Geek looking at data

How data can help breathe life into bricks-and-mortar retail after Covid-19

Published May 11, 2020, 03:39 PM by Tracey Matchett
Retailers need to dive into data­ - including real-time mobile movement data - to make evidence-based decisions and projections that will impact the short and long-term future of bricks-and-mortar retail after Covid-19.

It’s safe to say that there’s never been a more devastating time to be in retail. Experts estimate that as of April, 2020, more than 190,000 stores have been closed due to Covid-19, accounting for nearly 50% of U.S. retail square footage, causing an unprecedented disruption of commerce. And Coresight Research predicts that even after the lockdown ends, more than 45% of consumers will avoid malls.

If you’re in retail, this news comes as no surprise. But as we emerge from the pandemic and states begin to loosen regulations on what stores can reopen, retailers are looking for answers:

  • When can we reopen our stores and expect to see sales growth?
  • Who will come out to shop and who will still stay at home?
  • Where are the most vulnerable populations?
  • How does this differ by geography?

Using data to assess local impact and drive retail strategies

Though it is unclear what the upcoming weeks and months will look like, retailers need to dive into data­ - including real-time mobile movement data - to draw insights and make evidence-based decisions and projections that will impact the short and long-term future of their business.

In the past, mobile movement data was cost-prohibitive, hard to access and messy to analyze for all but the largest multinational retailers. Today, we are helping retailers of all sizes leverage privacy-compliant mobile movement data by providing week-over-week insights about which populations are staying home and which are out and about. This, coupled with key demographics, behaviors and psychographics, reveal important information such as where vulnerable populations reside or where citizens index more highly in key occupations in order to make informed decisions. For example, households reliant on income from industries like foodservice are some of the most impacted. But that is not the whole story.

WHO Will Come Back to Bricks & Mortar First?

As retailers decide which stores to reopen, which malls to renegotiate leases with, and which stores to walk away from, it is important to understand who will visit the bricks & mortar locations and who will continue to stay at home even after restrictions are lifted.
And for those consumers coming back to the stores, who will be coming back and over what period of time.

Environics Analytics’ data is helping our retail partners dig deeper into the demographics, spending patterns, attitudes and values in different locations across the country. We have compared segments that share common characteristics, but differ in their stay-at-home compliance. This is based on the Claritas PRIZM® Premier segmentation system, which classifies Americans into 68 segments linked to thousands of behavioral and psychographic dimensions.

As legislation allows people to move, shop and purchase products again, we are closely monitoring key retailers and their competitors leveraging the Covid-19 data, real-time mobility movement insights and PRIZM Premier segmentation system to highlight who is visiting retailers by frequency.

If you’re in retail, analytic solutions have never been more important and the data exists to make informed decisions. While the immediate future may look uncertain, there is no need to rely on guesswork to chart your course to recovery.  

Read about Americans' compliance with movement restrictions with Covid-19 movement restrictions. 

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