Party City will have about 90% fewer Halloween pop up stores than last year because the coronavirus pandemic has made many traditional Halloween celebrations more frightening than usual.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that you avoid door-to-door trick or treating and that you avoid haunted houses and indoor parties.This fall, the retailer plans to open 25 Halloween City pop up stores across the country.Party City plans to continue hiring approximately 80 percent of the seasonal workers that were hired last season (or 20,000 people).Each store will have seasonal workers who can pick up curbside orders and in-store pickups. There will also be an additional four to five workers at the Halloween City pop-up stores.
Total Retail’s Consideration: Due to the coronavirus, retailers including Party City are having to cut back on spending and prepare for a less festive Halloween.The National Retail Federation reports that more than three quarters of Halloween-goers believe the virus has affected their plans. Overall participation is down to 58%.But retailers selling Halloween candy and costumes should not lose heart.NRF also reported that Halloween consumer spending is expected to be $8.05 billion. This is slightly less than the $8.78 billion it was in 2019. It’s due to a drop in participation.But, the average Halloween spend by those celebrating is $92.12, compared to $86.27 in 2019.
Brick-and-Mortar’s Recovery mantra will focus on the consumer experience
Everybody is feeling the effects of COVID-19 brick-and-mortar retail, from small businesses to large corporations like J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus.Although many storefronts are closing down, this channel is changing as brands seek to do more with less and improve the retail experience in fewer locations.
The news is not good. Consumers value brick-and mortar locations for providing unique experiences and entertainment, rather than being a place to buy products.Microsoft’s announcement is an excellent example: It plans to close all retail stores and move forward with its reimagined Experience Centers.
Retailers will need to embrace the opportunity to create meaningful customer experiences that last. Lockdowns are expected to ease.
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Gen Z consumers, in particular, wanted more internet-born features in their physical shopping experience long before the pandemic.Despite the vast e-commerce infrastructure that digitally native Gen Zers have always had access too, 80 percent of Gen Zers still prefer to shop in physical stores.
Gen Z wants to try products out before they buy.Gen Z expects brands to get to know them more than they do on the surface. They want shopping experiences that are tailored to their interests and needs.
Casper and Glossier, two direct-to-consumer (D to-C) brands, had already devised forward-thinking strategies in order to address this trend.D-to-C brands are able to provide in-store experiences that meet the needs of modern consumers, who have become more connected to online shopping by focusing on smaller, more targeted areas.Brands and advertisers have embraced this fusion of digital and physical worlds to reach their customers.
E-commerce is a great way to grow and sell, but it cannot replace the opportunity to interact with customers in a meaningful and personal way.
Marketers who are truly savvy understand the importance of a cohesive digital and physical strategy to drive consumer connection. A more targeted approach helps to achieve this goal while also setting the stage for future on-brand experiences.
Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Must Be Safe
The way consumers shop online and in stores has changed significantly.As part of the future consumer experience, retailers must understand how brick-and-mortar stores can adapt to changing consumer behavior.
Trust and other values have risen dramatically, making it difficult for many people to visit physical retail locations as the economy recovers.Ubimo data shows that mall traffic around OOH media is still lower than pre-COVID levels.In the week from 6/29-7/5, for example, foot traffic around OOH media in malls was down 63.7%.
This could translate into the store of tomorrow, which will include more emphasis on interactive displays and socially distant store layouts, contactless payment, and no-touch interaction.Already we are seeing an increase of demand for services such as buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS).
Data can be used to guide strategies and stay relevant in a rapidly changing brick-and-mortar environment.
With Gen Z’s increasing buying power and expectations, change was already in the air.Each pandemic has its own set of unique elements that will continue changing the DNA of modern consumers.Retailers need to be prepared to provide experiences that consumers want and have responded to for many years. Experiences that seamlessly combine the digital and physical worlds.