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How the Pandemic is Shaping the Way We Shop

credit card and computer making online purchase
Photo Credit: Negative Space

What does the future hold for retail shopping and restaurants?

With mega retail stores like Nordstrom closing locations and restaurants struggling to pay bills, what’s next for the consumer market? Hayley Peterson Herrin of Business Insider, Michael Schwartz of Richmond BizSense and award-winning chef Lee Gregory of Alewife and Southbound join Roben Farzad to discuss how business adaptations from the pandemic could permanently change the way we shop.

“Now the markets have changed so much, and the idea of what’s acceptable has changed so much, that I’m not sure if people will have the cash in hand to be able to move with the times.” - Chef Lee Gregory

The show is live every Friday at 2 pm on VPM News 88.9 FM taking listener calls at  (804) 999-4 VPM and reairs each Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and Sundays at 8:00 p.m.

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Episode excerpt

The following excerpt was edited for clarity.


Roben Farzad: Starbucks is an incubator for retail. It’s incredible to me because a lot of people use the app. They have been trained to use the app for contactless payment for several years. I know I do because of the perks and how easy it is to reload. But now, how they’ve been transitioning stores from the sit down cafe communal, commons experience into drive thru. You’ve been noticing that the drive thrus are crazy. Some I counted more than 20 cars at a location in Glenside and 64. What is that going to do for the entire model going forward in the industry? Like, a Panera is now drive thru intensive, Chipotle is looking at drive thrus.

Hayley Peterson Herrin: It's gonna be so interesting, a lot of these chains were investing in these changes. Starbucks, being one of the leaders before coronavirus. In the big box space Walmart and Target, they've all been working hard at rolling out curbside pickup, some slower than others. We're going to see this rapidly expand to more stores. I've been wondering whether there are going to be some physical changes to stores. Kroger is experimenting with “dark stores” where they've closed one of their stores to the public and they're doing a takeout only model, which is essentially what a lot of Starbucks stores and a lot of restaurants are doing right now. The question is, will that continue after this crisis is a little bit more under control and I think we will see that continue. Now that there's a wider adoption of e-commerce ... we'll see more dark stores and more dark restaurants. What I mean by that is take-out only stores and restaurants will fill online orders for pickup or delivery as more and more customers adopt this sort of seamless way of purchasing goods and food.


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