According to experts, it takes around 21 days to form a habit. As COVID-19 has catapulted the world towards a new normal, it is safe to say that certain behavioural changes look likely to stick. SARS kickstarted the e-commerce giant Alibaba and other Chinese companies’ boom in Asia . Almost 20 years later, we are faced with a similar situation. The economic situation coupled with a strengthened awareness of the climate crisis have also had significant effects on consumer appetite.
We uncover some new trends and provide insider tips on how you can prepare for the future of e-commerce.
E-commerce is on the rise
With physical stores having to close, social distancing measures and lockdowns, the demand for online shopping has increased greatly. A study by Shopify shed light on some key trends by analysing data of more than one million Shopify users in Germany. According to the study 36% of consumers in Germany agree with the statement “I have shifted more of my spending to online shopping compared to earlier this year (2020).” and 87% have made online purchases during the pandemic. Young, digital native generations are likely to further catalyse this shift in consumer behaviour in the future, should e-commerce continue to increase momentum.
- Review your business model: consider creating a robust e-commerce platform and exploring digital sales channels
- Stress-test: are your online channels offering customers the smoothest shopping experience?
- Get hiring: some new tech-savvy employees could help you reach new audiences
- Customer-centric supply chain: focus on strong product availability, fast deliveries and easy returns
Small and independent businesses are becoming trendier
We are witnessing the development of a severe economic crisis, but shoppers are willing to help. According to Shopify 65% of consumers want to support independent businesses and 50% want to support small companies. The main reasons for this are to support entrepreneurship, good customer service and a personal shopping experience. Although many individuals still find shopping through larger marketplaces and large retailers more convenient, businesses who are able to optimise their services and gain visibility will benefit from this emerging trend greatly.
- People are browsing the internet more due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, making this is the right time to reallocate your marketing budget towards digital channels rather than out-of-home efforts.
- Use your digital channels mindfully: focus on creating content that adds educational value to your customers and develop a long term relationship with them instead of solely focusing on the commercial aspects of your products.
- Strengthen your customer experience. Convert visitors by providing a human-centred UX design and an individualised experience. Selling facial products? Let customers take a short quiz to help them find their skin type, and then redirect them towards targeted options.
The climate crisis is a topic of great importance, and COVID-19 has underlined this to an even greater extent. It made many of us reflect on our life choices and on what is deemed as “normal”, because often, normal is the problem. We witnessed how the general slow-down of everyday life benefited the environment. This has had repercussions on consumer sentiment: 47% of agree with the statement “I prefer sustainable or ‘green’ products when shopping.”. Millennials and individuals from Generation Z (born 1997 – 2012) feel most strongly about this and can be won over by companies who, as part of their business model, give something back to society and the planet.
- Launch a sustainable product line, or even better, make your whole business impact oriented – either social, environmental or both!
- Show ways in which you are being impactful: a small first step could be to donate a percentage of your revenues to a good cause.
- Most importantly, be real and transparent. Younger generations strive for authenticity, therefore social impact should be at the core of your mission and not just used as a branding strategy. You don’t want to fall into the “green washing” trap 😉
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