A survey conducted by the Nationwide Marketing Group on March 18-19 in wake of the coronavirus outbreak revealed that two-thirds of its retail members who responded to the questioning at that time still intended to keep operating under a business-as-usual mindset, while more than half said then that business had not yet been impacted.
More than 460 members responded to the survey in a 24-hour period, providing a glimpse into independent retail, in view of a fast-changing landscape.
More than half of the dealers reported year-over-year comparable sales that have met or exceeded last year, a figure that comes despite 52% of participating dealers reporting a significant decrease in foot traffic over the past week. On the digital side, 76% of respondents said that online traffic was either steady or up. Only 5% said they have taken the drastic step of completely shutting down their stores.
However, the survey showed that independent retailers are making at least some operational changes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, with the intent of creating an environment that is safe for both customers and employees. Slightly over 95% of dealers who responded reported that they’ve increased cleaning and sanitization processes in-store and with delivery and service teams in the field. Another 21% of participating dealers reported implementing social distancing practices with their internal team and during interactions with customers in-store and in the field. And 20% of dealers who took part in the survey reported implementing new precautionary measures around deliveries, including wearing gloves and shoe covers, mandatory hand sanitizer use and calling customers to ensure no one at the home is sick.
As the COVID-19 outbreak has created an environment of fluidity, Nationwide Marketing Group said it will continue surveying its members over the next several weeks to track the health of the industry in the face of this pandemic. The full survey results are available on the Nationwide Marketing Group website, and on the regularly updated Coronavirus Resources page.