As the new coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout the United States, it is increasingly damaging health care as well as many other industries and sectors. From travel and tourism to finance and construction, nearly every aspect of the American economy has been affected by the global pandemic. One industry that has seen particularly notable changes in the past few months is e-commerce. As most states have given orders to live in an effort to slow the spread of the disease, many Americans are now self-isolating by turning to technology for work, education, communication, and shopping.
When asked about changes in their overall lifestyles due to COVID-19 in May 2020, about 62 percent of American adults surveyed reported going to stores less, while another 52 percent reported doing more online shopping. This shift from physical shopping carts to digital carts is one of several precautions citizens have begun taking since infections began to rise across the country in early 2020. To avoid contracting a virus in a crowded store, more than 20 percent of Americans said the frequency of online shopping increased in March, and even those who had never used e-commerce services in the past felt the urge to do so after the crisis.
What changes have businesses made to adjust to the growth of e-commerce?
With many stores being forced to close their doors as a result of severe restrictions, businesses have had to rely on their online sales to survive. However, this would not have been possible if they and their teams had not fine-tuned their operations.
According to the survey, 15% of businesses have created entirely new roles just to drive digital sales growth and make online shopping more positive for their customers. Many believe that the crisis created a technological revolution by telling people to stay home wherever possible and avoid shopping except for necessary items.
Why should businesses move to an online presence?
It’s always been coming, but now the technological revolution, as it has been called, has come well and truly. With behavior unlikely to change for some time, with the future still unknown, going digital is a good play for most companies.
With many customers reporting delays during the pandemic, it’s important to tighten up your processes and ensure you have a modern website, to begin with (go to names.co.uk to buy domain names for your business), and keep an eye on sales by ensuring excellent communication, delivery times and unmatched customer service in case something goes wrong.
Looking at the categories and products with the highest consumer demand, household goods and hygiene products stand out as the top sellers among U.S. shoppers. This trend is reflected online as well, as disposable gloves were the fastest-growing e-commerce category in March 2020, followed by bread baking machines and cold medicine. In contrast, spending on items such as travel gear and sports equipment has fallen significantly as a result of the travel ban and other government-imposed deterrents. So where do quarantined U.S. consumers buy the vast amount of products they consider necessary to cope with the crown crisis? As in many other parts of the world, the most popular destination is Amazon.
E-commerce sites that have seen significant growth
In June 2020, this e-commerce giant logged more than 5.2 billion visitors worldwide and even had to temporarily limit its supply of necessities in some regions after an unprecedented flood of orders. Other e-commerce sites that have seen significant growth globally include online retailers selling medical supplies as well as furniture and home décor platforms. Overall, between January and March 2020, COWID-19 contributed to a six percent increase in traffic to retail sites worldwide, leading many e-commerce retailers in the United States to expect future delays in production and inventory shortages.
However, one of the most notable shifts in consumer demand and behavior in the U.S. can be seen with regard to food shopping. According to an April 2020 global survey, about 30 percent of U.S. consumers are spending more than usual on food and beverages because of COVID-19, with packaged food, alcohol and non-perishable items more likely to be purchased for extended periods of time. But it’s not just the amount and type of food U.S. consumers buy, and sometimes their stocks, that changed in the first quarter of 2020, but also their preferred destinations. About 74 percent of shoppers surveyed indicated a willingness to visit online grocery platforms during home isolation to avoid trips to the supermarket. In turn, orders on online grocery delivery platforms such as Postmates and DoorDash are on the rise, and Instacart, one of the most popular grocery delivery apps in the U.S., saw a 218 percent increase in downloads in March 2020. But while these services offer customers a safe and flexible alternative to stranded grocery stores or restaurants, companies like Instacart also face harsh criticism for the way they treat delivery workers. Because delivery workers are hired as laborers, not employees, they do not receive sick pay or other health benefits. Seeing that these contractors work on the front lines of the pandemic, their lack of financial and physical protection from the coronavirus is constantly causing controversy.
Despite all the bad things that happened because of the coronavirus outbreak, fiscal 2020 was not that bad for many e-commerce companies. Most of them (63 percent) say it was a successful year (through October). And 28 percent say their e-commerce business did well, while their physical stores did not. And a surprising 2 percent say otherwise!
We hope this quick guide to e-commerce was helpful and wish you every success in your online venture!