Impact Of COVID-19 On E-Commerce

Due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus, many businesses across the globe are facing severe disruption. Unfortunately many companies are forced to stop instantly, and the effect of the coronavirus pandemic has had far reaching consequences. Many cities are under lockdown and social distancing is slowly becoming the new normal. To meet the day to day needs people are going for online shopping, and this has shoot up 50% online sales and 8% online customers.

It is quite uncertain at present how long this pandemic is going to last which is pushing offline retailers to online. Amidst this uncertainty many physical store owners have decided to shut their physical stores. More and more offline retailers are now adopting e-commerce business as an alternative.

The COVID-19 pandemic is going to change the online market forever. People are staying at home and ordering from online stores. Whether it is grocery, apparel or any other thing that they need, e-stores are successfully catering to their demand. As ecommerce is more time saving and efficient customers are getting comfortable with online shopping. According to a report people may become reluctant to go back to old shopping habits post coronavirus.

A recent Morning Consult study found that “24% of consumers said they wouldn’t feel comfortable shopping in a mall for more than six months, 16% said they would feel comfortable in the next three months.” (Ref: How covid 19 is transforming e-commerce)

Although ecommerce has been witnessing significant growth for the last 10 years, it seems the COVID-19 restrictions prohibiting physical retail will further contribute to the expected growth of ecommerce in 2020.

The history suggests that the ecommerce upstick is likely. During the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s, JD.com and Alibaba became a household name. Both the brands are still maintaining the winning position and have not looked back.

Covid-19 Boosts Online Buy, Pick Up At Store

Let's see how it works.

Pickup at a store which is otherwise called curbside pick up allows nearby customers to make a purchase online and pick it up from your physical store once it is ready. More people are taking advantage of this option. Not only it is more convenient but also it reduces the shipping charges. This is to limit in store interaction during this pandemic.

Here are the steps:

  • The customer places an order online and pays online.
  • Once the order is emailed to the retailer, they can prepare it
  • When it is ready for pickup retailer will then tell the customer
  • The customer will drive to the physical store and safely pick up the order
  • That is all

COVID-19 Panic Buying & Its Impact

As the pandemic has created havoc across the globe people are stocking more things like hand sanitizers, masks, toilet papers, and other household items. This is panic buying by consumers. Customer demand has increased and so is the online ordering in large quantities. This has resulted in the increase in the price of goods and online store sellers are selling without any discount.

All this is because of the panic due to uncertain and contradictory information people are hearing from different sources. As panic buying develops crowd mentality, it is like a rat race where no one wants to lag behind and they end up purchasing unnecessary things and more stuff to stock up goods.

Pandemics May Fade, But E-commerce Is Here To Stay

Looking at the current situation COVID-19 will have lasting effects. With many consumers hesitant to go back to shopping-in-store it could lead to a persistent increase in e-commerce. We suggest even offline retailers should start looking at e-commerce as a key sales channel. and consider adopting omnichannel retail for order fulfillment and offer customers a seamless online shopping experience.

Many signs suggest that the virtual selling will have a prominent and a dominant place in sales even after the crisis is over.

As more and more consumers adjust to the comfort of ecommerce stores, they may not want to go back to the crowded stores. Even the local stores are moving online to compensate for the loss of foot traffic at their physical store.

Wrapping the Thought

The future of ecommerce depends on how customers respond. COVID-19 has led to behavioural change in millions of online customers. They are opting to save more time. As an ecommerce store owner you should focus more on removing friction that stands in the way of your customer journey. This will turn your occasional customer into a loyal customer. If you continue to serve them as best as you can then they even after the pandemic is over will continue to shop at your online store.

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