The world will never be the same after this ongoing pandemic. COVID-19 has forced businesses across the globe to rely on basic survival instincts to hold their business from falling apart amidst this crisis. Panic buying of household essentials dramatically increased during the pandemic, which led to the boom in the sales of companies that offers those products. The world-famous retail company Walmart experienced a 97% rise in sales in the second quarter of 2020 in the United States.
The lockdowns enforced by governments have also led to a drastic change in the consumer segment of the e-commerce industry. Before this pandemic, it was generation Z that was more inclined on buying stuff online. However, even adults and senior citizens are now preferring to shop online rather than standing in queues at a mall or supermarket.
The rising trend of online shopping
The ongoing pandemic has brought a paradigm shift in the way the e-commerce industry operates as businesses are more focused on offering everyday essentials rather than luxury goods like jewelry, clothing etc.
People have now realized that it is not only safe to buy goods by sitting in the comfort of their homes but also time-saving as well. Even small stores are offering home delivery options to keep up with the rising trend of online shopping. Since people are now stocking up on medical supplies as a means to avoid the spread of the virus, sales of goods like sanitizers, masks, face shields and PPE kits is at an all-time high.
Mobile E-commerce – The New Normal
Mobile commerce is going to be the new normal when it comes to shopping for products online in near future. More and more companies are now striving hard to make their websites mobile-friendly in order to boost their sales. According to an estimate, 53.9% of all e-commerce sales will be done through mobile devices.
While it is true that mobile e-commerce is profiting, it needs a lot of research and timely improvisation if you wish to keep the online shopper engaged on your website. The use of Progressive Web Applications (PWA) is gaining popularity to reduce bounce rates. This application stays on the user’s home screen and loads instantly, irrespective of whether the user is online.
The Move Towards Automation
Even though some countries are slowly moving back to normalcy, the after-effects of the coronavirus are still prevalent in society. This has led to many businesses reducing the number of people working for them and moving towards automation as a means to keep the business running amidst this crisis.
There are numerous areas where automation can be applied when it comes to the e-commerce sector. You can use it to list new products on multiple channels, identify and cancel high-risk orders or schedule inventory alerts for reordering. Whatever you do, automation is bound to eliminate the risk of human error and increase productivity.
In developed countries like the United States and Japan, warehouse robotics has become a go-to option to cut costs and improve efficiency. In fact, there are now more than 3200 robot-enabled fulfillment centers worldwide. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has also seen an upward graph, which puts the future of e-commerce on a whole new level.
The Digital Transformation
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have always lagged when it came to e-commerce participation, especially in OECD countries. These SMEs were devoid of digitalization before the crisis and hence had to shut their businesses during the countrywide lockdowns. However, governments are taking drastic measures to bring these enterprises back to life.
Governments in various countries are now doing their best to bridge the gap between these traditional SMEs and the online retail sector by offering economic relief packages that bring modern technology to their doorstep.
Countries like Korea and Japan are encouraging these SMEs to go online by offering support programs. China and Singapore helped the MSMEs during this crisis to make a smooth transition to e-commerce by giving them access to e-commerce platforms with global reach. Such steps will play an important role in reviving the fallen economy.
In the past, the sale of products like fashionable jewelry, high-end clothing and electronics accounted for a large profit in the e-commerce sector. However, this pandemic has made people concentrate more on what they need rather than what they want. In addition to this, the rising inclination of consumers towards buying products online has opened new doors of opportunity for business and has paved the way for their expansion towards new customers and types of products.
The retail world is not going to be the same after the coronavirus pandemic. There will be those who will go back to their old habits and get things done in an old-school way. However, one thing is for sure that for those who have found solace in adjusting to the ways of the online e-commerce system, a sharp rise in sales will be waiting for them.