HOLIDAY SEASON SALES GREW EVEN WITH COVID-19
The 2020 holiday season saw retail sales grow 8.3% despite challenges caused by the coronavirus, according to the NRF. The year-over-year average holiday increase typically stays around 3.5%, so 2020 more than doubled that percentage. “Online and other non-store sales” were up 23.9%, which may have been a result of the pandemic driving shoppers online more instead of into stores. The promise of another round of stimulus checks may have also helped.
INSTACART OFFERS FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO SHOPPERS FOR VACCINE
Instacart, the premier online grocery platform, announced a stipend last week to offset the cost of taking time off to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The company plans to provide this financial support to eligible shoppers and in-store teams. Also, Instacart is sending “free health and safety kits to shoppers”; the kits include face masks and hand sanitizer—more than 620,000 have been distributed so far.
WALMART PILOTS SMART COOLER FOR GROCERY DELIVERY
Stepping up competition with Amazon, Walmart is piloting a partnership to get groceries to doorsteps in temperature-controlled smart boxes. “Powered by an internet of things (IoT) platform,” these smart coolers can be set at three different temperatures, depending on whether frozen, refrigerated or pantry items are being delivered—meaning that 24/7 grocery delivery will likely be possible. This disruptive program will start in Bentonville, Arkansas, in the spring.