I’m sure that we can all agree that COVID-19 has had an impact on all of us – whether that’s in a big or small way. From what felt like never-ending lockdowns to the new normal of wearing masks and not being able to hug family or friends for months on end, 2020 was certainly a year of change.
The good news is that we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel; shops have reopened, we can now enjoy meals inside our favourite restaurants, attend indoor events and much more. In short, normality doesn’t seem too far away from us.
However, that leaves us with one big question: where does that leave eCommerce?
Ecommerce Isn’t Going Anywhere, Anytime Soon
Despite lockdown restrictions gradually easing and shops now opening, it seems like online shopping is still the preferred option for most people the UK. Whilst the shopper footfall on high streets increased by +178% on the first weekend of trading, eCommerce revenues also saw a rise of up to +2.5% week-on-week (Internet Retailing Statistics) – which goes to show that online shopping isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
In fact, it’s estimated that eCommerce is growing at such a rapid pace that it’s predicted to make 22% of retail sales worldwide and there will be an estimated 2.14 billion of online shoppers this year alone. In other words, there’s a lot of potential customers out there to make the most of (Oberlo Statistics).
Safety Is Still A Concern
Although millions of people are now receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations (thankfully), the virus has certainly changed people’s perspective of safety and hygiene standards and it’s likely that this isn’t going to change for a long time. As a result of this, people are still opting to buy essential and non-essentials that you can get delivered to your doorstep the next day instead of physically going to the shop.
It’s Easier & Much More Convenient
Name a better combination: shopping from the comfort of your own home in your loungewear.
Although sometimes going in-store to try on clothes or try out products is unavoidable, the convenience of online shopping hasn’t changed, even in a post-lockdown world. Plus, with the online returns process getting quicker and quicker, it’s much easier to return unwanted items now.
Avoiding Long Queues Or Heavy Traffic
Of course, one major advantage of shopping online is that you don’t have to endure never-ending queues or traffic on the way to busy shops. When shopping online, you can skip that entire process and save yourself a whole lot of time from the comfort of your own home.
Working from Home Is Still A Thing
Yep - although it might seem that everything is opening again, a surprising number of offices have opted to keep their employees working from home for the future. From safety concerns and saving money to more flexibility with shift hours, it’s a win-win for both the employer and the employees in most cases.
As a large majority of people are continuing to work from home, it’s likely that home office products, furniture and supplies will continue to expand and increase in popularity online even after lockdown.
When shopping in-store, there’s a limited amount of choice of products that you can compare the prices of. Whereas, if you type into google a particular item you’re looking for, you will see hundreds of products to choose from. Not only will this give you an endless number of choices, but it also allows you to compare prices easily and choose the best offer available – something that you can’t really do when you’re shopping in one store.
The Latest Ecommerce Trends:
As we mentioned in our previous blog, there has been a massive shift towards mobile shopping over the past year. In fact, 2020 was the biggest year for mobile shopping so far, with a total of 82 billion hours spent in shopping apps in the UK alone (Ring Central Statistics). With millions of people regularly using their mobiles for pretty much everything, from checking bank statements and emails to social media, it’s incredibly important to make sure your website is mobile-friendly if you don’t want to miss out.
Personalisation Is Important
According to Google, a customer that experiences a highly personalized experience when shopping online is 40% more likely to spend more than they originally anticipated. Whether it’s a ‘recently viewed’ tab or a ‘products you might like’ section, customers are more likely to click and purchase these items than to actively look for these themselves on your website.
Use Chatbots & Customer Service
Since 2020, you’ve probably noticed that more and more companies have started adding chatbots and customer service buttons to their websites. Not only do chatbots provide potential customers with quick answers for simple questions and 24-hour customer service, but it can also save businesses time and money on customer service by a considerable amount.
With augmented reality (AR) becoming more accessible for brands since the rise of smartphone technology over the years, many businesses are jumping on this bandwagon - especially since the lockdown restrictions hit us. AR is proving to increase mobile engagement and conversion rates - in fact, conversion rates increased by 90% when consumers engaged with websites that feature AR in comparison to those that didn’t (Retail Customer Experience Statistics).
So, Has COVID-19 Changed The Retail World Forever?
Over the past few decades, the retail industry has been slowly but surely changing along with technology and consumer behaviours - however, not quite at the pace that it has since the pandemic.
Not only has the multiple lockdowns forced us to change how we live and how we act, but it’s also changed consumer behaviours and expectations. While some retailers might believe that the impact of the pandemic will only be short-term, the statistics are telling us otherwise. For example, one-third of consumers have admitted that they will continue to buy their shopping online even once the pandemic is finally over.
The Importance Of Having A Great-Quality ECommerce Website
Since COVID-19, 45% of forward-thinking businesses have shifted their focus to the digital side of their business. Whether that’s creating, improving, or personalizing their websites, more and more businesses have realised the importance of having a great-quality eCommerce website is if they want to stand out from their competitors. Although it will take time and effort, it will certainly be worth it in the long run for your business.
If you need a new website but don't know why, where, or how to start, then we’ve got you covered. We plan, design, and build websites of all shapes, sizes, and complexities.
Interested? Call us on 01174 508 300 or email us today.