How COVID19 is transforming E-Commerce & How to prepare for Next and Beyond

The 2019 coronavirus disease recognized as COVID-19 has changed the universal ecosystem, affecting all walks of life and every sphere of business including ecommerce. One of the possible speculated scenarios upfront is that consumers have migrated their physical purchases to the online store, whether or not the confinement situation continues over time.

Does it desist us to say, Electronic Commerce is here to see its best time ever!

Restrictions on mobility are motivating a boom in the online supply of products and items from the convenience of home which is no more refrained to only edible and hygiene items.

Payment processor PayPal has been surprised by the growing number of transactions. On the May 1st holiday, the company present in 200 countries recorded the largest volume of operations in its history, over dates such as Diwali. “After the coronavirus, our challenge will be to maintain the growth curve”, says Anupam Pahuja, Managing director of PayPal India. It is not a unique case of positive performance.

“PayPal saw a payment transaction pickup by 20% (1.2billion) in the first quarter of 2020 and its TPV (Total Payments Volume) hiked nearly by $68billion that accounts for 22% YOY increase.”

The largest e-commerce portal in the country noted changes in the purchasing profile. In March, when the quarantine started, the items with the highest output were food, drinks, and hygiene products. In April, when people realized that they will be staying inside for quite a long time, the best sellers became exercise equipment, books, cooking utensils, and games.

The impact of Covid-19 on retail has been very strong, even revolutionary: millions of Indians have bought online for the first time, overcoming all the skepticisms related to the theme and seeing for themselves that eCommerce works and is comfortable, very comfortable.

Although from 2015 to 2019 eCommerce in India has almost doubled, its incidence left the professionals perplexed, because in 2019 it was worth just over 7% of the total sell-out.

A revolution has just started on this status quo: in the last few weeks, most people have come in contact with eCommerce and have linked their products with woo-commerce stores to enhance their sales and customer trust. With tools like Sparrow, an affordable marketing tool for your woo-commerce site, you can bring the technological edge to your campaigns that otherwise would be costly, and thus you can utilize the saved money and efforts in other crucial business operations.

Transitional Shifts in Consumer Behavior Amid Corona Crisis

“The global pandemic has altered many aspects of daily life, including how we consume. New trends in purchasing, products, and services have quickly become established in everyday life.”

Researchers at the consulting firm Category Partners believe that consumer behavior has changed rapidly since the start of the pandemic.

The first change happened at the beginning of March, that was something that they considered as a recognition phase, where consumers realized the fact that something was happening and thought maybe I should be supplying myself!

In mid-March, it was when they reached and characterized Phase Two, and that was really a panic purchase, so to speak.

A shopping cart is full of groceries in a supermarket during the coronavirus outbreak.
A shopping cart is full of groceries in a supermarket during the coronavirus outbreak.

A shopping cart is full of groceries in a supermarket during the coronavirus outbreak.

People started buying in bulk out of fear of possible food shortages, but as early as April, after everyone calmed down and realized they would not face a shortage, the third phase began: the Quarantine Phase.

Some have lost their jobs, others have gone from deliveries to cooking everything at home, since then grocery shopping lists have become well thought out and planned.

Experts believe that after quarantine measures are lifted, Phase Four will resemble the 2008-2009 economic downturn. Purchasing power will decrease significantly, which will greatly affect retailers.

However, the pandemic has forced people to try new online shopping experiences. And that trend could continue even after the pandemic.

“Only 4% of groceries were purchased online before the coronavirus; Now that number is over 25%, in less than a month!”

People take categories that they would only buy at the store and start buying them online the first time, “says Bryan Leach, founder and CEO of Ibotta, a technology company that is revolutionizing the way consumers pay and earn rewards when they buy.

Digital Consumption and Creativity Leveraged Ecommerce Marketing

Isolation opened doors to new ways to have fun, communicate, shop, and work.

According to the LLYC (Llorente and Cuenca) report, the change in habits is marked by the generalization of trends such as “virtual leisure, access to ‘delivery’, the purchase of online products, and the use of platforms for teleworking ”.

These trends are going to re-educate consumer habits and cause a faster change than expected in areas such as digitization, on-demand services, and the development of e-commerce.

2020 eCommerce Data: Plateauing Numbers @63.6% higher than before

Impact of COVID-19 on e-commerce
2020 eCommerce Data: Plateauing Numbers @63.6% higher than before

Following WFH (Work From Home), maintaining social distancing and adjusting to the Quarantine life led masses to explore the Ecommerce domain like never before. With consumers avoiding physical store visits this arouses the sentiment that is leading the public to furiously click the mouse button to land up to digital stores and eCommerce websites.

Businesses who geared their focus on eCommerce SEO and eCommerce marketing have reaped significant benefits, accelerating their revenues, and overall business gains. The top prioritized categories in this line of business include health and household, baby products, grocery, beauty and personal care, pet supplies, and industrial and scientific realm.

Let’s scrutinize a few business marketing spheres who did well and were up and running successfully within the tough times.

#The Boom of e-Grocery

According to Google data, the mobility of Indians to go to food stores, drugstores in general and pharmacies, and therefore to buy basic necessities which cannot be overlooked, has decreased by 42% in the last month and a half.

