Beyond COVID 19: eCommerce’ Battle For Life

“2020 undisputedly had the worst villain of all times”.

-The Menacing COVID-19

With more than 2 Million deaths and above 130 Million cases, humankind saw what will be dreaded for centuries. The Novel CoronaVirus triggered all impossible trends, faiths, actions, livelihoods, and emotions back and forth in the past year, thrashing countries incredibly in all plausible events.

However, in the face of a global economic decline, COVID-19 has culminated in a spike in e-commerce and rapid digital transition. Reality hits hard, and while a significant chunk earned benefits, others fell behind. eCommerce, on the other hand, made an acclaimed appearance with a massive boost.

Entrepreneurs are all assiduously working knee-deep to pivot adversity into opportunity. But, everything aside, how did eCommerce transubstantiate in twelve months? What significant challenges were overcome? More importantly, after COVID-19 in 2020, how will eCommerce be remodeled for good in 2021?

COVID-19 Thump Straight From 2020 At Full Length On eCommerce

As constraints, entrepreneurs with younger businesses faced more significant hurdles. From seeking potential clients to obtaining funding, they were shaken inside out. What else? The stress of keeping existing customers, abiding by the policies, laws, regulations, and self-doubt always rules in such un-economic situations.

B2B Challenges Amongst Crises

Let us talk about the McKinsey & Company report where B2B companies sail for digital wave.

Over three-quarters of sellers and buyers already favor automated self-service and online human engagement over face-to-face encounters. This pattern has grown stronger long since lockdowns and detentions have ended.

Even in industries where field-sales models have historically prevailed, such as medicinal products and pharma, only 20% of B2B customers claim their hope for in-person sales.

Remote associations help with prospecting and selling both. With the drop in face-to-face meetings, live chats and videos became the rising stars in closing B2B deals.

Workflow engines are the alternative for B2B business. Accurate data plays a significant role while engaging with consumers. Sending customers order details, recommended goods based on their preference, and personalized coupons can be handled through a workflow automation engine.

Product Category and Consumer Needs Shifting During Covid-19

Health has become a priority post COVID and still is. The consumer needs have shifted from luxury, apparel, travel to essentials and values. And this will continue for enough time. It has effects in various spheres as in shopping and consumption. People ought to make physical consumptions from nearby markets.

Unemployment increased, and remote working became a trend. Also, time tracking softwares, productivity platforms, and project management tools have given focused and flexible working schedules. Virtual interactions are increasing among co-workers and consumers.

The best companies have saved talent, energy, and time. According to Harvard Business School and New York University, the series of meetings rose by 12.9% on average after the pandemic, and the number of participants in each session rose by 13.5%.

Leaning has also become remote, and there is a rise in subscription-based products and services. OTT platforms became popular. Netflix itself has generated revenue of $6.14 billion in 2021.

Preference in cinema, streaming and additional gaming time, reduction in tourism, and the focus shifted to fitness, organic, fresh, and natural ingredients and gave rise to e-pharmacy and e-doctor.

Besides health and safety products, shelf-stable items and bulk-buying became popular. eCommerce was always about social distancing. No health was ever risked whether you bought groceries, drugs, bikes, or food. So, safe.

Shifts in eCommerce Cashflow

As far as eCommerce revenue is concerned, in a survey conducted by SearchNode, for about 27% of eCommerce leaders, there was a 100%-200% increment in their income compared to the pre-Covid times. After all, convenience beats price. Hence, online shopping and intensification of the online competition follow.

Everyone has accepted social distancing as a means of slowing the progress of the pandemic. There has inevitably been a decrease in in-store shopping. Customers turned to eCommerce to buy products they would not have purchased in person.

This prediction turned out true. Some sectors are seeing substantial increases. Increased online revenue turned out particularly true for online sellers of household goods and groceries on the internet. China’s biggest online retailer, JD.Com, saw typical household staple revenue increased fourfold compared to the same time last year.

For generational behavior purchasing, according to Statista, “ 31 percent of Generation Z/ Millennial shoppers (aged 18 to 39 years old) stated that they had changed their grocery shopping habits in response to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Overall, 23 percent of total U.S. shoppers reported a change in shopping behavior.”

Restriking With These Trends- Growth Driving Factors Post COVID 19

Marketing is the essence of every kind of business. Post-COVID, marketing strategies need to be remodeled. Sales and assortments will be challenging for retailers, but in eCommerce, it is more about engagement and trust over the internet. And believe it or not, 2020 was not that bad a year financially for eCommerce companies.

