How Is COVID-19 Changing eCommerce and Retail Businesses?

The current virus crisis is changing everyone’s behaviors and daily routines. With most people working from home, social distancing and isolating, people all over the world are beginning to understand that COVID-19 is a global pandemic that will not be going away anytime soon, and even when it does, it’s going to leave a mark.

Retail Disaster

COVID-19 has been harmful to the Retail industry, with about 15,000 possible retail store closures within this year. Including Apple, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Gap, H&M, and many others. A number of stores have even begun to reduce working hours. Some retail companies have even had to make modifications to their employee benefit policies.

For customers, the current pandemic means that shopping is limited and mostly an online variant. Businesses should therefore focus on their e-commerce sites for sales.

Money spent on ads for e-commerce sites have doubled from $4.8 million to $9.6 in the last weeks, this indicates a shift for most retailers to working online only. Retailers are also building up their Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, PPC ads, and Email Marketing.

Customers Changing

Also due to the current crisis, customers’ habits are drastically changing. Some may be going on online shopping sprees while others are cutting back their spending to just bare essentials like food, groceries, health and wellness products.

With more time on customers’ hands, businesses are finding more product reviews online. Online engagement has grown and customers have been more responsive to marketing and promotional messages.

Unfortunately businesses are expecting inventory shortages along with production delays during these times, understandably so. Governments are imposing restrictions in efforts to prevent further spreading of the virus, shipping will most likely be an issue in some areas.

Supply Chain Disruptions

Due to airports having to shut down, shipping has become a challenge for most businesses. Shipments going or coming from China and Europe have significantly lowered. Unlisted items are slowly starting to become more available on online catalogs and warehouse managers are beginning to renew their focus on efficiency and risk management.

Safety has become a main concern in the shipping and logistics of warehouse workers. Because they can’t work from home, carefully packaging and handling, employee hygiene, and wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) are being enforced.

Due to governments implementing lockdowns and distancing rules, in some areas, warehouses and trucking companies are starting to find no other option but to shut down. This is affecting areas they operate in and the clients they serve.

What will be the future of E-commerce?

Businesses around the world are trying to handle the current pandemic the best way they can, some more than others. Their strategy will need to evolve with the ongoing unpredictability of all that is happening, fortunately there is a silver lining. E-commerce websites will be able to capitalize on the situation, but only if their customers are able to find them.

A strong online presence is crucial during these times, and businesses need to invest in online marketing tactics, including Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and SEO.

COVID-19 is drastically changing E-commerce and retail businesses fast, and they must adapt quickly in order to continue operating.

Author Bio: Blair Thomas has been a music producer, bouncer, screenwriter, and for over a decade has been the proud Co-Founder of eMerchantBroker, with the highest-rated high-risk merchant account in the country. He has climbed in the Himalayas, survived a hurricane, and lived on a gold mine in the Yukon. He currently calls Thailand his home with a lifetime collection of his favorite books.