From volunteer shopping cards to e-gift cards, it’s all change.

Volunteer shopping cards. E-gift cards. Essential pop-ins and weekly shops. In times when shopping safely is at the top of our agendas, the way we shop has changed dramatically.

Habits of consumers can be extremely hard to break. And I think we all know our own habits and preferred choices when shopping. We tell ourselves that ‘this supermarket has the best selection of meat…’ ‘that supermarket has the best offers..’ ‘the quality from this store is outstanding…’

There’s no doubt, we’ve been spoiled by choice over the recent years. And this has allowed consumers to find a way of shopping that suits them. But …

From the weekly family shop, to the daily ‘pop ins’ – choosing dinner on a day-to-day basis, and not forgetting the top-up shops for fresh veg and milk, we all have our ways and work this into our day to day lives. ‘Shopping for the essentials’ is a term we’re been used to hearing. And best practice remains to get the essentials ahead of the additional treats; but this was ultimately our choice along with where and how we purchased these items.

The new essential shop!

Remember when lockdown was first enforced? The words ‘essential trips only’ were repeated everywhere we went. And it made us evaluate what we classed essentials as … toilet paper for several, alcohol stocks for others. But ultimately fridges, freezers and cupboards packed as full as budgets would allow for the majority.

How people shop has changed over the last few months, with online being the safest choice and more supermarkets increasing the amount of home delivery slots. The commonly used phrase – ‘just popping to the shops’ will no doubt have seen a dramatic decrease. The amount of times people are going to the shops has decreased but stores are reporting a rise in average basket value.

Not only have we had to change our own habits for ourselves and families, the rise of volunteers shopping for those more vulnerable, has seen a need for a change in payment options.

Whilst some are lucky enough to rely on relatives and friends, how about those who don’t have this support and need to reply on kindness from strangers? Volunteer shopping cards were introduced so that people could have the confidence to ask for someone to do their shopping for them. And for the families relying on free school meals? E-gift cards supplied by educational organisations, to ensure children were getting quality food and drink from trusted suppliers.

What, where, why and how!

So, after groceries, what have been the biggest category rises year-on-year online? In a nutshell—office supplies, sporting goods, software, health and beauty, electronics, home and garden and hardware. But above all those, toys and games in March 2020 saw a 90% growth compared to March 2019.

With entertainment and entertaining on hold, consumers have invested in their homes and themselves and their families.

Online shopping was already changing high streets and allowing consumers more choice. But have we now gone another step further, and realised whilst we do have the choice, what is ‘essential shopping’, is not just the food shop? It’s also but a fuller home life to enjoy more quality family time?

Have consumers seen the benefit from preparing meal plans, planning for the week ahead, over just nipping out for bits and pieces? Have we saved time and realised the extra time we’d have with family if we were prepared?

They say old habits die hard.How will we fare after being forced to evaluate habits engrained to us? Humans adapt quickly to change. Will we continue with these consumer patterns or will we start to forget the ‘new normal’ as normal starts to reappear?

Shopping for someone else? You can find more about getting volunteer shopping cards, here. 

Keeping it all online? Find out more about our e-gift cards, here.