CEO at Whitebox, a company dedicated to being an end-to-end eCommerce technology partner to take products from factory floor to front door.
COVID-19 has brought about sweeping overnight changes to the way we do everything, from staying in touch with our loved ones to how we shop for basic necessities. It’s likely for many of us these changes will last beyond just this period of social distancing. Once you try grocery delivery, for example, do you ever go back?
These lockdown-driven shifts are creating new consumer behavior. Right now, brands that rely on foot traffic have found themselves shifting to e-commerce strategies. And while brands have always known that e-commerce is an important piece of their business, many are surprised to realize that it’s now the most important component.
This moment has also ushered in a different kind of new normal for businesses: an acceleration of an inevitable shift to e-commerce. E-commerce sales increased by 25% in the month of March alone. It was the start of a steady and unprecedented trend.
For most businesses, a crisis like COVID-19 can be a challenge. But with that challenge comes opportunity. Brands that can pivot and seamlessly move their customer experience online will remain in the hearts of their customers. And we’re convinced this new mode of operating will actually become the norm in a modern commerce world.
E-commerce had been a booming trend even before COVID-19, but the recent push to all things online shopping has accelerated the adoption curve, bringing a step change across all demographics. Consider that even the 65-plus demographic has demonstrated a 195% increase in e-commerce activity from January to March. During the same period, purchases made by women increased 170%, and those made by men grew at 152%. Purchases from married households increased by about 168%, while purchases from single households grew at 132%.
This moment in modern retail history is unprecedented, and there is no playbook for it. Even those retailers who strategically invested in digital technology years ago never saw this coming. Forward-thinking brands developed e-commerce channels because they understood their customers’ behavior and wanted to provide a frictionless experience in-store and at home.
Consumer shopping behaviors have changed seemingly overnight, and the global pandemic has hastened the adoption of e-commerce for brands and companies across the board. The one constant in this moment is that just like before, the consumer is in charge. What’s different now is that e-commerce has ushered in an explosion of choice for the consumer, which in turn creates a new complexity for businesses to manage.
The future of many industries, including retail, is happening now. What we’re seeing is a glimpse into modern commerce: a constantly evolving landscape in which companies must be nimble. E-commerce and COVID-19 have created new dynamics and choices for consumers, and to survive and thrive, a brand must embrace a modern commerce approach that can ensure it can meet customer demand and fulfill an order, regardless of where it happens.