy” founder of Hello Products, about how to create brands and retail that shoppers want in these volatile times. They discuss reinventing established categories, how big companies can move fast, how unleashing internal creativity can transform a business culture and how, as e-commerce has grown, retail has become all about “how I got it” rather than the magic of “what I got” – and that’s no longer good enough.

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RETAIL

ECRM Podcast with WSL - Retail Reset, Best Practices   

During this interview, ECRM speaks with WSL Senior Consultant Elizabeth Gretkowski and Consultant Analyst Kaci Floyd about what they and their scouts have witnessed among retailers and some restaurants located in Texas, Florida, London, New York and New Jersey. One thing is for sure: Everything that retailers have been working on – convenience, store-experience, e-commerce, services – has new definitions now compared to just three months ago, something WSL refers to as the “Retail Reset.”

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LEADERSHIP

Future Shop Podcast: What is the Future of Retail in a COVID-19 World?  

In this episode: Helena Foulkes, former CEO of Hudson’s Bay Co (Saks Fifth Avenue), president of CVS Pharmacy and current Home Depot board member talks frankly to Wendy Liebmann about the future of retail, winners and losers, silver linings and how to lead in a crisis.

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RETAIL

ECRM Podcast with WSL - The ‘Cautious Pause’: How Consumers Will Shop Post COVID-19

ECRM interviews our own Elizabeth Gretkowski to discuss how, as many states look to start opening up their businesses, fear and financial insecurity are still the main drivers of how consumers are shopping.

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SHOPPER

ECRM Podcast with WSL - How Coronavirus Has Changed the Way Consumers Shop 

Wendy Liebmann predicted how shoppers' demands for different categories of products will shift in waves as they adjust to their lifestyles at home, and we're seeing exactly that happen now.

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WELLNESS

Future Shop Podcast: In A Coronavirus World, Shoppers Demand to be Well 

Strategist and CEO Wendy Liebmann takes retail’s temperature in the days of COVID-19: “In many ways, the underlying drivers to living a healthy life that we have seen emerge in our How America Shops® research over the last five years will be ramped up as we move into, out of and maybe back into this pandemic.”

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Webinars

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LEADERSHIP

Conversations with WE: Leading Through a Crisis - LIVE CHAT

Our Wendy Liebmann interviews Heather Hughes, SVP/GMM Walgreen Co. on leadership and life during the coronavirus.  As board members of WE: Empowering Women to Advance Wellness, Wendy and Heather discuss developing talent in a crisis and everyday, and the importance of "raising your hand" in order to grow.

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BEAUTY

Finding The Next Normal in a Post COVID-19 [ Beauty ] World

In this CEW Free Webinar, Wendy Liebmann shares how shopper attitudes and behaviors are dynamically changing as we transition from a health crisis to a financial crisis, including implications, emerging issues, and opportunities, all helping to lay the groundwork for The Next Normal.

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SHOPPER & RETAIL

How America Shops® In a COVID-19 Crisis

How has shopping changed in light of the COVID-19 crisis? Our webinar unpacks that question and more. We are committed to helping you understand Shopping Life® now and what you should be thinking about for the future.

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Shopper Trends

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SHOPPER

Shoppers are Taking Back WELL: 5 Ways Retail Can Help

Remember December, when so many people resolved to include holistic wellness in their foods, products, and activities? The pandemic sidelined the healthy-living movement for many, but now, after several months of sheltering-in-place, shoppers are reclaiming the concept of personal and family wellness in all they do. Here’s how retail stores can help.

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OMNICHANNEL

These CPG Categories are Going to See a Big Online Lift

Our research indicates that online shopping for basics, including groceries, will continue to lift as more customers are won over by the channel’s safety, price, and ease. People who bought the basic groceries and health products online as a result of the pandemic tell us about their experience and their future plans.

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SHOPPER

4 Ways to Get Ahead of the Real Financial Crisis

We could take some encouragement from the recent jump in retail sales, but let’s keep it measured. WSL’s research shows as many as half of Americans remain pessimistic about their financial security, depending on socioeconomic conditions. That figure is likely to rise as unemployment and stimulus checks dry up. Our latest How America Shops® research provides four ways to prepare.

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LEADERSHIP

How to Wrestle a Crisis: 8 Retail Revelations from Helena Foulkes

Helena Foulkes is a rare retail titan. She has spearheaded dramatic transformation as both the former president of CVS Pharmacy, and as CEO of luxury brand Hudson’s Bay Co, and she is a board member at Home Depot. As a cross-channel retail leader, Foulkes has learned how to manage a crisis in real-time. Here, she discusses COVID-19’s implications for retail in the WSL “Future Shop” podcast series.

