With the ongoing pandemic, shopping for necessities and non-necessities online has become our greatest and safest convenience. It’s also shaping up to be a long-term trend that’ll be here long after COVID-19 has passed.
That’s why eCommerce businesses of all shapes and sizes must adjust and level up their marketing efforts if they want to remain in business.
eCommerce and the COVID Effect
The way the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected eCommerce businesses is both straightforward and, well, complicated.
It’s no secret that more people are shopping online these days. Not only is it safer, but brick-and-mortar stores aren’t exactly able to manage the status quo in terms of inventory. Necessary items have become scarce, staffing is limited, and each component of supply chains everywhere has slowed down due to restrictions and safety precautions.
While consumer behaviour and shopping patterns have changed dramatically since the first lockdown took effect, not all eCommerce categories are faring well. Some have seen a spike in demand, and others have seen a sharp decline in sales.
For example, specific niche eCommerce categories such as evening and dress wear, hair colour products, and luxury goods have taken a dive in consumer purchasing trends. Electronics are even beginning to see a decline in sales—although they did peak back in April as many remote workers outfitted their home office with the necessary supplies.
On the other hand, casual and comfortable clothing, including fitness wear, baby clothes, loungewear, and fast-fashion experienced a 21% increase between March and April of 2020 alone. The self-care industry, i.e., face masks, skincare products, lotions, etc., has also seen a spike in sales.
Above all, online shopping has become both habit and expectation as we move forward into 2021. According to the 2020 GlobalWebIndex Coronavirus Research Report, most consumers have stated that they’ll continue to avoid physical stores, even after bans have lifted and the vaccine has been administered.
All Eyes on eCommerce Business Marketing
Regardless of how long consumers plan to stay home waiting for the dust to clear, one thing is certain. The approaches previously taken in marketing and merchandising pre-pandemic are no longer viable if businesses want to remain visible in an ever-changing—and demanding-digital market.
The unpredictability surrounding the coronavirus is arguably the greatest challenge that eCommerce businesses face concerning their marketing strategies. Additionally, with millions jobless, the name of the game is to only spend on quality items. This has left businesses scrambling to maintain a consistent online presence as well as deliver well-manufactured items consistently.
With consistency also comes a focus on transparency, since window shopping has been reduced to a screen. Therefore the items viewed on said screen must match the package received to avoid losses on returns.
The world of consumerism from fashion, to electronics, to groceries, was inevitably heading in the eCommerce direction as we face projected digital transformation trends. The bottom line is that COVID-19 was the catalyst that sped up this specific trend, and now it’s here to stay—which is why businesses of all shapes and sizes need to get on board with eCommerce retailing and marketing.