As a result or outcome of the ongoing pandemic, the world has changed drastically over the last months. While some countries are doing better now, others have endured it all for the worse. In these stressful times, one thing that is yet to stabilize is the economy.
Economies have already been affected quite severely, and researchers believe that the worst is yet to come. Various people have lost their jobs, and online businesses find it extremely difficult to survive in today’s ‘Survival of the fittest’ world. To understand how these financial pillars can be resurrected, we need to take a good look at how Covid-19 has impacted the eCommerce business today.
The Effects of the Outbreak
The retail sales are also affected and it is expected to dip by 5.7% in 2020. To understand the Impact of Covid-19 on E-Commerce Business worldwide, one needs to begin by understanding how the consumer market has significantly changed.
The average consumer is today more responsive and careful about the products that they purchase online. The need to be hygienic and safe has successfully embedded itself in minds. Sub-consciously or otherwise, we can expect all consumers to be more on the apprehensive side before purchasing any items online.
Surviving in the Dynamic of the Pandemic
One of the biggest queries that everyone has been asking lately is, “What changes is Coronavirus bringing to eCommerce?”
To clearly answer this query or question, we must know that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way the whole game is played but not the game itself. Today, various fields like advertising, marketing, operations, and logistics operate differently and push a new and previously unknown range of products or services.
For ages, the eCommerce business has operated based on demand. This scenario is how eCommerce businesses even rose to new heights reveling in time. By targeting demand, one can easily reach out to their customers efficiently and effectively. This scenario means that companies are now not only pushing products that people are more likely to buy, but they are also pushing how these products reach the consumer’s doorstep. This scenario certainly seems like a double task.
Advertising now acts as a source of assurance. People do not want to leave their house because everyone fears contracting the Coronavirus. Simultaneously, they are also skeptical about purchasing goods online as they fear that a delivery executive might transmit the virus. This scenario is why advertising has come to solely focus on cleanliness and on provocation a healthy and trustworthy agenda concerning e-commerce.
By showing the consumer that they have nothing to worry about, they are more likely to take the safer option and order items to their doorstep instead of venturing out.
Customers are making Smart Choices and Spending Wisely
The marketing sector has also been focusing mainly on promoting products that everyone wants to buy. Simple groceries and health section items have been selling like hotcakes due to the ‘panic buy’ phenomenon. In this pandemic situation, the online grocery market has grown by 9% from May 2020 to June 2020.
This scenario is to say that consumers have been trying to make the ‘smart’ choice, and they have started buying larger quantities of food to stock for a rainy day. Consumers have also been splurging on health and hygiene products to assure themselves that they are taking serious measures to prevent them from contracting COVID-19.
Over the past few months, there have been significant changes in the e-commerce industry. As countries have begun getting things back on track, eCommerce businesses have started flourishing again. Earlier, there was the notion of delivery executives transmitting the virus. However, with safety precautions being put into place, this concern has all but died down for the time being.
It is crucial to understand how Covid-19 is affecting eCommerce business today, and the companies that have executed their due diligence in the subsequent few months have now been getting results.
For starters, big-name brands have taken the extra initiative of recording their agent’s temperature before any delivery is initiated. By sharing these details with the customer, their brand name further improves, and the fear in their heads is cleansed.
Taking a look at E-Commerce Sectors during the Pandemic
Due to the shift in dynamics, men have started to shop online more often than women. Online shopping for clothes has significantly decreased as women, on average, have been more cautious with their spending and health than men. Another reason for the consumer base for clothing is also the demand. With the diminishing number of people stepping out of their houses, the need to shop for clothes online has reduced. There has been a vital and momentous rise in the demand for comfortable clothing, which is ideally worn at home. This scenario is also why many brands have started keeping and promoting comfort clothing that is more likely to sell compared to formal wear.
While clothing has seen a change in the market, appliances and items usually sold in high numbers have significantly decreased. The major reason for this is because a lot of recent research has shown that the virus can stay on particular surfaces for hours together. People are scared of coming in contact with the virus and have shaped their indulgence accordingly. These appliances cannot be advertised differently and nor can the materials change. People feel safer in purchasing these products online by seeing specially packaged appliances inboxes and double wrapped items.
Overview of Impact of Covid-19 on the eCommerce Industry
The impact has been diverse, and every industry has been affected. One such sector that seems to have done marginally better is the Grocery and food e-commerce sector. Admittedly, a majority of the food industry has had to change their business module. Instead of catering to ambiance and experience, restaurants and food chains have started focusing on quick and efficient delivery. Piping hot food is comparatively safe to consume, and any food prepared freshly is assumed not to be capable of transmitting the virus. On the other hand, the consumption of non-vegetarian food has significantly decreased due to certain rumors. Kitchens are now equipped with state of the art equipment that ensures hygiene and cleanliness.
