Life as we know it has taken a turn since the first novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case was reported in 2019. Most activities came to a standstill as preventive measures were enforced to reduce the spread of the virus. Everyone was affected in one way or another; while some suffered devastating losses, others made immense profits. One of the industries that had benefited from this positive outcome was e-commerce.
With the lockdown in place and travel restrictions in order, most people have turned to online shopping for their daily necessities. Having an e-commerce store became essential to keeping certain businesses afloat. As a result, there was a sudden spike in demand for the services offered by e-commerce platforms. But what will happen after COVID-19?
When people use a certain service for a while, it becomes embedded into their lives. Even when the pandemic subsides, people are likely to continue shopping online as compared to visiting physical stores. This increase in competition will prompt e-commerce platforms and online businesses to improve their services to attract new customers whilst retaining existing ones. You can expect to see more loyalty programs, promotions, improved website and app interfaces, and even price engines to determine where to get the best price on the products you love.
But as competition and demand increase, more companies will need to come up with quick solutions to curb any product shortages. One way to combat this is to invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate supply chain management. And to top it all off, another thing to expect is the improvement of shipping services by local and international couriers. As more people are getting into online shopping, courier companies will also have to step up their game to deliver packages to impatient customers as soon as possible.
Before the pandemic, the elderly preferred shopping at physical stores over using e-commerce. However, their age posed vulnerability to the virus and they were advised to further stay in quarantine. In accordance with government mandates, they turned to e-commerce as a safe way to get essential goods and services. Hence, businesses will need to diversify not just their product and service offerings, but also the accessibility and usability of their sites and apps to accommodate this demographic.
It’s probably already a known fact that social media sites gather information about you to recommend content that’s in line with your tastes. The main problem with this type of algorithm for e-commerce sites is that it tends to recommend similar products based on what you’ve bought in the past. Let’s say you bought a phone case just yesterday. It’s likely that when you log in to that platform again, you’ll be recommended with even more phone cases. Although you may find the recommendations pretty cool, the fact remains that you don’t actually need one anymore and it’s not likely that you will buy another.
While not all companies offer a personalized shopping experience, it is definitely something all businesses should look into if they want to drive up their sales. In fact, a survey found that 48% of customers are likely to spend more if their shopping experience is personalized. So we may be asked for more feedback in the future for businesses to get to know us more and to improve their personalization algorithms.
Depreciation of Select Goods and Services
While some e-commerce sites will continue to thrive after COVID-19, other businesses (especially those that were initiated due to pandemic concerns) may go under. For instance, sites offering online classes and tutoring services may lose their clients when schools fully reopen. Businesses that focus solely on providing personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, face shields, and protective gowns with creative designs may also face a decline after the pandemic. Though there is a chance that these kinds of services may survive even after COVID-19 is settled, there will undeniably be a major drop in traffic to these sites.
Though e-commerce has blown up during the pandemic, it doesn’t seem like a phase that would die down with the coronavirus after the world has conquered it. Most businesses have adapted and grown through e-commerce; and if you own a business, yours can too! These days, e-commerce has become as easy and as accessible as 1-2-3. And by the looks of things, e-commerce is only about to get bigger.