The COVID-19 pandemic has caught everyone off the guard. We’re still getting used to social distancing rules and the new normal. One of the most significant changes in our everyday lives was the way we shop. Although most stores returned to business as usual at some point last year, people still prefer to shop online. After all, it’s the best way to avoid leaving your home and still get everything you need. How is such behavior impacting ecommerce? What does it mean for the future of the industry? Read on to find out.
A surge in demand
Let’s start with the most obvious one. During the first few months of the pandemic, most cities ordered a full lockdown. Nothing but essential businesses was open, and we had to adjust our everyday lives accordingly. For many, that meant starting to shop online. Unfortunately, all the hysteria led to people panic buying items in bulk. Quite soon, stores ran out of stock, and finding the item you need became extremely difficult. Keep in mind that at the time, local supply chains were disrupted as well. Stores weren’t able to restock as usual and demand kept increasing. Fast-forward to 2021 and people still prefer to shop online and avoid visiting crowded places. Luckily, businesses had enough time to adjust and the supply can meet the new demand.
More people turning to local ecommerce retailers
Above, we talked about how more people started buying online due to the coronavirus pandemic but that’s not all. Not only did the way we shop change, but we got to see some new trends in ecommerce emerge as well. When the pandemic first started, nobody wanted to order stuff that takes weeks to arrive. Instead, people looked for easier ways to shop online. That’s why most of them turned to local ecommerce retailers who offer everything they need. Just look at Shoppster, an ecommerce business that sells products from different brands on a single platform. With everyone feeling more comfortable ordering stuff from local businesses, it’s obvious why companies like this continue to attract more customers.
Purchasing behavior is changing
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all industries. Some, such as the tourism industry, got hit extremely hard. As mentioned earlier, ecommerce did all right but it was affected by the pandemic as well. With so many people losing their jobs and feeling uncertain about their future, purchasing behavior started changing. Most families decided to cut down their expenses and limit shopping to only necessary items. That’s why some ecommerce businesses saw their sales declining significantly during the first few months. Over time, we found a way to continue with our lives even with the pandemic going on. This means that most people stopped cutting down on their costs and returned to shopping as usual. However, it might take some more time before everyone can afford to order everything they could before the pandemic.
In crises like this, it’s natural to see significant changes in the workforce. As you can already imagine, people working in ecommerce got affected differently, depending on the niche their companies operate in. For example, three out of ten ecommerce businesses reported they had to bring in new people when the pandemic started. The other side of the coin is that 26 percent of ecommerce businesses had to fire some of their workers. 15 percent said they had to reduce their employees’ salaries. Situations like the one the entire world is in right now are unpredictable and we’ll see more changes like this in the future. The worst is behind and we probably won’t witness such extreme workforce changes in the months to follow.
More business selling online
The pandemic has made many business owners start reconsidering the way they operate. Just take a glance at small restaurants. Many of them never offered delivery service but had to start when at some point last year. It was the only way for them to avoid shutting down for good. Companies in all industries had to think about employing the same strategy. For many, this meant setting up an online store and giving their customers an opportunity to shop from their homes. This has led to some huge changes in the market. Companies selling ecommerce software suddenly saw more demand and marketing online became even more important than it was before.
The bottom line
Life during the pandemic isn’t easy at all. We’re somehow getting through it and all industries out there have no other option than to keep adjusting. The initial hits on ecommerce were tough but the industry has dealt with it over time. They had a lot of time to adapt and things are looking fine at the moment. The good news is that we’re now more familiar with the situation and ecommerce businesses are ready to face any future challenges.