Is it Safe to Order Online during COVID-19?
As the pandemic goes on, people have grown skeptical of various services and products. The fact that we are all still struggling with the number of people infected every day means that there is something more that we can do to help the situation. Some recent research has found out that specific strains of Covid-19 virus can survive for anywhere in between a period of days to weeks. The exact time depends on many variables, including but not limited to the material used, the severity of infection, climate, and weather. That being told, it is highly doubtful for someone to catch the Covid-19 virus in such a manner, and for the most part, however, is it safe to order online during COVID pandemic?
The most imperative thing to remember during this time is that despite the virus being able to stay on some surfaces for some time, there are various other safety measures at your aid. Most big-name online shopping brands have gone the extra mile to ensure that their customers are safe and protected. These brands have implied extensive packaging and delivery measures that all but ensure that the package you receive is secure. Regardless of that, as long as you are careful with handling this package and making sure you take the appropriate safety measures, you need not be worried. While it is impossible to eliminate the possibility of the virus being transmitted due to you coming in contact with a package, it is also doubtful for this to occur.
Solution for eCommerce Business in COVID Crisis
This pandemic has tested the hygiene and safety standards of every sector to the very limits. Due to the higher demand for safety measures, it has been challenging for smaller brands with a lower capital to cope with the times. Installing sanitizing stations and taking extra steps towards cleanliness is now arbitrary. Only the big-name brands have been able to survive during the crisis effectively. What exactly is the solution for eCommerce Business in COVID Crisis?
For starters, you will notice that most of the brands have taken to advertising to show the world just how clean and safe their products are. Most ads now focus on the safety measures that a particular brand considers so that their customer does not necessitate to be anxious about the virus’s spread. By convincing the people of your quality, the brand can easily re-instill trust and go back to the good old days. Once trust is established, the business can be better than ever for these brands.
During this time, people have essentially stopped stepping out, but their needs have not changed. Most of the things that one would step out for, one now chooses to get them done without leaving their house. This includes shopping, ordering food, ordering essentials and groceries, and other things.
There is now a wider and extensive variety of products that people could be buying online, as it is preferable to do so. The newer generation is more likely to make a habit of purchasing their essentials and groceries through trusted online sources. This habit could turn into a routine once the pandemic dies down. There is a high chance that most of the goods bought through physical stores will now be purchased online.
Other than publicizing safety standards, companies also have to keep the products that people need in stock. Various products have seen a surge in demand, and providing these could mean a spike in sales. Big names like Amazon have started focusing more on their Pantry delivery system and, as a result, have continued to profit this pandemic. Research says that 35% of online shopping in the UK was made by Amazon. By advertising the products that people need, a company is more likely to get back in business.
How to manage an eCommerce business in the COVID Pandemic?
Over the last few months, many businesses have been tested to their limits. Earlier this year, when the pandemic hit us all, no one knew how to deal with it. For a while, most businesses were on an indefinite hiatus. Even now, it has been challenging for most companies to cope with growing demands.
Knowing how to manage an eCommerce business in the COVID pandemic has been very important. Most importantly, it has only favored those who have a more all-rounded sense of management. While useful, academic knowledge has not been of great help and one has to think on their feet to get through this quickly.
The first and foremost stuff that you require to focus on this pandemic is to understand where your revenue can come from. By understanding your target demographic, you can start by advertising to them exclusively and promoting products that they are likely to buy. Once a stable revenue stream is established, you can slowly expand and get things back to normal.
Due to the pre-existing backlog and the current situation, capital is more critical than ever. Liquidating is not easy right now, and it makes the most sense to arrange for financing alternatives to solve your small-term cash shortages. Initiate by looking at the smaller picture and operate at a lower capacity but with high efficiency. Most importantly, make hygiene and cleanliness your topmost priority.
One thing that is constant in this pandemic is the uncertainty and indecisive scenarios. Customers, as well as businesses, are uncertain about their needs and preparedness for what may come. Making a customer feel safe can go a long way not just for your profits but to be seen as a brand that genuinely cares.
Adding the human touch to your business is one way of creating a thriving relationship with your customers. Your response to these problems has to be goal-oriented, and the sooner the results come in, the healthier it will be for your business. After all, everyone is finding their feet in these uncertain times. This scenario is when you focus on what is truly important and build your business up again, one step at a time.