The COVID-19 pandemic blindsided the whole world and upended the conventional ways of doing things. Undoubtedly, it has been a defining event of the year and will have implications that will well continue into the decade.
One of the ways that people have coped with this period of isolation and uncertainty has been by altering their shopping behavior. From bulk buying to online shopping, people are changing what they’re buying, how and when. It can be safely said that the coronavirus pandemic has completely transformed the e-commerce landscape and has massively accelerated its growth.
What people are buying is changing too. It is, perhaps, returning more to the relatively normal consumption patterns. Electronics and apparel purchases saw a surge of 11 percent and 12 percent respectively. People are working from home, yet they shopped for clothes with the rationale being that it’s been a while since they bought new clothes. Prices are also witnessing a change. Grocery prices have gone up by 4 percent since May as compared to 2019.
Major Trends Expected to Emerge
Over the next period, e-commerce businesses will need to be much more careful about how they approach the future.
– First and foremost, they will have to adopt risk-mitigating strategies that allow them to continue reaching their customers. These will include diversifying supply chains, more reliance on automation, implementing DTC models and reinventing the entire business process. They will also need to pay more attention to meeting customers’ demands.
– Mobile optimization will become extremely important and inevitable to make e-commerce business future proof. Currently, mobile shopping is witnessing exponential growth and this trend is likely to continue. Thus, e-commerce businesses will have to take a more hands-on approach to mobile shopping. To keep up, they will have to adjust early on by adopting mobile optimization tools popular among their customers.
– With fewer opportunities to make sales face-to-face, web design will gain a higher amount of importance. E-commerce businesses dealing in products for which tactile and sensory information is crucial will need to focus on creating such visual content on their website pages that could bridge the gap between online & in-person shopping experiences.
– Providing extensive and detailed information about your products and keeping your website visitors’ needs and demands in mind will be primarily regarded as a big step in the right direction. But that won’t suffice. In e-commerce, sales are driven by exceptional user experience. So, businesses will need to come up with ways to provide it to their customers. Services like free shipping, 24/7 customer service, or high-quality and refined instructional content will all influence conversions. E-commerce businesses will have to focus on improving user interfaces, streamlining checkout, and offering easier payment options. Also, they will have to ensure there is quality support behind every purchase. Updating your online business’ website with the right images, a proper logo, and a good user interface will enhance your current customer experience.
– Influencer marketing will accelerate brand exposure and the same would be used to solidify consumer trust in products and services to encourage better-informed buying decisions (testimonials and micro-influencer brand promotion). Roping in influencers will lead to more honest and authentic conversations between brands and customers. This, in turn, will contribute towards building brands with a genuine human connection.
– To stay relevant, e-commerce businesses will have to invest in digital infrastructure. Slow websites will put off people and they will likely end up on a competitor’s website. So, companies will have to make sure their network is robust enough to handle the growing influx of new customers and their website provides reliable data protection for visitors’ sensitive information. The future of e-commerce for brands relies heavily on these factors. So, investing in the right network and server options will be a step-up.
– Going forward, businesses will have to plan for growth. In most cases, companies find themselves high and dry when their supply chain dwindles down to nothing because of shutdowns. To avoid this, they will have to ensure that they have multiple options to keep stock available. Online shopping will continue to grow despite the shutdowns and lockdowns. Businesses need to work on having adequate capacity in their network to handle the rising demand.
Summing it up
With the situation worldwide being unpredictable at the moment, consumer behaviour is more volatile than ever. But what is certain is that e-commerce will keep growing rapidly, especially in the coming months. Hence, businesses will need to follow current trends. They will need to future-proof their business
model, mitigate risks, and find ways to improve their services. This will reduce the chances of being run over by the times, and companies will be able to scale new heights.