Local Stores Are Still the Center of the Consumer Universe

According to more than one source, online shopping growth during the pandemic leaped ahead by a number of years. The US Census Bureau’s latest quarterly e-commerce sales data reveals Q3 2020 sales were $199.4 billion, increasing 12.0% from Q2 and 36.7% from Q3 2019.


Despite the mad rush to the online shopping channel during the pandemic, IHL Group forecasts local stores will fulfill almost 90% of all 2021 orders, indicating why local stores must continue to accelerate their adoption of new technologies.


IHL Group also reported local stores may lose 3 to 8 points of margin when fulfilling digital orders, because of inadequate technology, so a primary goal for 2021 is reimagining the traditional retail store.


  • Designate a specific fulfillment area in the store.
  • Consider a “dark” location dedicated to fulfilling local online orders instead of expanding the business with a new traditional store.
  • Install more self-checkout lanes, digital signage and even robotics and provide a touchless payment option.


To regain that margin and even increase it, local retailers must also understand the various consumer personas emerging from the pandemic’s effect on shopping behaviors.


A new report from Liveclicker and SailThru highlights four curbside customer personas who are ordering online and are important to share with your local retailers/advertisers.


  • The New Shopper – Many consumers, especially older adults, found they had to become online shoppers as the pandemic hit. A welcoming email (and with a new-customer discount/offer) has proven to be the most effective method to engage with and retain the new online shopper.
  • The BOPIS Beginner – These shoppers are more likely to have purchased from local retailers for the first time during the pandemic. Emphasizing convenience and an easy-to-use process can maximize their repeat orders.
  • The Pickup Pro – Shoppers of this persona have considerably experience with curbside pickup and more of them will remain normal when their orders are ready during less than two minutes.

The Loyal Customer – Although this persona shops the same stores regularly, communicating with them via a push notification or SMS message while traveling to obtain their order may help to reinforce his or her loyalty.