How to Survive the Homebody Epidemic

By Ashlee Dixon, June 15, 2017

Sitting at home with a glass of wine, and your eyes glued to a screen (e.g. smartphone, tablet, or TV), has become a common way to spend leisure time. And personally, it’s my favorite way to relax.

But if we’re not leaving the house, what does this mean for the common brick-and-mortar store?

Two words: bad news.

So far this year, more than 3,200 store closures have been announced. The list ranges from anchor store staples like J.C. Penney and Macy’s to discount chains like Kmart and Rue21. Some retailers have even filed for bankruptcy like Bebe, H.H. Gregg, Wet Seal, Payless, and The Limited, and rumor is Sears is next.

But the “homebody epidemic” isn’t just affecting retail. Even movie theaters are feeling the pinch. With Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, and online streaming, you can watch those same movies from the comfort of your home.   

Related Post: 5 Things You Need to Know Before Cutting the Cable Cord

While these are scary times for both industries, not all retailers are hurting. In fact, some are even thriving. What’s their secret? Their digital marketing strategy. Here are a few examples of how they’re beating the odds and still attracting customers.  

Walmart: Free Ship-to-Store Plus Discount

It’s no secret that Amazon dominates eCommerce; they’re Walmart’s biggest rival. However, Walmart is currently one-upping Amazon by incentivizing ship-to-store.

Customers who opt to ship their online purchase to a Walmart store for pickup not only will receive free-shipping, but a product discount, too. Sure, they’re being a little risky by forcing us homebodies out of our desired homes, but who can resist a discount?

And if that isn’t incentive enough to leave your couch, you can also now pick up your groceries curbside, too. Simply place your order online, schedule a pick up time, and have your groceries brought out to you.


Source: Walmart

If you’re the owner of a brick-and-mortar store you need to be taking advantage of your eCommerce store like Walmart is doing. If you don’t have an eCommerce store, well, if the epidemic hasn’t hit you yet, it’s coming.

Warby Parker: Home Try-On  

Catering to the Millennial consumer is a tough challenge for a lot of brands, but not for Warby Parker. The eyewear company understands that Millennials aren’t married to the traditional process of purchasing glasses (e.g. go to the eye doctor, get an exam, purchase glasses).

Related Post: What Works, and What Doesn’t When Advertising to the Young and Old

Millennials like to shop around for a good deal, and Warby Parker offers trendy, affordable frames and lenses. However, not everyone lives near a Warby Parker retail location to try on frames. And some consumers may be skeptical of purchasing glasses sight unseen.

Enter: home try-on.


Source: Warby Parker

Here’s how it works. Go online and select five frames. Warby Parker will deliver them to your door, and you’ll have five days to test them out. After five days, send back the try-on pairs (free return shipping) and place your order.

Talk about extremely convenient, you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas! And the selection of frames are amazing. I mean, when’s the last time you saw a monocle sold in a place that wasn’t vintage or on ebay?

Not to mention, their new Prescription Check app. To take the 20-minute eye tests, all you need is a smartphone and a computer to save yourself the hassel of scheduling an appointment with your local eye doctor.

Looks like Warby Parker won’t be shutting their doors anytime soon.

AMC Theatres: $5 Movie Night

Like the retail industry, movie theaters are getting hit as hard, if not harder. Consumers are skipping those awkward first dates (fake yawn and arm around the shoulder), and instead opting for “Netflix and Chill.”

So, how do you get consumers to choose the theater experience over the comfort of their home? Ever heard of $5 dollar Tuesdays? For my family and me, it’s our favorite day of the week.


Source: AMCTheatres

On Tuesdays, you’ll catch us leaning back in leather seats with a tub of popcorn, catching the newest film release.  

For most families, the cost of going to the movies quickly adds up (e.g. tickets, snacks, gas). Picking a day of the week to offer discounted tickets and snacks is a great way to entice budget conscious consumers back to the theater.

American Eagle: Relatable Models  

Back in 2014, American Eagle launched #AerieREAL, featuring relatable models wearing Aerie lingerie. Like Dove, American Eagle believes using real people as models (and ditching photoshop) helps the stigma around body image.

The campaign was so well-received that the brand is still going strong, and “no photoshop” has become synonymous with the Aerie brand.


Source: BusinessInsider

Remember it’s all about resonating with your consumers and offering something they believe in. For American Eagle, not only will customers purchase online, more importantly, they’ll feel comfortable coming into their stores to try merchandise on and complete the purchase.    



Kudos, Aerie, for hitting the ball out of the park; Victoria’s Secret better watch out.

Amazon Books: Review Cards

One of the biggest disadvantages of brick-and-mortar stores is the lack of analytics. But what if you could apply your eCommerce analytics to your brick-and-mortar store?

That’s exactly what Amazon is doing to beat Barnes & Noble and other physical bookstores. Amazon is tapping their huge eCommerce database of customer ratings and using it in their physical store: Amazon Books.  



At Amazon Books, all books have a review card underneath them with a customer rating and review just like online. You can read the card and purchase right there, or simply browse and go to later to complete your purchase.

Related Post: How to Identify and Capitalize on a Marketing Trend

Either way, Amazon is making bank by offering in-store and online purchases that have access to the same analytics. Brilliant.


These are just a sampling of the techniques retailers are using to entice customers to leave the couch and go to the store. Like a spirit stick, we’re passing this knowledge onto you. It’s up to you not to drop it, because we all know how that ends.

Spirit Stick.gif

Source: Giphy

On the bright side, if you do happen to drop it, at least you don’t have to worry about shoplifting or movie hoppers anymore!

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Ashlee Dixon

Ashlee Dixon

Ashlee is the former Content Writer and Digital Specialist for eZanga and its ad fraud management platform, Anura. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. On weekends, you can usually find her curled up next to her cat and watching Netflix with a glass of wine in hand. More Articles by Ashlee Dixon