On the other hand, eGrocery from mid-February to mid-April recorded an average weekly growth of 119% compared to the previous year, with peaks of + 217%. Not to mention the last milers, driven by the Zomato, Swiggy, and Uber eats which is x3 compared to 2019.

And, finally, the marketplaces: Paypal itself has analyzed the consumption habits of Indians in the last month and a half, declaring that Amazon has recorded a frightening increase in transactions, making + 90%, while Flipkart makes + 38%, which considering the already very high volumes of average transactions on the platform is no small thing.

#Inclined Stance of Various Sectors

During the month of April, the consumer assimilated that what seemed like a conjunctural recession would be a more permanent and transverse state, and thus his behavior towards sales channels was changing.

From the collection of essential goods during the first week to the madness for home gym products, eCommerce was rotating according to needs and trends. By the middle of the month, a 33.5% increase in demand had already been drawn compared to previous weeks.

What are the products with the most business opportunities in the B2B framework? Well, despite the general growth of the sectors, it is easy to see where the interest accumulates in the first fortnight of April compared to the previous fortnight:

  • Babies and children’s clothing + 75%
  • Home and garden + 61%
  • Technology and appliances + 43%
  • Pharmacy + 40%
  • Car and motorcycle + 37.6%
  • Fashion + 31%
  • Games and educational material + 27%
  • Sports + 20.6%
  • Pets + 19.6%
  • Leisure and culture + 11.6%
  • Food + 3.23%

[Related Reading: “Ecommerce Marketing 101 – Creating and Executing an Ecommerce Marketing Plan.”]

Challenges and Opportunities in Electronic Commerce

The situation affects consumption and harms those more static and inflexible business models. That yes, that until now exploitable opportunities disappear, does not mean that in their place others are not appearing.

Before the arrival of the coronavirus in Spain, the penetration of eCommerce within borders ranged between 5 and 40%. As the weeks of confinement passed, the market grew at a sustained rate, and is now at levels similar to those of the United Kingdom or Germany.

In Accenture’s opinion, customers’ business experiences must generate trust, comfort and relevance, but, in parallel, new habits and behaviors are emerging that may be the starting point for a new wave of innovation in commerce “.

Companies that had been considering eCommerce as a secondary sales channel will now have to reflect and derive more resources from this digital environment. In other words, they will have to expand the offering and create new service lines.

How?

Responding, at a general level, to three fundamental questions. The first, promoting tranquility among clients. It must be taken into account that 64% of consumers fear for their health and that 88% remain uncertain about the economic future.

This situation negatively affects demand, and forces companies to seek solutions to restore “normality.” Once the tension is calmed, the next step will be stabilization; ensure periodic transactions, and project a growing demand through eCommerce.

“How can I reconfigure my products, services and markets, and establish new alliances to get new clients and keep existing ones?”, they ask from the consultant. Pre-crisis figures are no longer useful, and a reorientation is evident.

To generate the long-awaited opportunities, it is recommended to “create a digital supermarket aisle”. Or what is the same, redirect inventories to digital, and analyze and identify areas of differentiation.

To the change must be added a new human resources policy, a re-evaluation of prices and solutions. In conclusion, work on three specific slogans: ” trust, relevance and comfort “.

Promote Online Sales

  • With shipping and returns with free home pickup.
  • With an extension of the return period.
  • Guaranteeing the refund of the full amount of an order in case it is not received due to transportation incidents.
  • Offering discounted coupons during confinement.
  • Proposing the purchase of gift cards online.

Enhance Ecommerce SEO

– Ground Up Ecommerce Keyword Research

  • Target potential and right keywords, long-tail keywords
  • Make use of top keyword tools

– Streamline Website Architecture

  • Organize category web pages
  • Implement internal linking

– Optimize On-Page SEO for eCommerce Sites

  • Optimize titles, meta tags, images, URLs
  • Optimize category and product descriptions

– Emphasize on Link Building and Content Marketing

  • Resource page link building
  • Submit guest blog posts
  • Find backlinks to your competition
  • Craft link-worthy content

[Related Reading: eCommerce SEO Checklist: 7 Tips to Increase Traffic]

A “New Normal” for eCommerce

Just as teleworking has broken into companies, destroying analog trends and cultural customs, eCommerce will land in traditional commerce to transform the situation into a new reality.

With no coronavirus vaccine still on the calendar, economies around the world are already gearing up to begin de-escalation of containment measures and to revive production cycles. However, this will occur while maintaining a series of security measures.

Physical stores will operate at a lower volume of activity, and many consumers will leave their homes with some fear of contagion. In this context, e-commerce promises to remain an effective tool to keep distribution chains running.

The growth of e-commerce during the coronavirus has taken a leap where many small and big enterprises have put their shoes in this field. Some of the largest retail chains have already announced that they are expanding their e-commerce sales to adapt to these new consumer habits.

Without a doubt, COVID-19 has accelerated this process. And while these companies may seem better equipped to meet new customer needs, this change is out of control for many others.

In the future, the learning obtained from the pandemic will allow eCommerce to remain firm as a modern and suitable alternative to channel the needs of modern societies. And, of course, interested companies will have to be prepared to place themselves at the forefront.