Covid-19 is a global pandemic that will define the events of 2020, and its implications will last the whole decade. The situation in the world is changing, and restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, and bars are closing down. Workers are facing new challenges of having to work away from the offices. Essentially, people are getting to terms with the new normal.

In this period of isolation, people are changing their shopping behaviors. There is a transformation from bulk-buying to online shopping. People are changing what they used to buy, how, and when they used to shop.

People Are Turning to Online Shops

Most states have imposed stay-at-home orders, meaning people cannot access stores and malls. Millions of consumers are turning to online groceries, entertainment, and apparel shopping. People are scared of old shopping habits for fear of getting sick. As a result, most businesses are increasing their online presence. E-commerce experts from Up Inc. eCommerce Agency often say that companies are revisiting the foundation of their digital business models, and others are migrating to online operations. The time is now for companies to create a digital marketplace or a click-and-collect model that companies have been considering.

Panic Buying

As COVID-19 continued spreading and was declared a pandemic by the WHO, people panicked and started stocking up. They bought household essentials such as bread and toilet paper, and essential medical supplies such as masks, and hand sanitizer. The demand was so high that online stores were struggling to keep up with the orders. Price gouging for these supplies became rampant. Here are some of the items that people buy in bulk.

  • Preventative and wellness products
  • Protective gear
  • Pantry preparation such as household essentials
  • Shelf-stable products such as oat milk and dried beans

The grocery e-Commerce sales industry soared in mid-March after shoppers turned to online solutions to find the goods they needed. During this time, local groceries are understocked, and most items are not available.

Nonessential Businesses Are Closing

The luxury industry is not doing so well. Hotels and restaurants have lost billions since the onset of the pandemic. As more places are going into lockdown, nonessential businesses are forced to close down, as clients are avoiding public places. People are limiting their shopping to essentials only, and most brands are adapting to meet changing needs.

Priorities Have Changed

Besides the products that people are viewing and buying, customer’s priorities have changed as a result of COVID-19. Before the pandemic, people’s main priorities when purchasing items online were brand (24%), price (47%), and quality (48%). Now, people are focusing on quality (34%), price (36%), and availability (49%).

It makes perfect sense that availability is the major concern for shoppers. People have experienced product shortages at their favorite eCommerce stores. Very few people have been able to get what they needed quite easily. With customer priority moving to availability, people are willing to try new products, which is good news for new eCommerce businesses.

The shift in moving to online shopping should stir innovation in eCommerce across all industries. Companies are working hard to improve their eCommerce experience in the form of delivery time, utilizing reviews and ratings, and updating product descriptions. Depending on your audience and industry, your response to the ever-changing situations will change.

By Chakraborty

Dr Chakrabarty is the Chief Innovation Officer of IntuiComp TeraScience. Earlier she was Assistant Professor of Delhi University, a QS ranked university in India. Before that she has held research positions in IIT Mumbai, IIT Chennai and IISc Bangalore. She holds 2 patents and over 20 research publications in her name which are highly cited. Her area of research is in smart technologies, integrated devices and communications. She also has a penchant for blogging and is an editor of Business Fundas.