According to research by SearchNode, 63% of eCommerce businesses brands 2020 as an overall successful year than their physical stores. And as a matter of fact, in the US, the growth eCommerce had in 90 days was equivalent to that of the past ten years. (Mckinsey)

Therefore, 2021 might have something big waiting for eCommerce.

Triggered Digital Marketing

Even though COVID-19 is atrocious, with more people shifting on the web for their needs, it has transferred and increased the online traffic. Going digital also means an increase in digital media patterns, which gives industries greater control over their online presence.

Consumers’ drastic move to online channels shows how digital marketing is the recovery from COVID-19 losses. When it comes to estimating customer spending habits and sentiments, digital marketing comes to the forefront.

The data amassed during the pandemic can help businesses to connect with their audiences productively. And that is forever, not for this time.

So, what should be your next move with digital marketing post-COVID-19?

  • Now more than ever, messaging must be more targeted
  • Understand the consumer persona post-COVID 19
  • Content should be substantive, have genuine value, and deliver to consumer needs and queries
  • The focus should not move from long term targets and strategies
  • Establish trust between brands and consumer
  • Promote new ideas and prioritize innovation to run your firms
  • SEO will be vital for long-term growth post COVID-19

If one analyzes the upcoming trends, that won’t leave; they are not difficult for digital marketing and eCommerce. Both quickly go hand in hand.

All said and done. The following trends are here to stay:

  • Use of online and on-demand platforms
  • Increased focus on cleanliness
  • Outsourced IT
  • Customers focussed on less spending and saving more
  • Contactless delivery and payments
  • Greater use of self-service
  • Remote work engagement
  • Digitization of customer service

eCommerce Advertising

Ranking on top of the SERP might not always be possible due to the prominent paid advertisements. Most results can be sponsored on the first page. The top five results are the one that gets clicked most.

So, eCommerce advertising should be on the rise. It has benefits with cost, influencing the revenues, page views, short-term sales, and transactions. Moreover, it always comes down to maintaining a balance between resource investments and sound results.

The ROI of PPC and Facebook ads has escalated. Therefore, instead of all possible advertising platforms, cover those where your target audience is present. Facebook ads are affordable and engaging, and the eCommerce business could use its retargeting strategy post-COVID.

This is a way of informing how your business is thriving or ready to serve in the ‘new normal’ environment with revised rules and a better user experience. Make sure your customers know you stand by them through thick and thin.

Existing Customers Are Important

Customer experience is obligatory, so a digital experience that is easy and accessible through all devices. It is not about rethinking the business model but focussing on the value of the existing consumers.

Pivoting your engagement strategy for marketing and messaging is the way to go. The challenge is to keep up the good work and strive for better. eCommerce business booms on customer demand and how well you suffice their needs.

Prioritize Mobile Shoppers

It is easy to shop via mobile phone, and the speed of your website and user experience still counts here. Responsive online stores keep a consistent overall user experience. Other things like converting your eCommerce store into a web app and combining them with accelerated mobile pages can help refine conversion rates.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence will be a boon post COVID. Chatbots can be used for 24-hour availability. The data collected can be substantial for catering to consumer needs. BotMyWork can help you create chatbots for free.

Try experimenting with Augmented reality. Make your product clear, and customers can overlay them wherever they point to their mobile device. This can work wonders for home goods and large items. Hence a total quality 360-degree satisfaction.

Switch To Subscription Services and Create Required Product Category

Though essential commodities are on-demand and consumer spending habits have changed, simplicity, convenience, and immediacy are also major factors for promoting your eCommerce business.

One thing that can guarantee you revenue would be recurring services. Providing subscriptions and engaging memberships for your products and services could enhance your eCommerce business. Provide gift cards and always still keep the emotional value in there.

Improve Checkout experience, Promote Deals and Adjust Shipping Cost

Humans love savings. BOGO(buy-one-get-one) deals always work. Create new offers that appeal to your audience. Reward them for staying loyal to your brand through points that can be redeemed for a discount on cart total.

Even making shipping free or charging a minimum amount would do and deploying reusable or recyclable packing material. A digital thank-you note like a personalized email or discount for special consumers shows you empathize with them. Free shipping actually works. Not just that, early delivery is like a deal-breaker. Fast and Free.

In This Together

New opportunities to serve and create revenue along with fulfilling customer needs awaits all eCommerce business. If they realize the gravity of the opportunity, they are bound to succeed. Just a little segmentation of data, adaptation, and multi-speed management, and things will turn out just right.

Entrepreneur. Co-Founder at MakeWebBetter | BotMyWork | CedCommerce | CedCoss. Writer at Search Engine Watch | E-Commerce and Marketing. 🙂