Cover StoryFranchiseeJanuary/February 2021

Shopping for the Future

Five pandemic shopping habits that are here to stay (plus tips for franchisees to develop their business!

Contributed by Moneris

There’s no doubt the pandemic has changed our way of life. The way we shop, spend money, and interact with each other has drastically changed, but will these trends continue after the pandemic has ended? All signs point to yes, as a global survey from Ernst & Young found that 42 per cent of consumers believe the way they shop will fundamentally change due to COVID-19.

Here are five pandemic shopping habits that we think are here to stay after we’ve put COVID-19 behind us. Taking advantage of these insights will help you operate your franchise today and tomorrow.

1. Shopping online

Not surprisingly, many consumers are flocking to the internet to do all of their shopping online, with consumer spending up 30.1 per cent from 2019. This trend was already starting to develop before the pandemic, with marketplace websites making it easy to purchase everything you need in one place. 

The need for socially distanced shopping has accelerated this trend, and we don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. Online shopping for over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, groceries, household supplies, and personal-care products has grown by 35 per cent. Even discretionary categories such as skincare and makeup, apparel, jewelry, and accessories show expected growth of more than 15 per cent.

Key Tip: Make sure you build and maintain a website with the same passion you would with a brick-and-mortar location. It’s an extension of your franchise, after all!

2. Shopping small and local

The pandemic has brought small communities together in a way that nobody saw coming, and the idea of “we’re all in this together” has permeated through our neighbourhoods. This has resulted in 76 per cent of shoppers saying they’re more determined to shop locally than ever before. In fact, 34 per cent of consumers indicate that they would pay more for local products.

The shop local trend will stick around beyond the pandemic as consumers seek out more unique and curated options.

Key Tip: If you’re a small, independent franchise owner, make sure your clientele knows it. Host community events/sales and try your best to build relationships with your customers. Make sure your location is also easy to find by displaying eye-catching signage and adding your franchise to local shopping directories.

3. Curbside pickup

Another trend that was accelerated by the pandemic is the availability of curbside pickup. By allowing customers to “click-and-collect,” small franchise owners can save on shipping costs, leverage in-store inventory, and increase overall sales by an average of 23 per cent. Providing curbside pickup also makes shopping easier by allowing customers to safely browse products whenever and wherever they want. Offering this sort of flexibility ensures your franchise doesn’t get left behind in a world where omnichannel retail is rapidly growing.

Key Tip: To ensure your curbside pickup experience is as smooth as possible, try to provide on-site signage and send personalized communications like confirmation emails or text messages to let your customer know their order is ready. 

4. Contactless payment processing

Many Canadians prefer contactless payment options during the pandemic, with 68 per cent claiming they plan on paying this way moving forward, which suggests a permanent shift in Canadian mindset and behaviours.

Coinciding with this shift, major credit card companies raised their tap payment limits from $100 to $250 in April. A recent study we conducted shows Canadians have gotten used to the change as roughly 62 per cent are using less cash, and 42 per cent say they avoid shopping where contactless payment options aren’t available.

Being able to pay with your phone’s mobile wallet – or even your watch – also means never having to worry about forgetting your physical wallet at home. With cash payments in decline and contactless payment technology advancing the way it is, you can expect this trend to continue.

Key Tip: Make sure you let your customers know that you offer contactless payment options by using signage at your checkout or franchise entrance.

5. Hygiene habits

With a heightened focus on germs and sanitization, many businesses are implementing more thorough health and hygiene practices around their locations. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine that most businesses rarely sanitized their POS devices before the pandemic.

Moving forward, you can expect a greater level of focus on what businesses are doing to keep their locations clean and safe. Whenever the pandemic ends, you better believe we’ll all be more conscious of our personal space, our hand-washing tendencies, and what we feel comfortable touching (door handles, handrails, countertops, etc.)

Key Tip: Provide peace of mind by keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer by the front door or sanitizing your POS terminal to keep both your customers and your employees safe. Check out our article here for some guidance on how to sanitize your payment terminal correctly.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s never been truer than now. By creating workarounds and increasing customer convenience, we’ve created a variety of new trends that will make life easier for consumers and franchise owners everywhere. From easier ways to shop, to increasing support for local businesses, we think these trends are here to stay.

About Moneris:

Moneris is Canada’s largest provider of innovative solutions for mobile, online, and in-store payments, processing more than one in three transactions. Serving businesses of every size and industry, Moneris offers hardware, software, and solutions to help transform the way businesses grow and operate, in payments and beyond.

For more information, please visit and follow @moneris on social media.