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Shopping Trend Spurred on by the Pandemic is Here to Stay


It’s hard to believe an entire year has passed since the pandemic changed how we live, work, shop, learn and socialize. Through all the challenges and discoveries, there now seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel with hope returning for the first time in a long time. But while we all learn what this new normalcy will look like, curbside pickup is a shopping trend spurred on by the pandemic that’s here to stay.

Sara Skirboll, a shopping expert at RetailMeNot says, “I definitely think that six feet social distancing is going to remain intact for 2021. I think more retailers than not are still going to require masks when you enter the store and some retailers are still going to take into account capacity limits.”

Beyond all the safety and environmental impacts on in-store, in-person shopping, one shopping trend spurred on by the pandemic which is guaranteed to stick around is curbside pickup.

According to Starbucks CFO Pat Grismer, “Curbside pickup is so important because it provides customers another option. I don’t want to get in the drive-thru line. I’ve placed my order via my mobile phone. I can conveniently pull into a parking spot that is designated for pickup and partners will bring my order out to me. That is working beautifully. That is taking pressure off the drive-thru and accommodating more of that customer demand.”

Customer demand is exactly what’s driving curbside pickup’s popularity from its original intention of safety and maintaining revenue to the customer’s overall convenience.

Many young shoppers are not interested in the in-store experience as much as making the best use of their limited time. Curbside pickup at grocery stores, retailers, and even garden centers allow the customers to control how much time they devote throughout their day to the purchases they need to make.

Experts agree that the pandemic of 2020 provided some invaluable lessons for garden centers across the country. Namely, that you can no longer rely on “business as usual” with a more sophisticated and demanding customer emerging onto the scene.

Many believed curbside pickup was created out of necessity not desire – especially when it came time for gardeners to select their plants.

But with a new generation of gardeners entering the field (16 million new gardeners were added during the pandemic and many were under age 35) garden centers need to provide them with the buying options they prefer.

The pandemic has shown the horticultural industry that trying to force buying methodologies from five, ten, even fifteen years ago on a new generation of shoppers is futile. Understanding who today’s customers are and how they demand to interact with businesses is critical to longevity and success.

Curbside pickup is definitely a shopping trend spurred on by the pandemic which isn’t going away any time soon.

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