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SHOPPER

Will Shoppers Surge to Re-opened Retail? Probably Not

Sales signs may not be enough to bring shoppers into re-opened stores. Two mighty forces are working against a resurgence of store traffic. Our Retail Safari® explorers visited shopping centers and stores around the world to help you understand what shoppers want.

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RETAIL TRUST

Stores are Reopening, How do They Look? A Preview, and 5 Lessons

As pandemic-related business restrictions ease and retailers reopen, they will be evaluated by how much they show they care about protecting their shoppers. Retailers have an immense responsibility for the attitude and presentation of their stores, in addition to the safety of all inside. We took a few shopping trips and found some good examples, and some missteps.

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WELLNESS

Shoppers Need Mental Relief: How Brands and Retailers Can Provide It

Consumers have been trying to minimize stress for some time, including in their shopping trips. Now COVID-19 has added an unpredicted level of complexity and angst to that pursuit. We looked into how brands and retailers are easing stress among pandemic-minded shoppers, and came back with three guidelines.

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WELLNESS

Through the Retail Lens: Consumers and Wellness

Strategist and CEO Wendy Liebmann takes retail’s temperature in the days of COVID-19: “In many ways, the underlying drivers to living a healthy life that we have seen emerge in our “How America Shops” research over the last five years will be ramped up as we move into, out of and maybe back into this pandemic.”

Read Article

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BEAUTY

How Coronavirus Could Change Beauty’s Commitment to Sustainability

“It’s not a new value —  this has been happening for three to four years,” said Liebmann. “We’re in this heightened situation that has caused people to care about it more — it’s this new sense of trust, like who do I trust to take care of and support me? If you treat people badly and don’t take care of their health, there are other options [for consumers to purchase.]”

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BEAUTY

Post Neiman’s, Luxe Beauty Brands Explore Options

“If you’re a luxury beauty company and you’re not already sitting there with scenario A, B, C, D and maybe E on your virtual whiteboard, you’re going to be in really big trouble.”

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SHOPPER

Predicting Shopper Behavior Based on Past Crises: A WSL Research Review

More shoppers, uncertain of their financial security in the COVID-19 crisis, are cutting back on spending and avoiding even the temptation to buy unnecessary items. Old staples are new no-no’s, so a new burden is on retailers and brands to help shoppers feel good about the spending choices they do make. Here’s what our own research, from past crises, can teach us.

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OMNICHANNEL

Omnichannel in Crisis: Can Retailers and Brands Meet Online Shopper Expectations?

COVID-19 is causing an unprecedented number of shoppers to order basic goods for delivery, and many have never before purchased these categories online. What is their experience? Will they be omni grocery shoppers in a post-COVID-19 world? The results from our report, How America Shops ® in a COVID-19 Crisis.

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OMNICHANNEL

Consumers Will Continue to Embrace Online Shopping After Crisis Ends

Wendy Liebmann of WSL Strategic Retail predicted consumers will also cut spending and seek to trade down...“When confidence recovers — and it will — and when unemployment recedes — which it will — shoppers will return to stores, but their buying habits will be different...”

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RETAIL TRUST

Retail Brands’ Reckoning: How They Treat Workers Finally Matters

“As we saw following 9/11, this stepped-up appreciation for others -- grocery workers, nurses, doctors, first responders -- will stick. In highly emotional times, people are judged on a different, expanded set of values. This isn’t short-term. A year from now, people will be looking around and saying, “Is this a store I want to shop in?” 

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RETAIL TRUST

Caring During COVID-19 Crisis: Learning from Costco, CVS, Alibaba and Others

The most important acts retailers and brands can take while scrambling to adapt to the COVID-19 epidemic are acts of kindness. Based on the results of our recent “Caring Scores” research, shoppers are most likely to stick to those retailers and brands that are proving now that they care about their workers and communities.

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APPAREL

Business on top, pajamas underneath: Walmart is selling work shirts, but not pants

“It’s come to a level of, what is important? What shows credibility? Does it require a suit and tie? People realize they don’t have to wear a suit and tie because they know changing the world doesn’t require wearing a suit and tie.”

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More Activation Tools in Our Toolbox

All delivered virtually, or face-to-face when business reopens.

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Future of Retail Strategies

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Retail Safari®

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Training

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Custom Research

Contact us for more information on any of these tools, and to know more about our 
How America Shops® COVID-19 Series - The Road to the NEXT Normal

Get In Touch

WSL Strategic Retail
307 7th Avenue, Suite 1104
New York, NY 10001

General Inquiries
info@wslstrategicretail.com
212 . 924 . 7780

More Information & Pricing
Elise Marshall
emarshall@wslstrategicretail.com

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