What will be e-commerce habits after the crisis?
The movement restrictions that are now being lifted in different countries will change consumers habits and expectations in the long term. Disruptions to our daily lives and routines (family, work and social lives) will influence the way we use technology, shop online or interact with brands.
The spread of the virus is creating new behaviours, the governments' call for physical distancing doesn't necessarily mean social distancing, our new routines will end up settling in and some of us will get used to staying indoors, we'll discover new ways to enjoy art, work, parties, education, shopping.
It's clear that not only businesses but also customers are enabling these new habits and behaviours. Many online platforms across the globe are now offering their services for free. Across Europe we see examples of companies trying to gain and retain clients; an interesting example is how many publishing houses are given people free access to valuable content such as magazines, comic books and e-books.
Keeping new online shoppers in the long term
The situation is truly exceptional for retailers, e-commerce and consumers. People are stimulating an unprecedented increase in online shopping, with many people ordering online for the first time. This will clearly influence and shape the future of last-mile deliveries. Organisations working on the last-mile are now quickly digitising processes they would have kept delaying years and years, those processes were not considered a priority for their daily operations before this crisis.
Nielsen's research and Kantar's barometer on COVID-19 are optimistic. They show how consumers are moving fast from panic shopping and routine readjustment to a new normal shopping behaviour.
The first two weeks are characterised by panic shopping (the most seeked products being toilet paper, non-perishable food, pantry supplies, hand sanitiser, other hygiene and cleaning products). Stockpiling products considered essentials are no longer on top of mind for consumers and home deliveries - once delayed up to 2 weeks due to the high demand - are returning to normal. Simply putting it: we are recovering!
But as this new reality becomes our new normal, companies will find solutions to keep their business going and consumer behaviours will evolve. The demand of 'non-essential' products will increase: sports gear, equipment to work from home, gardening and hobby-related products, etc.
According to the Kantar’s Barometer, Spaniards declared a reduction of 50% in brick and mortar purchases and an increase of 16% in online shopping (almost double of the global trend), with people declaring having bought online groceries (9,6%) and personal care products (7,1%) for the first time. On the other side, the Spanish Textile and Clothing Association (ACOTEX) confirms a decrease of 82% in online shopping for clothes since the beginning of the crisis. Recently, Spain experienced an increase of 73% in ecommerce in the second week of lockdown and 80% in the 3rd week.
Fun fact: while people were still indoors and restaurants and bars closed, consumer behaviours started showing much-needed signs of normality. In early April, sales of 3 new products in Spain soared and superseded toilet paper and hand sanitiser: beer (77,65%), olives (+93,82%), crisps (+87,13%). Keep up your virtual gatherings!
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In general terms, the post-coronavirus future looks bright with new possibilities being offered to both organisations and consumers who adapt to the situation now. People who are now buying for the first time, will continue to do so if companies guide them through a pleasant and seamless buyer’s journey online. This sudden acceleration of customer’s digitalisation will modify the business landscape. Requiring efforts from organisations, especially small and medium enterprises, who will have to rethink their business models and offer their customer innovation to keep them engaged.
Read here my last article about the retail situation in Europe and how companies are adapting.