Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash
The traditional way of buying and selling items has always been through brick and mortar stores. People traditionally used to buy things from a small shops, branded shops, or malls in big cities and in smaller towns from local Bazars.
Products are displayed in a very attractive way through big glass windows to allure the clients. Interested customers would walk in and look through the different products and then purchase the desired one. People prefer that because they can touch and feel the product and negotiate the price over the counter in some cases.
The beginning of e-commerce
Even though this is still largely relevant, e-commerce has given new avenues and ways to buy and sell. It has revolutionized the way people buy and sell products. With the exponential growth of the internet and e-commerce, the convenience of shopping has changed.
Before, people had to spend hours in shopping malls to buy products. Now all they have to do is sit in the comfort of their home, scroll through different products, and buy.
During the early days of e-commerce, people were skeptical about buying online due to numerous reasons such as timely delivery, secured payment, and quality of products. They were unsure of purchasing products from websites and would prefer buying it from a store.
But now people are assured and prefer online shopping. The fact that they can return products if they are not satisfied is a plus point. Moreover, now most of the website's stores provide one-day delivery and secured payment. That has altered consumer behavior.
How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected the e-commerce and retail industry?
The retail industry was booming until the coronavirus pandemic happened. The virus has infected millions of people worldwide and has led to various countries shutting down their work.
As the virus spreads through contact with an infected person, when they cough or sneeze or touch a surface that has the virus on it, people are forced to stay in their homes. Avoid going out. Hence shopping from stores, supermarkets and malls have reduced or at many places stopped.
People are afraid that they might contract the virus, so now they prefer to buy everything from essential groceries to luxury items online. Most e-commerce websites have started 'no contact delivery' or 'contactless delivery.' Payment is also made online; hence it is a much safer option than going out to the stores.
The e-commerce giants
Leading e-commerce players worldwide, such as Amazon, online sites of retail stores such as Walmart, Costco, and Target, have faced a surge in orders and first-time customers.
Amazon has announced on its site that the customers rely on them like never before in their social distancing and self-quarantine efforts.
During the initial phases of lockdown, amazon only accepted orders of basic necessities such as groceries. They were unable to accept other orders due to the increase in orders and logistic issues.
On 25th March 2020, BigBasket, an online grocery player in India, announced the following -
"We'll be back soon! We are currently experiencing unprecedented demand. In light of this, we are restricting access to our website to existing customers only. Please try again in a few hours."
The demand increased so much that various other sites had to announce similar things as they were unable to accept so many orders.
Increase in first-time customers
Not only regular customers, but a lot of first-time customers have also started purchasing online. A survey by Search Engine Land found that people are spending on average 10-30% more online. The products which they bought from stores are now being purchased online.
Valassis's survey discovered that 42% of consumers were shopping more online, and only 8% were engaged in less e-commerce.
This shows how e-commerce websites have earned throughout this lockdown and pandemic.
How have retail stores adapted to this?
Due to the shutting down of stores and malls, several retail stores have started their online store and started selling their products online. They had to adapt to changing times.
Is your store ready to move online?
Do you own a small business or a store?
Do you want to take your business online but are unsure of how to do that?
Don't worry, we at ShimBi Labs have you covered. Our products will help you get your business online in a few minutes.
With Ninjin, you can create your online store in a jiffy. Add your products and start selling. No coding knowledge required. All you need is your imagination and creativity.
After creating your store, you will need a customer relationship management application (CRM).
Now you may be wondering what a CRM is or why is it required?
CRM enables you to engage better with your customers. It helps in building and nurturing customer bonds.
It manages customer data, supports sales management, and delivers actionable insight.
Rather than purchasing an expensive CRM application, you can use Mikan CRM. It has a free version, so you can use that and see how efficient it is. If you are satisfied with it, you can purchase the premium version of it.
With changing, times adapt your business with the 'new normal' bring your business online. Reach out to our customers where they feel comfortable.