Will eCommerce Survive COVID-19?
The headlines have been filled with disappointing news, and stories about your favorite places to shop are no different. Most states have required some closures over the last few months, which has had a devastating impact on brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants, and other businesses.
If you’re recently read about a family business in your community permanently closing its doors as a result of a sudden loss of income, or yet another one of your favorite chain stores filing for bankruptcy, chances are you may be wondering what the future of shopping is. Are online stores facing the same fate? Or has our society’s quick shift to embracing all things virtual helped eCommerce shops fare better?
How is eCommerce Doing?
Fortunately, eCommerce has managed to thrive throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Online sales skyrocketed during the first weeks after COVID-19 shut down the country, as many grocery stores ran out of essentials, and other types of shops were forced to close temporarily.
Although most stay-at-home orders have been lifted and many businesses have returned to some kind of operation, consumers across the nation continue to prefer shopping from their homes’ convenience and safety. Many eCommerce owners have actually seen an increase in revenue this spring and summer, in sharp contrast to brick-and-mortar stores’ average income.
Impact of the pandemic on eCommerce
COVID-19 has boosted sales for large and small eCommerce businesses and a variety of other online services. These benefits are likely to stick around through the holiday shopping season and well into the future. Recent predictions surrounding online spending in 2020 suggest that eCommerce sales will reach a new record by topping $1.1 trillion for the first time in history.
¨2020 will be the largest year ever in terms of eCommerce-driven sales, which are projected to top $1.1 trillion dollars for the first time in history”
Shifts in Demand
Although COVID-19 has harmed a wide variety of industries, eCommerce is one area that is thriving. Following a brief pause in spending at the beginning of the shutdowns in March, many people have returned to normal levels of purchasing.
Orders over time by category
Source: Klaviyo Note: Order Values* (in millions) *Global, not just US
As Klaviyo has tracked the pandemic’s impact on eCommerce, they have seen key trends emerge. They’ve noticed a sudden spike in demand for product categories that help people make the most of time at home, like electronics, housewares, and office supplies. They have also found that industries like jewelry and consulting services have experienced declining in demand based on consumer lifestyle changes.
Although the overall figures have begun to fall slightly since early June, they remain above average. Online grocery delivery services and online restaurants have seen a significant increase over the last few months. Video streaming platforms and other types of digital entertainment have gained subscribers, mainly as restrictions have made other activities challenging.
Reasons COVID-19 Is Boosting eCommerce Sales
While the convenience of online shopping has begun to give several categories of eCommerce sales advantage over brick-and-mortar businesses over the last several years, the events of 2020 have shifted many consumers’ shopping preferences strongly enough to have a lasting impact after the pandemic is over.
Throughout this spring and summer, many states imposed restrictions on opening physical businesses, which led many people to turn to online options to get the things they needed. Although some shoppers have been eager to return to in-person browsing in their favorite stores, others aren’t quite ready to head back to physical shops yet. The convenience and safety of shopping from home during a time when shopping in stores is a bigger hassle than ever have created loyal eCommerce customers that are likely to stick around through the holiday shopping season and into 2021.
Impact of COVID-19 on Black Friday Sales
By late summer, you should already be preparing your eCommerce website for your Black Friday sales and the rest of the holiday shopping season, and this year is no different. Although this year has been packed with uncertainties, approximately 75 percent of Americans surveyed indicated that they do not plan to change their holiday shopping budgets in 2020.
Recommended Reading: Why You Should Start Thinking About Black Friday Now.
While many brick-and-mortar stores will be spending this fall wondering if they will be able to allow the volume of customers of a typical Black Friday sale into their store or even keep their business open until holiday sales bring in more income, you can expect this to be one of your eCommerce business’s best Black Fridays yet.
Even stores that return to normal operations by Thanksgiving may still struggle to attract as many shoppers as they did on previous Black Fridays. Not every customer will feel comfortable being around crowds yet. These customers are likely to turn to online sales to browse this season’s best deals of the year, giving your eCommerce site a distinct advantage.
Anticipating a strong Black Friday season means that spending a bit of extra time planning your sales is a must. It’s never too early to start researching trends to decide which items will be your top bargains. We recommend beginning designing your emails, social media, and other advertisements to send to your target audience, and working with a professional to make sure that your website looks and functions its best.
Optimize Your Website for Increased eCommerce Sales
Your shop deserves a website that’s reliable as well as aesthetically pleasing. It’s the most valuable asset your company has.
At Future Holidays, we care about the success of your eCommerce business, and we want to help you get the most out of your website so you can continue to grow your business year after year.
Give us a call at 619.736.3972 or fill out the form on our contact page to talk to one of our experts.