How Has eCommerce Changed During Covid?

November 7, 2023
Photo by Bench Accounting on Unsplash

The COVID pandemic compelled multiple small businesses to reevaluate traditional business models. Existing and innovative technologies moved to the forefront of eCommerce stores’ toolkits. Forward-looking companies are taking measures to address new digital business skill sets proactively.

According to data from the International Trade Administration, retail sales worldwide significantly increased in 2019 and 2020. The ITA forecasts 8% growth in retail ecommerce sales globally until 2024. This increase results from the paradigm shift pandemic disruptions have brought to the sector.

The effect on consumer behavior

Against the backdrop of Covid-related business restrictions that deterred in-person shopping, many businesses turned to eCommerce to survive. Globally, digital purchases via eCommerce platforms increased to 44% in the above time frame. Countries such as Japan, Spain, and Brazil saw the biggest increase in the number of companies selling online as a reaction to COVID-19.

Covid also drew attention to the significance of digital transformation. Platforms with a solid eCommerce strategy were more flexible than traditional retailers and thus more likely to survive supply chain issues.

Given how the pandemic sped up the transition to online shopping, building an online store has never been more feasible. Consumers are spending hundreds of billions on eCommerce every fiscal quarter, according to data from the US Census Bureau.

Businesses are focusing on cheaper shipping options

Many online retailers are introducing cheaper shipping options like Buy Online, Pick up In Store (BOPIS). Expenses associated with last-stage returns and delivery can have a pronounced impact on retail margins.

BOPIS was paramount to big box sellers during the coronavirus pandemic. For example, BJ Wholesale recorded digital growth of 300% a year and announced major plans to expand BOPIS initiatives. Under normal conditions, BOPIS traffic increase provides an opportunity for higher sales and lets customers return items in the store.

Retailers started working with shippers to extend pickup location coverage. For example, Walmart lets buyers pick up products from FedEx locations. More and more retail franchises are adopting BOPIS, which is becoming the basis for implementation as COVID-19 fades into oblivion.

Chances and opportunities for eCommerce

Naturally, buyers shifted towards online purchasing to avoid public locations. Consumers who bought products online tended to repeat this pattern after the holidays.

Key takeaways for eCommerce platforms

Post-Covid, eCommerce platforms should pay attention to their strategies. In particular, they should be dynamically oriented to adapt to evolving circumstances.

In-person retail and physical venues were widely restricted during COVID-19. Retailers who are only operating physical locations should consider moving online in case this tendency continues post-Covid.

Be creative on social networks

It always pays off to be creative on social media. Cultivate engagement with your community. It will appreciate your efforts and might reciprocate.

In addition, concentrate on bottom-of-the-funnel ads and channels. Brand awareness campaigns are harmed by rising uncertainty and rapidly changing customer behavior, so focus on the bottom of the funnel.

Facebook retargeting is recommended. Display your ads to people who have already seen your products.

Use your assets to encourage and sustain demand

At the moment, push marketing is worse than social selling. Digital marketing will pay off in the near future.

Revise negative keywords

Considering how quickly consumer searches are changing, you have probably ended up displaying ads for new search queries, which might not be converting. Don’t waste funds on such queries. Smart allocation of your advertising budget is crucial. Check your search terms report and remove all non-converting queries and terms.

Use Google’s customer match audiences

Use Google to identify channels in your area that consumers trust. Adjust your advertising portfolio to exclude non-converting products. Focus only on ones that sell well and generate returns.

Consider device preferences

Last but not least, you can expect people to stay home more even after the worst of Covid. Buyers might use their computers more than their phones. You should include this consideration in your strategy and optimize budget allocation per device.

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