He said contactless, digital payment methods will likely rise in popularity, “usurping” the use of cash in the long run, citing countries that faced the virus before the U.S.
Lawton has some reason to think so, given the farm supplies chain's status as one of the best performing retail stocks on the S&P 500 during the pandemic.
Lawton said curbside pickup and ordering online, among other pandemic-era trends, were likely to be permanent fixtures of the economy even after the virus is less of a factor in normal life, saying they would "stay in customers' minds," CNBC reported.
Tractor Supply has been on top of the trends, expanding those services and implementing a digital service allowing customers to submit the color and model of their car, letting employees find it easier in the parking lot for faster service.
Lawton said contactless payments would guide customers to prefer retailers where they can shop quicker and do multiple things at the same time, saying customers "don’t want to go to a retailer where they can only buy one category."
Some of the company's highest selling items have had to do with new closer-to-home outdoor hobbies picked up during quarantine, with rose garden beds and vegetable planting being invested in heavily.
The new shifts in customer spending come as PYMNTS surveyed over 2,000 people to find out what they plan to do as businesses continue to reopen and change in the wake of the pandemic. The survey found that 67.4 percent want retailers to provide delivery options, while 33.8 percent said they'd choose a merchant based on their digital options.
However, 36.1 percent said they were eager to leave their homes.
Lawton has only been the CEO of Tractor Supply since January. The company, he said, has second-quarter forecasts of 24 percent to 29 percent increases in net sales and same-store sales growths of 20 percent to 25 percent, CNBC reported. And the company plans to build 85 new stores this year, adding to the 1,900 locations it operates in 49 states.