Retail shopping has suffered the consequences of this global health emergency. However, the new eCommerce revolution, spurred by COVID-19, seems to be the salvation for established and emerging businesses.
The pandemic led consumers to ramp up their online shopping, which resulted in an increase in business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce.
The increase in B2C is clearly evident in online sales of household essentials, food products, and medical supplies which are the most in-demand products during these times of the health-related crisis.
According to Technomic, about 52% of consumers avoid crowded places and 32% rather stay at home.
Possible Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 in the eCommerce Revolution
The COVID-19 pandemic made a huge difference in how people interact. This can make an impact and even reset the direction of their careers, the way they interact with people, and how they do business.
However, due to the never-ending technological advancement and entrepreneurial passion — people and businesses have the capacity to thrive.
This crisis highlighted the dire need to bridge the digital divide and eCommerce has taken the central role during the crisis as consumers moved their purchases online.
Different businesses across the globe are also bracing for the impact that the COVID-19 will have on their brands. These businesses should be aware of everything they need to keep up with this new eCommerce revolution.
Here’s how different brands are coping and thriving with the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Facebook and its Messenger Rooms
Social media giant Facebook just released an app, Messenger Rooms which is similar to Zoom but it focuses on personal meetings.
Unlike Zoom, which is fine-tuned for professional meetings, this free new app is found within Facebook or Messenger and will soon be available on different platforms such as Instagram, Portal, and WhatsApp.
This move by Facebook revolutionizes the way people can connect and communicate — once again. eCommerce brands can take advantage of this new feature due to the fact that Rooms is also visible on the users’ newsfeed, events menu, or Groups tab.
2. Google Updates
Google Shopping Tab brought back free product listings and this could serve huge importance for eCommerce businesses since it gives you the option to get free and organic listings.
This seems like a great help for retailers who opted to sell their products online. Now, its shopping tab places paid ads at the top and bottom of their web page, while the free ones stay in the middle.
3. Amazon Prime Deals Deadline Extended
Amazon announced that they will extend their Prime Deals until June 5, 2020, over the original deadline of May 8, 2020. Despite having the yearly event Prime Day pushed off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the company hasn’t confirmed the date, giving the uncertainty surrounding us, there’s a chance that they extend it again.
On the other hand, Amazon sellers can navigate different operational challenges once the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and product restrictions are over by preparing, planning, and providing efficient logistics.
These sellers rely on outsourced logistics to sell and deliver their products to their customers. According to a report from Sellics, 50% of sellers are seeing a negative effect on the shipping times and about 46% of them have experienced a drop in supply.
However, Amazon has suspended new deals until further notice but the company wasn’t clear about the reason they have stopped accepting new ones.
The Growth of eCommerce due to COVID-19
Coresight predicted that in the US alone, the online grocery industry will grow by around 40% this year.
In addition, this equates to almost $38 billion or 3.5% of online sales coming from food and beverage products of the total market.
Moreover, the survey conducted in the middle of March 2020 by Coresight said that 49% of their respondents have started purchasing more groceries online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as people have stayed more inside their homes because of the lockdowns.
These numbers may have increased as weeks have progressed.
More people are buying their food items online such as meat, produce, and alcohol and they are purchasing across an average of five categories this year from just 4.4 during the previous year. This shows that people are not just purchasing one-offs but they are shopping for full-baskets online.
The demand for eCommerce may remain strong until next year as Coresight also found that about 52% of their respondents said they have purchased online groceries during the last 12 months and 62.5% are expecting to purchase goods online in the next 12 months.
A Closer Look at How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Affected eCommerce Worldwide
The COVID-19 pandemic made huge changes in the supply chains and business processes across the world in just four months.
There was a radical change in how people shop and how businesses continue with their production and supply. Business relationships and consumer behavior also experienced major changes.
A good example is Italy, where eCommerce transactions increased by 81% at the end of February 2020. Furthermore, countries like the US, China, and Iran are experiencing the same. This is according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Millions of people who didn’t do their shopping online are now forced to do so. This is the very reason why businesses are also doing their best to immediately adapt to the changes in trading online.
Businesses that are not prepared for the sudden changes in how they should cater to their customer’s demands – from now on – will struggle.
InsideRetail reported that, during the last few weeks, major supermarkets in Australia had to cancel their online ordering process because they didn’t have the capabilities to keep up with the massive demands in deliveries.
This can become a difficult time for retailers turned eCommerce businesses in just a short span of time. However, there’s still opportunity as these businesses look into the possibilities of digital advancement and help them rise to the challenges.
The Opportunities Rising Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
Ensuring that your eCommerce business has the latest software and technology is vital in facing the adversities of today. A report from S&P Global said that packaged food companies would continue to benefit from this pandemic.
The eCommerce industry is also rising up by providing a lot of benefits for small to medium enterprises by giving them access to different markets and bridging the gap of geographic boundaries. Consumers, on the other hand, now, also have access through a wider choice of products and services and competitive pricing. Businesses can also reevaluate the different ways on how they can manage and market their products — adapting and overcoming is the key to come out on top.
People respond to crises in different ways. When faced with uncertainties they will do their best to feel that they are still in control.
Panic buying reflects humans’ fundamental needs: relatedness, survival, and competence. This is according to a consumer psychologist from the University of the Arts London, Paul Marden from a report from CNBC.
Safety of Purchasing Products Online
Since COVID-19 is highly infectious, some consumers have raised questions about the safety of purchasing products online. This can also take an effect on the eCommerce revolution caused by COVID-19.
The Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) affirmed that there is none to low risk of the virus spreading from product packaging, especially when shipped over a period of days or weeks.
The World Health Organization (WHO) addressed this concern by confirming that it is completely safe to get packages from locations with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Packages exposed to different temperatures and conditions have a low rate of contamination.
How Different Age Groups Respond to COVID-19
Let’s take a look at how different age groups respond to the crisis through their online purchases.
1. Generation Z and Millenials
According to a survey conducted by Agility PR Solutions, the youngest generations have altered their purchasing behaviors by cutting back on spending and keeping a stock of necessary products. In the US and the UK. about 95% of these generations are concerned about how COVID-19 is affecting the economy.
2. Generation X and Boomers
Older generations, on the other hand, are slightly less concerned compared to the younger generations.
About 24% of Boomers and 34% of Generation X said that this event impacted their purchase decisions.
As people have embraced social distancing, in efforts to prevent and slow down the spread of the virus, the increase in eCommerce trading has really changed.
In the next months to come, there is a huge possibility of a further increase in online shopping as more and more people turn to eCommerce shopping, lockdowns, or not.