There’s no denying the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on businesses worldwide. One industry that has remained relatively untouched, however, is that of ecommerce.
Ecommerce hasn’t just weathered the COVID storm; it’s found a way to thrive in it and build a foundation for expansion throughout the rest of the decade. But how? Let’s take a look at the main reasons.
The online model (and its safety)
It feels like an obvious thing to say at a time when brick and mortar stores across the country are closed, but a huge reason for ecommerce’s success throughout the pandemic is due to its existence in solely online spaces and the safety that brings for consumers.
Yes, you need people to physically pack and deliver the orders, but at a time when human contact presents an unforeseen danger, the idea of getting everything from food to birthday presents to hobbyist tools without having to leave the house is incredibly appealing.
Going to one of the few stores that have remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic puts vulnerable people in an incredibly dangerous situation. While most stores have done their best to implement social distancing measures, they remain difficult to follow, and long lines prolong potential exposure to the virus for less able people.
The accessibility of the online model for the store owner is also a significant factor. Ecommerce stores are much easier to establish than brick and mortar alternatives (whether you’re in the middle of a pandemic or not). All successful trends need to be easy to get into to some degree. New developments mean ecommerce is no exception.
Dropshipping, for example, is a fantastic fulfillment model that takes away lots of the pressures and demands typically entwined with launching and running an online store. New models of ecommerce such as this have made it possible for people lacking huge stockrooms or the time and talent to create bespoke products to find inroads into running an online store. This flexibility has made it possible for people to manage their stores remotely throughout the pandemic, as they do not need to handle returns and delivery processes.
In comparison to traditional retail, online shopping is a safe, easy, and accessible way to get both essentials and products to keep you occupied throughout lockdown. This combination of ease and safety has made it one of the primary forms of shopping for regular people across the world.
Product and store variety
Shopping online doesn’t just offer ease, peace of mind, or safety — it offers much more variety too.
Think about what you can reasonably reach while in lockdown. With most stores closed you’re relying on large convenience stores that, while varied in what they stock, can’t offer certain specialist products or the opportunity to compare lots of different brands in the way a selection of high street stores can.
Online shopping caters to consumers looking for everything from large brands to bespoke specialty stockists to small independent businesses. Ecommerce makes it so the only compromise you have to make is in terms of price (as even express delivery options have all but eliminated the need to wait for your order). If you’re looking for something particular to get yourself started with a DIY project you’ve been putting off under lockdown, chances are you’ll find it online, and in more options than ever before.
It’s not just a variety of products that have made ecommerce so popular. A number of different ways to shop have had an impact. Pay later systems such as Klarna were gaining traction long before the pandemic, but have presented less financially well off people with the opportunity to still buy nice things and invest in hobbies while laid off from work or furloughed.
A variety of options has also been key to ecommerce’s enduring success throughout the pandemic, with people having access to both big brand and local business stores to give them greater consumer freedom. This kind of choice is essential for industry growth.
Clever, strategic digital marketing has been key to the success of ecommerce stores throughout the pandemic.
Not only has it provided a way to communicate ecommerce as an effective solution to the fears listed above and the variety of products on display, but it has managed to capture the public’s feelings on the crisis and played into what they value right now.
Coronavirus marketing for ecommerce stores has been driven almost entirely by emotion. It appeals to people’s concerns about going out, explaining it offers a solution for their needs to purchase food and goods. It plays on the boredom they’re feeling, promoting their products less as commodities and more as tools to relieve boredom and improve themselves throughout lockdown.
This content, coupled with strong statements explaining their understanding of the crisis and their measures to protect both staff and customers, has helped to convince people who may not have previously considered ecommerce that it is an option worth checking out.
Ecommerce is a thriving, ever-evolving industry that (in part thanks to the pandemic) could be set to create the world’s first trillionaire. Once the dust settles on coronavirus it will be hard for physical stores to match the trust these stores have gained from average customers who are now accustomed to their variety and expertise.