How Online Shopping In The Era Of COVID-19 Has Changed
Table of Contents
Consumer Behavior Has Changed Drastically In The COVID-19 Era. Is Your Business Adapting?
The sudden and unexpected shutdowns brought on by COVID-19 has led thousands of businesses to move their entire operation online or face an uncertain financial future. As lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders quickly spread across the globe, millions of individuals found themselves locked inside, looking to social media and the internet for access to the consumer world they once knew.
Businesses have been forced to respond. The lockdowns brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic has led to a difficult crossroad – with adapt to the new way of doing business online, or try and wait until the lockdowns are lifted and hope for a return to business as normal.
The answer has become increasingly more obvious as the pandemic has lingered. Online shopping – once considered the novelty for companies such as Amazon – has become one of the only ways to do business in the pandemic economy.
The Seismic Shift To Online Shopping
Like any other major shift in consumer behavior, change has occurred on a bell curve of adoption. While Millennials and Gen Z have been quick to respond to the changes through their natural use of digital apps and online shopping, Boomers and Gen X have been slower to adapt to the changes. Even men and women have responded differently to the new behaviors.
Consider the following data from the past few months of consumer shopping:
A survey of U.S. and U.K. shopping behavior found that 96% of Millenials and Gen Zs fear that the pandemic will have a damaging effect on the economy and their favorite stores – leading them to move toward online shopping to help prop up small businesses. They have also become increasingly concerned about their financial situation – leading them to choose cheaper options when shopping.
Similar studies have shown that Gen X and Boomers are less concerned about the effects of the pandemic on the economy, leading to only 24% of Boomers and 34% of Gen X reporting that the pandemic has changed their buying behavior.
Survey data shows that men and women are responding differently:
● 33% of men – compared to 25% of women – stated that the pandemic’s effects had changed how and where they shop.
● 36% of men – compared to 28% of women – said that the lack of ability to shop in-person has changed how they spend their money on restaurants, in-person entertainment, and more.
● Men reported more interest in online shopping, while women reported that they were ready for stores to reopen. This has led to an increase in stores allowing for online purchasing and in-store pickup – the best of both worlds.
● Store-to-Door Subscription services have become increasingly more popular with women than men.
As these trends show, businesses that adapt to digital shopping methods stand a much greater chance of succeeding in the post-pandemic economy. With Millennials and Gen Z becoming the emerging consumer demographic, finding creative ways to reach this audience is becoming a high-priority for companies and brands.
Reaching Customers When You Can’t Reach Out To Customers
As brick-and-mortar stores closed their doors and businesses adopted online shopping methods, delivery methods have changed just as drastically. At one time, online shopping was considered simply for convenience’s sake – today it is an issue of public health.
To adapt to the need for reaching customers with goods and services while maintaining social distancing, businesses have become increasingly creative with their delivery methods. Consider the “new normal” deliver methods, and how far they have come from late 2019:
Services such as Amazon have become the status-quo for allowing customers to buy products through online catalogs, and have those products shipped directly to consumer’s doors. If companies can make that shipping free, then they have a chance to compete with companies such as Amazon.
Contactless Door Delivery
In the world of COVID-19, its more important than ever to limit human contact. For restaurants and other direct-contact businesses, this means delivering food and other goods to doorsteps and notifying consumers through mobile apps.
For businesses that are still operating from their physical location – coffee shops, small businesses, restaurants – curbside delivery has become increasingly popular. By ordering online and pulling up to the curb, customers can receive their favorite products in a safe fashion.
To help limit exposure risk through contact, many big-box retailers have moved toward online sales with pickup available through in-store pickup windows. This allows for companies to sell online while keeping employees working on their payrolls.
The New Normal Of Commerce
Among the many changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the world, the world of shopping has perhaps changed the most dramatically. Even more incredibly, the change may be permanent.
Consider the list of delivery methods above. What is the common focus of all of these methods? Convenience and safety.
When the day comes that the coronavirus pandemic fades into consumer’s memories, the convenience of shopping online and having products delivered to their door certainly will not. This online shopping adoption – forced upon consumers and businesses alike – is here to stay.
With that reality in mind, is your business ready for the new normal of online shopping? The first step in preparing to reach customers online permanently is having a strong, functioning online presence that engages and converts customers. With your website and social media presence being your new digital brick-and-mortar location, reaching customers in new and creative ways online is more important than ever.
If you are needing to revamp your web presence with a high-quality design that is tailored to eCommerce, consider the services of an experienced firm such as Shaka Web Design Services. At Shaka Web Design Services, our team is ahead of the game on helping businesses move to online shopping behaviors. Contact the Shaka Web Design Services team today to learn more about current consumer trends, and how your business can gain a competitive edge in the online marketplace!