E-commerce and the COVID-19 pandemic

May 12, 2020

o understand and adapt to the needs of its consumers, E-commerce is becoming every day more advanced and complex. Its models gain strength by translating the customer experience into practicality, technology, and trust. Intending to guarantee greater flexibility, several companies no longer work exclusively with physical stores, but also with online ones.

Currently with the COVID-19 pandemic, while physical stores are closing around the world as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus, companies that have online businesses are witnessing significant growth in traffic and sales.

According to an ACI Worldwide analysis of hundreds of millions of worldwide e-commerce transactions, the crisis caused by COVID-19 continued to influence e-commerce sales in April. With the general retail sector experiencing a 209% growth in comparison to the same period last year. The video games and electronic games segment followed, showing a 126% jump in April.

Sales volume of home products and electronic games
Movie and travel ticket sales volume

However, there is another point to take into consideration at this period: are operations prepared to keep up with the growth of digital businesses?

To be ready to serve consumers in the event of unexpected increases in online sales, marketers must understand that the digital market is a real business possibility, and plan actions on these channels in advance. Retailers’ big mission now is to keep operations running, avoiding any kind of interruption. After all, there is no point in having promotions and well-defined strategies without the website or application used by customers working well.

An American study published by Retail System Research in March 2020 detailed the early effects of COVID-19 on online shopping in the United States. The survey listed the top three items that would make shopping in the virtual environment difficult during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • 81% of respondents said that unavailable stocks would be a problem;
  • 43% cited lack of free shipping options;
  • 38% stated that the greatest difficulty would be due to the slow loading of the sites.

This important data shows how the consumer experience should be taken into account, from the first moment that he accesses a website. In a scenario where more and more traditional shoppers will turn to online channels, retailers that are able to provide the best customer experience will be at an advantage.

It is time to invest in intelligence and innovation to ensure the sustainability of virtual retail networks and operations, and thus transform the opportunity of now into results for the future. After all, the new coronavirus pandemic will pass and companies that prepared for the digital transformation of their businesses will take the lead in the race to win and retain customers.

Sources: ACI Worldwide, Retail System Reseach

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