Online Shopping Continues to Rise
Online shopping has been one area that has clearly benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic. While brick-and-mortar businesses had to close down due to social distancing measures, eCommerce and online shops picked up the slack.
In March alone, click and collect services experienced a surge of 35% across the industry.
However, as many stores reopen, the online shopping sector doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of stopping or slowing down. Online sales grew by 76% in June, which only reinforces how customers are becoming more accustomed to shopping via the internet.
But, are the current trends here to stay, and are there any downfalls to the retail model that the world is experiencing as a result of Coronavirus? Carry on reading to find out more about online shopping and why it continues to rise.
Why Are Consumers Sticking with Digital?
Health Is Wealth
First and foremost, eCommerce sites and shops provide shoppers with the ability to put their health and wellbeing at the forefront of their lives. Typically, heading to a supermarket and handling products and items without social distancing and washing hands and packaging afterward would be commonplace.
Today, the spike in cases around the world, as well as the after-effects on the world’s economy and peoples’ routines, means that everyone is starting to see the benefit of being cautious. A massive 70% of UK consumers say they’re uncomfortable returning to stores.
Online services offer consumers the ideal opportunity to carry on buying essentials and non-essentials without leaving the comfort of their home and putting their health at risk.
Services Are More Efficient
At the beginning of the crisis, nobody would have said that retailers were capable of dealing with the increase in demand. Yet, as the curve has flattened slightly, the customer experience has skyrocketed.
Mostly, this is because the rise in demand for eCommerce solutions has held steady since March. According to Forbes, this has created the ideal market conditions for companies. Now, with no need to worry about falling click-through, bounce and conversion rates, businesses can fast-track, test, and launch new apps, sites, and landing pages.
As a result of this, and the fact that shoppers’ priorities have changed – 50% now care about availability as opposed to quality – services aren’t as clunky or unpredictable.
Loyalty Is Strong
Before the health crisis, loyalty wasn’t a renowned customer trait. Consumers would jump ship as soon as it suited them, and for frivolous excuses such as small savings. COVID-19 has put customer loyalty back at the top of the list for shoppers as they realise that not all brands are out to turn a profit.
The ones that went the extra mile and helped those in need when they were scared and unable to assist themselves haven’t faded into a memory. Instead, customers, many of whom were already driven by their principles, are choosing which companies to shop with based on their Coronavirus policies.
The likes of Ryanair, for example, are bound not to receive any sympathy from the public as thousands of people are still waiting on refunds from cancelled flights. L’Oréal, on the other hand, donated more than half a million hygiene products to healthcare workers and are reaping the rewards.
What Are the Potential Downfalls?
Although online shopping has been a lifesaver for many people, research also shows it could have consequences such as the following:
• A lack of products: Supermarkets and eCommerce platforms might be better equipped to deal with an increase in demand, but it wasn’t the case in March. 50% of shoppers experienced product availability inaccuracies when they decided to shop online, which clearly isn’t sustainable in the long-term. And, while the solutions appear to be improving, there’s no way to gauge how they’ll operate if there is a second spike and bulk-buying is commonplace yet again.
• A boost in prices: Prices haven’t risen much during the lockdown, yet that hasn’t stopped shoppers paying a premium for their typical weekly shop. Due to the lack of items on the shelves, the ONS has released figures that show a 4.4% increase in the average cost of a household’s shopping bill. If demand grows and shelves are bare once again, around a fifth of people will have to pay more for standard items as the cheaper versions aren’t available.
• Not everyone survives: Some online shopping and eCommerce stores have adapted and used the surge in internet and mobile sales to their advantage. Sadly, not every business can do the same, with a plethora of high street shops filing for administration or bankruptcy.
Online shopping continues to rise and will do for the rest of the year. However, will it come at a cost for shoppers and retailers?