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What a COVID Vaccine Could Mean for a Retail Comeback

Personalization, Retail, Behavioral Targeting, Behavioral Insights

by Nick DeStefano November 17, 2020

‘Tis the season for an economic rebound.

The news that Pfizer and Moderna have developed vaccines with upwards of 90 percent effective rates, and that rapid FDA authorization for the vaccines may drop sometime before the year ends, sparked hope across the country. The news from each trial, coming about a week apart, set off a stock-market rally as investors anticipated economic reopenings that we haven’t seen since the beginning of the pandemic. For economic reasons, the hope for a turnaround was huge from retailers across the country that a widely available vaccine for Q1 2021 could inspire a sense of optimism, and certainty to spur the economy to bounce back next year.

The spark that the economy needs to get back on track is a good sign, and most proactive companies factored in some sort of development window of the ramifications of a vaccine. Yet it’s almost inevitable that a true recovery back to pre-pandemic levels will take longer. Economists say that this scenario drives a 56 percent chance that GDP could be back to pre-pandemic levels by mid-year next year.

So, there could be an immediate and sudden shift, and the U.S. unemployment rate could return to the historically low levels of February 2020, which means people will be ready to spend. A historic downturn, made worse by a current surge of COVID cases across the country, doesn’t go away overnight. But there is hope in the meantime. 

Many industries affected by the pandemic won’t fully recover until it’s safe for individuals to congregate close together and millions have been vaccinated. There may still be some level of uncertainty, but they can’t just sit and wait. Shockingly, retail sales held up better during the pandemic than expected, and a protracted holiday shopping season drove the October numbers increase. 

consumer savings rate

Until the vaccine is a true reality for shoppers, the near-term benefit for retailers is to capitalize on the improving job market and consumer savings rates to target the right people to buy right now in the key shopping periods. By keeping margins trending upwards, leading into the Q1 2021 vaccine scenario, retailers have the right chemistry to fuel the retail comeback they’ve been aching for all year. 

Using the individualized incentives of a promotion optimization solutions provider like RevTrax will equip brands with the quantifiable outcomes they need immediately before the economic turnaround. By capitalizing on the ecommerce-enabled data assets retailers have collected over the past year, it will be easy to not only determine what customer gets what offer to drive big sales, but run smarter offers to drive more brand value in this key moment. 

The uncertainty wrought by the pandemic has caused radical cost shifts and supply availability problems amid previously predictable marketing scenarios. The most proactive companies were able to adapt to immediate consumer needs while staying nimble when it came to longer-term implications. But those long-term implications are coming more and more in-sight with the vaccine news. It may take a long while to claw back to quote-unquote “normal,” but targeting customers willing to spend will provide the quantifiable outcomes that retailers need right now.

Interested in learning more? We would love to help with your promotional marketing needs. Learn how RevTrax's solutions can help your brand prepare for the retail comeback by speaking with a specialist today.

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