Since the beginning of the global Covid-19 pandemics, online sales have soared from 16% to 19% in 2020. This significant increase was triggered by worldwide lockdowns and restrictions which lead to profound changes in customer behavior, inducing offline commerce businesses to establish their presence on the Internet.
The world has been living in the situation of pandemics for more than 2 years already. Today, we can look back at 2020, analyze these changes, and predict what to expect in the commercial sphere in the post-pandemic times.
In this article, we’ll look into how Covid-19 has impacted e-commerce, why the trend of shopping online will continue to grow after the pandemics, and share some valuable tips on what commerce businesses should do to keep the competitive edge in their sphere.
Impact of COVID Pandemic on E-commerce
A suddenly started Covid-19 pandemic led to massive disruptions in e-commerce. Companies had to quickly adapt to new conditions and reassess traditional models of leading business.
While offline shopping became difficult due to pandemic restrictions and health measures, online shopping experienced a significant increase during Covid. Many large e-commerce businesses that were already present online for some time, managed to raise substantial revenues, e.g. Amazon claimed to make a profit of 220%. Meanwhile, many smaller retail businesses experienced an adverse effect from the lockdowns, being unprepared for selling online. As a result, e-commerce SMEs started launching their pages on social media sites to sell online or opting for e-commerce development to create customized apps for their buyers.
Another big impact of the Covid pandemic on e-commerce resulted in the quickly growing popularity of online shopping in emerging economies. According to the Covid-19 and e-commerce Global Review by UNCTAD, Latin America’s online marketplace was selling 2 times more items a day in Q2 2020, Africa’s Jumia platform made a 50% increase in transactions in the first 6 months of 2020, Thai customers downloaded 60% of shopping apps more in just one week in March 2020.
The major shift to e-commerce made many governments invest in the development of e-commerce infrastructure at their local levels to support national businesses. For example, Costa Rica has launched an e-commerce platform where customers can purchase food from the local producers via a smartphone app. In Africa, the Senegal government is running information and educational campaigns of e-commerce benefits. Whereas in Indonesia, the government has started a digitization campaign among small and medium enterprises.
E-commerce Sales Worldwide Forecast Through 2024
Reasons for Online Shopping to Remain Popular in Post-pandemic Times
In 2022 it has become clear that online shopping will continue to quickly develop even if retail enterprises come back to traditional pre-pandemic models of leading business. Here are the reasons why customers will continue choosing online shopping over going to brick-and-mortar facilities.
Newly-Formed Customer Habits
Quarantine made people adapt to new realities and learn how to use their gadgets to buy everything online from foodstuffs to furniture. The purchasing patterns have persisted for over a year and have become ingrained for many customers. Therefore, even if businesses come back to old-style commerce and open the doors of their brick-and-mortar facilities again, buyers will continue using online tools for shopping.
Although in 2022 there were significant reliefs in the Covid-19 restrictions and people started going out more, thanks to global vaccination, the pandemic wasn’t entirely defeated. From time to time, there will still appear news about new pandemic outbreaks, and people will be cautious about their safety for long, preferring shopping online.
Rapid Spread of Mobile Devices
Mobile devices are keeping the leading position among the devices for Internet access.
People prefer using mobile devices to enter the internet which also means that they can search for new products and buy them practically anywhere and anytime. With a mobile phone at hand, they don’t need to visit brick-and-mortar facilities or reach their home computer to check the products they want to buy.
Wider Choice of Products
Covid-19 brought much disruption to commerce and supply chains. Especially at the beginning of the pandemic, stores often lacked the products they had ordered due to shipment problems, overstretched delivery streams, lack of workforce, and much more. As a result, buyers weren’t always able to buy the products they needed in their favorite stores.
E-commerce solves the problem of product deficit. Customers can find a wide range of online shops offering the needed items or pre-order options, satisfying customer demand much faster than offline stores.
Taking Advantage of the E-commerce Revolution: Tips
When e-commerce companies make their first steps in establishing their online presence, it’s essential for them to follow the main e-commerce principles and trends. Here are some major tips to follow.
Establish Multichannel Communication With Your Customers
Customers become more demanding of brands and the way they communicate with them. Today, buyers can search for products online and check them in offline stores or simply follow their favorite brands on social media. Companies have to think about how they communicate with their customers via their online and offline channels, ensuring a consistent customer experience with an entire brand.
Retail and e-commerce are quickly changing markets. Businesses face daily challenges with product shortages, rising costs, issues with supply chains, etc. While solving all these problems, companies shouldn’t forget about their customers and honestly inform them on the latest issues with product delivery if any, as well as the latest developments in the company.
Diversity in product choice, payment methods, shipping, customer service, and much more is the major factor that helps e-commerce businesses survive today. The more options buyers have the higher the chances that they remain loyal to the brand.
Analyze Your Data
Deep analysis of their customers and the channels they use the most can bring businesses many valuable insights on how to improve their services and in which direction to grow. For this, companies use diverse tools. This can be social media interaction with their customers, holding diverse marketing campaigns, applying special advanced analytics tools to their business, and much more.
Find out more about which e-commerce development trends in 2022 to follow to launch a successful e-commerce project.
The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced new standards on how people buy things and commerce companies operate. Due to severe publiс restrictions, customers and businesses moved online and this opened new opportunities for both.
Today, when the world is slowly entering into the post-pandemic era, it’s clear that shopping online will continue to develop and attract even more buyers. Therefore, those brick-and-mortar businesses that had to move online during pandemics will remain in the offline and online worlds in the post-pandemic times, using a multichannel approach to offer their buyers enhanced and more comprehensive services.