7 Ways Local Retail Is Changing During COVID-19

Contactless Payments For Retail StoresHeading into 2020, nobody could have predicted the months on end of social distancing and the many ways retail would be forever altered. Throughout COVID-19, every industry and every person has been affected. Throughout this pandemic, we’ve shifted to remote work and virtual learning, but how has local retail changed?

The way consumers shop and perceive retail is vastly different now, and to ensure a bright future, retailers must adapt. Shoppers are looking for a safe, convenient shopping experience. It’s critical to adjust to the new shopping behaviors and expectations quickly and efficiently. 

Here are the top ways that local retail has changed in response to COVID-19. 

Contactless Commerce

The pandemic has changed how shoppers think about touching items in a retail store. Understandably, shoppers are concerned about touching merchandise, carts, registers, and more that have been touched by strangers. 

As retailers reopen, they must think about creating a contactless commerce environment, one where consumers can buy without touching contaminated surfaces. For example, the owner of the latest U.S mall, Simon Property Group, is suggesting that its retailers use contactless payment methods like Apple Pay. 

COVID-19 has heightened shoppers’ awareness and concern about touching common surfaces, which is why contactless commerce is one of the biggest changes that retailers must embrace to stay afloat. Retailers must consider all aspects of the consumer’s journey and the important ways they can make the process contactless, safe, and convenient during the coronavirus. Many of the ways local retailers are changing due to COVID-19 are facets of contactless commerce. 


Prior to COVID-19, many retailers did a daily cleaning, but surfaces were not wiped down after each use. Customers were not asked to sanitize or wash their hands prior to and after shopping. The pandemic changed the retail standards for cleaning and disinfection. 

To make shoppers feel safe and to abide by local and national standards, retailers must show a commitment to hygiene. Some ways to do this include:

  •  UV-clean units to disinfect touchscreen registers, mobile devices, credit card terminals, and more after each use. The UV-C light prevents the transfer of harmful pathogens, creating a safer environment for employees and customers. 
  • Hand sanitizer holders. Shoppers are hyper-aware of keeping their hands clean, especially in public spaces. Providing hand sanitizer is now a retail expectation. The SpacePole hand sanitizer dispenser is excellent for mounting on your payment plate, wall, or floor stand. 

Even after the virus, shoppers will be more aware of the health and safety of their public places. The demand for sanitization and limiting touch will persevere even after the virus has subsided. 

Social Distancing 

Gone are the days when shoppers were okay with being jam-packed and one inch apart. Shoppers are concerned with protecting their personal space during their retail experience. After months of social distancing and strict guidelines, consumers are still looking to avoid tight spaces. 

Many retailers have had to respond by limiting capacity. Keeping track of capacity as shoppers stream in and out is difficult without the proper equipment. The FastSensor Active Distance Alert Monitoring provides real-time data about everyone at your location so that you can create a distance-friendly environment that’s safe for shoppers and Global Privacy Policy Compliant. 

Shields are another common addition that retailers are incorporating to provide personal space when it cannot be physically accommodated. Countertop shields and SafeGuard screens help to create a safer point of sale. The visible barrier helps to provide peace-of-mind to customers and employees while accommodating personal space. The countertop screens are ideal for essential businesses, and the SafeGuard screen attaches right to your existing hardware without crowding the transaction space. 

Integrated eCommerce

Prior to COVID-19, eCommerce was already on the rise. The pandemic accelerated the shift and the implementation of technology into retail. Between April and June 2020, consumers spent $212 billion on eCommerce, which is a 32% increase from the previous quarter. eCommerce now accounts for 16.1% of all U.S sales. According to IBM, the pandemic accelerated the shift toward eCommerce by 5 years!

eCommerce is only projected to continue to grow, especially in light of COVID-19. The key to modern retail success is to provide inventory online and integrate eCommerce with your counterpoint solution. You need to get your operations online quickly and seamlessly. Integrated eCommerce is a major trend that rose due to COVID-19, and it’s not going anywhere soon. Your eCommerce must be integrated into your POS. 

Curbside Pickup and Online Delivery 

Curbside pickup and online delivery are two forms of contactless commerce that are rising in popularity due to COVID-19. In the U.S, BOPIS sales are up 259% due to COVID-19. Incorporating curbside pickup or delivery is not just great for restaurants; it’s a smart decision for retailers as well. The ability to pick up an online order in-store or curbside is a new expectation that customers demand. Offering options to buy online, pick-up in-store (BOPIS) is convenient and preferred by many consumers. Considering the delayed delivery and shipment issues, many customers enjoy the satisfaction of receiving their purchase immediately without having to navigate through a physical store to get it. 

Contactless Payment 

One major aspect of contactless commerce that has amplified due to COVID-19 is contactless payment. This technology has been available for some time, but recently more retailers are embracing it. 

Touchless payments are another way to reduce the risk for in-store shoppers. In addition to accepting contactless payments via methods like Apple Pay, retailers are also opting for mobile solutions. Mobile POS solutions allow retailers to facilitate a transaction anywhere inside or outside of the store. This method can help with BOPIS options, and also prevent long, crowded lines at a standard register. Of course, you must ensure that your system is configured for mobile POS solutions and BOPIS sales. 

Safety is Priority 

Local retailers are making customer and employee health and safety priorities in response to COVID-19. Right now, shoppers are most loyal to the brands that give them the confidence to shop safely. In addition to the contactless commerce solutions above, many retailers are adding temperature scanners to check the temperature of employees or customers before entering. The system is easy to add to a lobby or hallway and helps people entering feel like the store has a commitment to safety. 

POS System Retail Control Systems for Contactless Commerce

Local retail is changing drastically due to COVID-19, and the retailers that can adapt to consumer demands are the ones that thrive. Right now, all aspects of contactless commerce are on the rise, and consumers want to know what you are doing to keep your shopping environment safe. 

Founded by Dave Albert, Retail Control Systems (RCS) is the POS system that you need to implement these top contactless commerce solutions. RCS has been helping businesses around North America implement innovative point-of-sale solutions for over 30 years. Today, we can help you streamline the transaction process and integrate your digital and in-person operations to meet the modern retail demands of COVID-19. 

Dave Albert and the entire RCS team is here to help your retail business limit the spread of the virus while adopting the “new normal” when it comes to local shopping. Take your inventory online and embrace contactless commerce with RCS. We will help you protect employees and customers with our contactless commerce system including:

  • Curbside pickup.
  • Integrated eCommerce options. 
  • Automated health monitoring tools and equipment. 
  • All of your necessary POS services including mobile POS. 

To learn more about how our comprehensive POS services can help your business, contact us today.