Presently, we are about to enter the last month of 2020. Remember the starting phase of 2020 when the world was struck with a sudden shock of Covid-19 pandemic. The entire world came to a halt, sitting at home, following the government rules of lockdown and promoting social distancing norms. When the entire world was in a depressed mood, did anything positive happen? Nobody expected it, but something positive did happen. The online shopping market exploded like never before and countries which had partial or no lockdown did see a change in the buying pattern..
E-commerce platforms witnessed a sudden hike in the 2nd quarter, viz July-September. It prompted approx. 5 lakhs of small merchants to go digital. From setting customised web-store to improving payment gateways, companies evolved to do business online. With 200% growth in online shopping during the first quarter, it recorded $5.5 million in revenue.
Was pandemic the only reason behind such impressive growth in e-commerce? Here are the reasons you should know how pandemic changed the shopping habits of the people.
During the coronavirus pandemic, people started staying at homes as much as possible. This resulted in a massive spike in the e-commerce business as people were ordering everything online. Be it foods, accessories, garments or electronics the order volume increased massively during the covid situation. As per data, in the November-December period in 2020, the US market saw a massive $198.73 billion of online retail. In India, Flipkart and Amazon were competing with huge discounts up with the big billion day and other festive offers. E-commerce initially was heavily impacted as the warehouses and state highways were blocked leading to a massive fall of sales. But once things got back to normal, people realised that going to a shopping mall would be risky. Keeping this in mind, most consumers went online leading to a rise in online sales.
E-commerce websites have always focused on volume sales rather than profiteering on individual products. They have built the largest warehouses and are selling millions of orders daily. The massive discounts have brought the price-sensitive customers to the online world. No retail outlet can give such a huge amount of discount of up to 90% as it will push them into a loss. But, e-commerce sites even with greater losses can get funding and keep running their business. With that advantage and a massive product base, the digital marketplace has been the most popular place for shoppers to use their money wisely.
Easy payment Schemes and EMI Options
One of the main reasons why shoppers find online buying comfortable is the huge number of payment options and EMI facilities. You can pay through debit/credit cards, internet banking, mobile wallets and this has sped up the overall buying process. Also, EMI options are beneficial when you are buying expensive goods. Any salaried person can avail these EMI facilities and clear their dues within 6-9 months or even 1 year while enjoying the products.
Great Consumer Experiences
When you buy online, it starts with a variety of product offerings, effective filters to narrow down your choice, price range selection, colour, brands and you can be as specific as possible. Keep on scrolling, and you will get limitless options of designs in different brands. These apps track the taste and preference of the users and notify them when a new option comes or when heavy discounts pop in. Customized services were one of the major reasons why most of the people flocked towards online shopping.
Going Digitized was Mandatory
During the tough times of pandemic, when the world was locked down in their home, people turned digitized. There was a sudden hike in almost all sectors like conversational commerce, social commerce and marketplace. Of course, shopaholics were not going to get bored while sitting alone at home. No matter how much they surf the apps, buying one or the other items were obvious. Various companies witnessed a growth during the July-September quarter.
No more standing in the Long Queue
There were no other options than waiting in the long queue to maintain a social distancing. Before pandemic, shoppers had to wait, especially during the peak shopping season. One of the perks of online shopping was a hassle-free experience from the comfort zone of one’s house. Getting the best products in the comfort of the home, was lucrative to new age consumers.
Safe and Secure Delivery along with Convenience
During the critical pandemic times, people were quite worried about the safety of the products they buy. It was at this time when most of the brands like Amazon and Walmart assured people regarding their contactless and safe delivery. In Walmart, the pandemic led to a 97% boost in e-commerce sales in the second quarter. Whether it was medicines or daily essentials, people were assured about the safe delivery. It was highly convenient for the people to place an order no matter whatever the time is or what the weather conditions are.
Improvement in the Product Channel
During Covid-19 pandemic, various companies like Walmart and Amazon refined their goods and services. They focused more on such products which were high in demand. For instance, due to strict rules of government lockdown, people began working from home and even students do schooling from home. Hence, there was a drastic fall in the clothing segment. Companies gave more importance to home-safety products and daily essentials. Hence, products like alcohol, home improvement essentials, electronics, computer accessories and groceries enhanced by 16%, 14% and 12%, respectively.
Scarcity of Essentials in Physical Stores
In the initial times of pandemic, there was a huge panic among the public. In turn, they started stocking every item. Consequently, over a night, the market went short of supply of essential products. The only option left in the hands of the public was to approach online to buy essential commodities. Certain items like toilet paper were not available in stores, which one could order from online stores. Convenience in selecting the products transformed the shopping habits of various people.
Adapting Omnichannel Retailing Strategy
E-commerce has moved from SEO practices to several other marketing channels, with the motive to interact with more and more consumers. Due to the increased engagement of people in social media, businesses started connecting them through every platform. As a result, U.S. retail e-commerce witnessed a hike of $211.5 billion leading to 16.1% sales in the second quarter as compared to 11.8% in the first quarter.
The prolific after-sales services were also the major reasons why people find online stores reliable. Despite facing such tough times, Covid-19 boosted the e-commerce sector while transforming the shopping habits of the people. Although shops were closed for more than 3 months, there wasn’t a drastic fall in the economy due to enhanced e-commerce business. Popular brands like Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart, Walmart, and many more led to 80% sales in the July-September quarter, which is worth appealing. If you are an established retailer, yet to launch your e-commerce site, you are already late. Join the bandwagon and grow your revenues in the months to come.