The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly defined much of the year 2020 thus far, and it looks to continue to do so for the rest of the year as well. While it is difficult to make estimations and assumptions about what we will look back on and remember decades from now, there are some implications of the pandemic that are undeniable, even now. From shifting business practices to shifting personal practices, there is clearly a “new normal” that seems to be here to stay.
Businesses of all sizes, in all industries, have had to grapple with how to best handle this situation. Losing customers, losing employees, and losing profitability is heartbreaking, but some companies have actually been able to benefit from these changes. E-commerce is an industry that has benefitted from online shopping and bulk buying in numbers never seen before. Consumers have forced the hand of e-commerce, holding them accountable to meet new expectations.
In the United States, the e-commerce sector has grown rapidly for years now. The pandemic, however, gave new meaning to the term “rapid”. Scrambling to meet consumer needs means adjusting to changing shopping behaviors, supply chains, personnel shifts, and more. Keeping up is no easy task and while e-commerce companies have surely enjoyed this new wave of business, some have simply been unable to maintain.
COVID-19 has generated a consumer base that has new demands and expectations, and a workforce that is scrambling to catch up to them. Today, we look at e-commerce and its importance in a COVID world.
E-Commerce Must Carry Its COVID Weight
E-commerce seems to be at the center of the universe right now. While consumers know nothing of the behind-the-scenes struggle, many retailers have had to comb through operational issues, personnel problems, and marketing hiccups, all while serving their customer base as seamlessly as possible. While other industries may roll their eyes at these challenges (revenue growth for online retailers is at an all-time high), the issues must be addressed nonetheless.
As online retailers work to adjust to this new normal, one thing has become abundantly clear: the world needs e-commerce to operate smoothly today, and likely each day after. Quarantining made people rely on online shopping in new and ground-breaking ways. This has not only shifted the e-commerce industry, but has permanently impacted how consumers spend money. Their inclination to embrace e-commerce has showcased just how important this sector has become.
The following are some of the strongest reasons why e-commerce is so important today:
- E-commerce has helped to lessen impact of retail closures across the country. With the ability to stay afloat with online sales, companies have been leaning on e-commerce revenue to sustain their business. Loyal and local customers have played a huge role in helping small businesses keep their doors open.
- Subscription-based industries, like wine and coffee, have seen massive growth in their direct-to-consumers online orders.
- While physical stores have struggled to keep shelves stocked lately, online shopping has filled that void and allowed for consumers to continue their buying patterns.
- Companies have been introduced to the power of convenience as it relates to satisfying their customers. For instance, the ability to order online and pick up in store has given brick-and-mortar stores flexibility and reach to a new customer base.
- A new connection to prospects and customers has emerged as e-commerce flourishes. Companies are recognizing the weight communication in facilitating sales and keeping their customer base happy and informed.
Online sales have skyrocketed and the information aftermath is vital. E-commerce companies are now armed with massive amounts of data. The ability to analyze this data to determine who is buying your products/services, what platform they are using to do so, and what communication tactics worked best is extremely valuable.
COVID-19 has certainly brought with it more harm than good, but e-commerce is a shining example of turning something negative into a positive. The aftermath of the post-pandemic e-commerce industry seems poised to remain strong and stable well into the future.