covid and ecommerce

The e-commerce results: “Covid Effect” or natural evolution?6 min read

If 2020 represented, especially in the first two quarters, a year of concern, of shelter and of habit abandonment, 2021 can rightfully be considered the year of rebirth.

A global recovery after months of difficulty: this is the phenomenon we are all witnessing, in the dual role of spectator and actor. The pandemic emergency has significantly changed the way of life of millions, perhaps even billions, of people everywhere. Everyday life, sometimes compulsorily, has given way to daily change; safety has been replaced by alarm, by necessity.
In short, we have all changed, especially in our usual way of life.

A change in consumer habits

The radical transformation of consumer attitudes is undeniable.
Whereas before the routine led us to buy mostly in stores, particularly for essential goods, today there is a tendency to replace direct contact even for the most basic transactions. The need to “touch” a product to buy has dramatically decreased, leaving room for the dynamic of the ‘review‘, the only auctoritas in the field; this has also occurred in those sectors where physical perception, especially tactile and visual, was considered paramount. Think of books, clothing, electronics, cosmetics and food. Not to mention furnishing, which used to require a ruthless “I see, and then I buy” rule, but today it is experiencing a rapid growth in its online sales revenue.

By analysing the numbers, ProduceShop has found that specific percentage values can be translated into practical observations. A sort of sociological equation, where statistical data become real behaviour. A purely theoretical way of explaining practice, in short. Let’s take a look at the results we have arrived at, comparing them with the development of the ‘renaissance trend‘ underway in this second quarter of 2021.

Our data:

  • The frequency of online shopping has increased by around 80%: this is the most revealing reflection of how much pandemic has impacted our need for physical contact. The Sunday shopping for new shoes has been replaced by a few minutes of online conversion
  • About 37% of consumers have decided to buy products online that they used to buy in stores.
  • 60% (and still growing) of users have almost completely switched to alternative payment methods to cash and today these customers require the same options of payment in physical shops; we are not just talking about credit or debit cards and ATMs, but alternative money circuits and mobile apps.
  • More than 50% of consumers now choose to order goods online even if they are easily accessible geographically. This is certainly the most interesting fact: whereas in the past eCommerce was the last option to turn to after searching in all the shops close to home, today it is the first purchasing choice. Let’s just consider for certain segments, for example food, how revolutionary this news is.
  • By the same percentage points (around 50), the use of online shopping has increased not only for consumer goods, but also for services. For example, streaming platforms have tripled or even quadrupled their registrations just in the last year.

The picture these data return to us is quite complex but nevertheless meaningful. Human contact in consumer relationships is significantly decreasing, except in some specific market areas or professional fields.
However, this does not affect people’s perception of others; human contact, after almost a year of alternating renunciations, is even more sought after and desired, but without any work-related connotations. We seek each other out because we want to find each other, in short.

Covid, eCommerce and new habits

Not a bubble, but a eCommerce step ahead of its time:

While the positive numbers underline a certain regression of live commerce, they also show how eCommerce is experiencing, for itself and for users, a renaissance, taking a leap forward that was not calculated in the path.

On the other hand, we have noticed an interesting fact about the users’ approach to online purchasing: the trends related to the age of the average users have increased, causing a boost in buyers’ behaviour. Not a total revolution, as this adjustment was expected anyway, but a sort of generational advance. One of the most striking effects of this pandemic has therefore been to backdate the technological adaptation of past generations who, o once they have experienced the comfort of the technology, are gradually getting used to it.

The advantages are many, and not only in terms of turnover: trend analysis has shown how the growth in consumer demand has led the businesses to adapt in terms of means and resources. First, because a sudden change in practice for some businesses has led to significant logistics, stocking and delivery problems, not to mention that, for many companies, digital skills were not at all up to the task.

ProduceShop says:

“A reality like that of ProduceShopRonny Soana, COO of the company tells us -, furniture and DIY eCommerce, has had an interesting development in this regard. Having a strongly structured and prepared IT and digital system, it was first necessary to implement the workforce in terms of number of resources employed; in anticipation of greater demand, the company quickly organized itself to expand its catalogue, in terms of offered products and as a spectrum of choice among the categories, and to strengthen its distribution and logistics network, guaranteeing a service that was always in line with our high quality standards, both in terms of product, reliability, effectiveness and customer response.

In order to support market demand, which had expanded from Switzerland to cover most of Europe, ProduceShop was closely assisted by Google. Using the American giant’s multiple analysis and monitoring tools, ProduceShop was able to anticipate customer requests; thus, to prepare a tactic in line with the various European KPIs set. Furthermore, all our in-house applications, developed by a technologically advanced team, have allowed us to further optimize our response times in the procurement of goods, in the fulfilment of orders and in the management of customer service, only to name a few. This allowed ProduceShop to achieve results in terms of marketing, conversion and turnover that not only exceeded expectations, but also the segment average.”

In conclusion

This, however, should not be interpreted as eCommerce’s “good fortune” as a result of a disastrous situation.

Even now that the emergency is being handled more consciously, a and a gradual return to underlying normality can be planned, the dynamics of consumer behaviour are compromised (in a positive sense) forever. We are going to witness an ever-increasing revival trend in the field of online commerce, a factor that implies a continuous training of new professional figures, a massive use of realities such as Google and their tools as working platforms, until we reach, but without touching, an economic and digital singularity in less time than could have been foreseen.

All, however, hoping to do so with a pandemic well left behind.

Sources:
  • Corporate PR
  • ProduceShop development division (https://mbkfincom.com/)
  • Ansa.com
  • Corriere del Ticino
  • Italiaonline
  • Phoenixweb
  • Eshoppingadvisor
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