How America Shops ® COVID-19 InsightsThe Road to the
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.
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.
Our goal in this report is to show you the opportunities in The Big Business of WELL now that staying healthy has become – different. What we see today, is that the WELLness habits that have been sprouting since 2014 are still strong. COVID-19 has made washing hands and sanitizing surfaces the top things people do now to stay WELL, but the habits and values that had become entrenched over six years are still strong.Learn More
Desperate times mean big opportunities for retailers – yet surprisingly, we have not seen retailers act boldly or quickly on this shopper need. In this Retail Safari®, we show you the few retailers who are helping shoppers get better and more convenient wellness solutions.Learn More
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.Learn More
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...Learn More
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.DOWNLOAD REPORT
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.DOWNLOAD PREVIEW
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.DOWNLOAD DETAILS
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”?
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.Learn More
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.DOWNLOAD REPORT
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.
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.DOWNLOAD DETAILS
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.
In the final episode of this 3-part discussion, WSL Strategic Retail’s Wendy Liebmann and Candace Corlett, reflect on how shoppers are moving on having survived the chaos, and how companies must reset fast to accommodate them. The implications for retail, brands and service companies are now crystal clear: Retail must restructure (finally) to accommodate new technologies shoppers have quickly adopted. Brands must connect in new ways emotionally. And a new level of service expectations emerges.
We continue the previous discussion and talk bluntly about the fact
that there is no going back. That longing for the past days of retail
– pre-pandemic – is irrelevant and dangerous. They discuss how retail
has not been “a happy place” for shoppers for a long time, that the
pandemic merely exacerbated the situation. They discuss how to connect
emotionally with shoppers in a digital world, where brands fit, the
movement to smaller stores, and how shoppers are dealing with the
Wendy Liebmann and Candace Corlett, WSL Strategic Retail’s managing
partners, discuss key shopper insights from the first six months
of the pandemic, surprises and new realities, and how retailers and
brands must now move forward. In this first segment of a three-part
discussion, they answer the burning question: Will shoppers ever
go back to the store?
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;
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...LISTEN NOW
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.LISTEN NOW
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.”LISTEN NOW
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.LISTEN NOW
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.
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.WATCH NOW
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.”Listen Now
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.WATCH NOW
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
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.WATCH NOW
Following the path to share in The Big Business of WELL, retail chains
are making space for healthcare clinics, but their rollout plans
are too long, and also need to account for the new dimension in healthcare:
Shoppers may have fallen into less-healthy eating and wellness practices
during the pandemic, but those wellness values are still embedded,
and shoppers are getting back on track, our latest How America Shops®
report shows. Here are a few tips for how brands and retailers should
be marketing WELL now.
Gifting is how we show love, and many are feeling love and gratitude
this year. So WSL expects shoppers will want to give and give this
holiday season. Three findings from our new How America Shops® survey
suggests retailers need a new approach to holiday marketing in 2020.
The path to connecting with your shoppers requires showing you care
about them, and that goes well beyond keeping them safe. Here are
4 tips on how to show you care from leading neurologist Dr. Gayatri
It’s easy for retailers to say they care about Black customers, but
what are they doing to prove it in the store every day? This issue
is more pressing now as the pandemic, racial strife and financial
concerns heighten stress among all shoppers and store workers. For
our latest How America Shops® research, we asked Black shoppers how
they feel about the store in the midst of these crises.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.Read Article
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.Read Article
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
“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.]”Read Article
“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.”Read Article
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.READ ARTICLE
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.READ ARTICLE
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...”Read Article
“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?”READ ARTICLE
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.
“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.”Read Article
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