The digital world has advanced, and new norms, priorities, and expectations dictate the future of ecommerce. So, how does ecommerce appear in the aftermath of a pandemic? In the last 15 months, we’ve become more comfortable with ecommerce in areas like apparel, furniture, and groceries where we previously had difficulty shopping online.
We changed our daily and weekly shopping habits to be more deliberate and patient. We adjusted our comfort level by purchasing clothes without trying them on first, and we accepted that our living room upgrades would take place without first sitting on them. We’ve shifted our buying habits to prioritize convenience and safety over certainty, but is this a preference we’ll hold onto in the long run?
Reintroducing brick-and-mortar shopping into our lives will be as easy as riding a bike once stores reopen to capacity, mask mandates are lifted, and schedules return to pre-pandemic levels. Key digital transformations, on the other hand, have allowed a wide range of retailers to benefit from consumers’ increased openness to shopping online, permanently cementing certain preferences for virtual over physical.
Categories of ecommerce in demand
According to the report, the pandemic has also helped consumers define the types of items they consider important. Clothing, for example, has become less important as more people work and school from home, as well as social isolation due to government shutdowns. Other categories, such as food, alcohol, and home improvement supplies, however, increased at The pandemic’s impact on ecommerce has raised the bar for what is now considered normal growth. According to the US Census Bureau’s Q2 2020 report, retail ecommerce in the United States hit $211.5 billion in the second quarter, up 31.8% from the first quarter and 44.5% year over year. In the second quarter of 2020, ecommerce accounted for 16.1% of overall retail sales, up from 11.8% in the first quarter.
How much of this pandemic-fueled internet spending is a transient shift, and how much is it affecting longer-term expectations, are the questions that IBM’s report attempts to solve. The answer, at least according to this calculation, is that the epidemic accelerated the industry by five years. The shift away from physical stores was already happening, but we’ve already outscored to where we’d be if a health disaster hadn’t arisen.
The Digital Shift
Is it possible that we’ll go back to the analog way of life? Will people who disliked online shopping simply return to traditional brick-and-mortar stores? In all likelihood, this will never happen. Executives expect eCommerce penetration to rise 25-40% following the pandemic. Large retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and so on have been working hard to catch up with Amazon in terms of eCommerce. Even though they had already begun before the arrival of COVID 19, the virus certainly hastened the process.
Fulfillment options have played a large role in the digital shift. Before the pandemic, new ways of fulfilling needs like curbside pickup had been slow to catch on. These trends were propelled by worries about safety and other constraints. Customers who wouldn’t normally use BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick-up in-store) were ordering groceries online and picking them up curbside. As a result of this, customers have come to appreciate the ease and adaptability of alternative fulfillment. Following the pandemic, customers will continue to expect such fulfillment options.
Social Media; The Primary Engagement Strategy
Again, social media’s advancement for product involvement began even before the COVID pandemic, but the outbreak magnified it. Because of this, brands have had to shift their efforts to online strategies like social media. Retail stores will continue to use social media as an effective engagement and marketing tool.
The global epidemic also heightens environmental and social problems. A growing number of consumers have begun to pay attention to consistency as a result of interconnected social issues and growing environmental evidence. The sustainability and social responsibility of a company are increasingly important to younger generations, and they are willing to pay a premium for products that reflect their values. It will be critical going forward to show a dedication to sustainability. Efforts and values should be made clear to customers when dealing with brands. Consumers, particularly millennials, are on the lookout for brands that are socially and environmentally responsible.
How to succeed in Post-Covid Retail?
Once COVID 19 is dealt with, the new reality will be restored and the ecommerce market will not go back to the way it was. That is a fact for retailers. Several of the digital changes witnessed at COVID-19 are just here to maintain a presence, and manufacturers must be ready to provide an extraordinary ecommerce solution.
The following are some pointers for you to bear in mind:
- Offer your customers a variety of ways to receive their orders. Customers want to be able to order products online and pick them up at a local store.
- Customers demand lightning-quick shipping and they adore the idea of getting something for nothing. Offer free shipping if you can. Other options include promotions and free shipping model variants. Transparency in shipping costs is critical, as is the ability to fulfill and ship orders quickly.
- An authentic omnichannel encounter; Make yourself accessible to customers wherever they want to buy. No matter how your customers find you, they should be aware that they are doing business with you. Concentrate on creating a seamless omnichannel experience.
- Using social media for advertising. Use social media to keep your customers interested. This year, use social media as an engagement tool by sharing promotions, demonstrating your values, and responding to customer feedback.
- Consolidate your operations in one location. Organizing operations is critical for the success of an omnichannel retail business. For all channels, your inventory and operations must be in sync.
The new normal is still evolving, and customer expectations will continue to evolve as a result. Retailers who concentrate on the customer experience and respond to it with fluidity and originality in their omnichannel experience will perform better and enhance their customer relationships. Hashtechy helps you maintain a flexible approach towards your customers and most importantly, We are here to help you set up a booming ecommerce platform! Act upon the latest trends with Hashtechy.