People are afraid these days, especially of this pandemic. But some are also afraid of going towards a recession. COVID-19 will definitely not have a positive impact on the economy, but it’s clearly not an option to stop dead in our tracks.

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The New Landscape

So how does COVID-19 change the world of retail promotions? In a situation like this we often see a two step “cocooning effect”. As people are working remotely for the safety of the community, they have to make sure that they can continue to work (from home) thus need to improve their office equipment. And as they are unable to meet friends or go out, they then tend to improve their homes (like buying a new TV, fridge, etc.).

A lot of people already (for given reasons) don’t go to stores anymore, and there is even a discussion about which stores could and should be on lock down for a while. So what we can assume at this point is that the placement of products in the stores is getting less relevant – as well as the possibility of in store promotions.

However, we can also assume that both brands and retailers will not just simply surrender and stop their businesses. It is rather likely that they “are frustrated for a day – but then make a plan and execute.” And this means that they will have to revise their sales approach. So with less possibilities on the POS, they will have to increase their efforts online – but also their promotions.

Point of Sale

Whilst the key factor in the decision making process of a customer’s journey was the POS so far (touch and test the product, have a direct comparison between the purchasing favorites and listen to the recommendations of the sales staff), it has to be replaced – temporarily – by bringing this experience to the customers’ homes. More detailed flyer promotions with the right products in the mailboxes, the right promotions online and the possibilities of shipping the products directly to the customers’ households as well as a revised category prioritization are now the key to success in these difficult times.

The multichannel players in the market will need to shift their efforts – at least for the time being – more towards their online activities, which the brick and mortars cannot do. So especially for them, reaching out to their customers will only be possible through flyers.

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If you want to learn more about how the world of promotions is changing these days, and how we support our clients in better adapting to these new challenges of a changing retail, feel free to contact us. And keep in mind that the very best thing we can all do right now is to support our medical professionals and help #flattenthecurve by staying at home.

For more than 17 years, gap intelligence has served manufacturers and sellers by providing world-class services monitoring, reporting, and analyzing the 4Ps: prices, promotions, placements, and products. Email us at or call us at 619-574-1100 to learn more.