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eCommerce & COVID-19

Today I wanted to write about online shopping, eCommerce and COVID-19. Now that we are several months into the pandemic, we can look at some trends and try to learn something.


If you’re anything like me, you tend to carpe diem whenever possible. Sometimes that means sneaking out of the office at 3 p.m. on a Friday to enjoy a summer afternoon with the family while other times it just means clicking ‘Buy Now’ on Amazon because the deal on those wireless headphones is too good to pass up, and, maybe you’re doing both at the same time. Taking advantage of what is convenient and available to you in the moment is what we are talking about, and it applies directly to the current global situation surrounding online shopping.


For those of us lucky enough to have maintained employment through 2020, we are spending our money through the busiest online sales boom in the history of the world. Not only are we shopping our regular conveniences online — like the shaving razor subscription that arrives on your doorstep every 2-3 months — but in April we managed to buy almost every single roll of toilet paper available in the US. Seriously, almost half of all supermarkets reported being out of stock which drove many of us online. Consider that the Federal Trade Commission has reported a huge increase in complaints about online shopping since April. Once you realize that the amount of complaints reported is twice as high as the midst of the past holiday buying season, you will admit that a lot of people are complaining about online shopping. Even if much of it was about toilet paper delivery, the sheer number of people now buying online makes the power of web sales platforms fairly self evident.


Overall, there’s been a double digit percent increase in online customer bases across the majority of product categories sold around the world. In the U.S. and UK specifically, the utilization of online sales platforms has grown steadily over the course of the pandemic thus far. In that same vein, value and convenience rank high as reasons why consumers made changes in their buying habits in relationship to their brand choices. These characteristics are easy to identify online with side-by-side comparisons opening the door to any brand who wants to compete. Couple all of that with the current utilization of mobile devices for online shopping and you have an equation for a perfect storm of opportunities floating around the interwebs.


So, what’s the point?


If you currently sell anything, and I mean anything from toilet paper to headphones to pickup trucks, you need to be offering it online. You need to be optimizing your online presence for your brand and your product listings. You need to include multiple channels and you need to prove the effectiveness of your efforts. There are infinite ways to reach your current audience and push beyond the fence to promote new business and engage with new customers. What is your company doing to take advantage of the current state of the global marketplace and position for a future where online sales continue to grow?


There are more options than ever for where you can sell and how to funnel your offerings through those channels. My suggestion is to start by doing your research, making a plan, and tracking your progress along the way. Consider consulting with an eCommerce expert who can help you make a decision about what direction will provide the highest return and how to maximize your reach.


I hope you reap more benefit than loss during the pandemic. Stay safe!


Andy Tomaszewski
Senior Account Executive
Riithink Digital Marketing & eCommerce