The movement from bricks-and-mortar stores to digital shopping was a trend that was already taking place pre-pandemic but was fast-tracked over the past 18 months. The evolution has differed across sectors, however, the changes in consumer shopping behaviours and payment habits will be here to stay long after the lockdowns are over. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown businesses how to pivot and adapt, and the world of eCommerce has served as a case study in the cascading effects of social change.
Few could have predicted the dramatic level of disruption that was to occur when Covid-19 broke out. However, there was a silver lining for those who identified the opportunity to take advantage of the behavioural trends that were about to unfold. We have witnessed incredible strength and resilience in the eCommerce world. So many businesses have overcome all the challenges and obstacles that accompanied the pandemic, and are now coming out the other end stronger.
Shifts in consumer shopping habits and payment behaviours may have further implications for structural transformation and the development of the digital economy. Essential retailers and those with a strong online presence have witnessed expediential revenue growth. This means those who fail to boast a strong online presence must re-examine their working model as we are faced with the “new normal” in relation to consumer values and needs.
The future of retail is shifting online or, at a minimum, omnichannel services will be the very least expected by consumers. Those who fail to embrace this reality may struggle when it comes to business continuity and growth.
eCommerce allows consumers to gain access to information instantly, shop online via multiple devices simultaneously and share reviews that can be viewed by millions. Retailers need to continue to adapt to these expectations to maintain relevance online.
The new working model requires a unified CX and effective supply chain designs. Guiding and delivering this new model starts with taking care of employees, up to date technology, and procedures that facilitate the transformation.
An omnichannel presence is the best way retailers can hedge their bets. From our research, we have observed that consumers plan to continue shopping online, but that the high street is definitely going to make a significant return. Finding the necessary balance between nourishing in-store experience and obtaining a strong online presence will be key moving forward.
Setting themselves apart on experience will also be vital for retailers looking to keep up, as 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, while 92% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions. Therefore, retailers should assess their current customer service offering; FAQs, delivery information and product descriptions, thereby giving the consumer all the necessary tools for a smooth customer journey.
While some retailers are still devising their eCommerce plans, shoppers are prepared for the future. We’ve seen what happens to retailers who put eCommerce on the long finger, so why wait? Retailers that act quickly are in position to overtake competitors — shifting from surviving to thriving in the post Covid-19 world. Those who are successful see eCommerce as a holistic process and sync their commercial approach to operational performance.
The bottom-line here is the landscape of eCommerce and retail has shifted significantly and is going to continue adjusting in the near future. Businesses of all sizes and sectors will need to adjust and adapt if they are to be competitive in their respective markets – seeking solutions that are tailored for them. If businesses are to thrive, they must be willing to take inspiration from online retailers as they adapt to the new normal.