There Is No Flattening This Curve: Online Retail is up!

There Is No Flattening This Curve: Online Retail is up!

When it comes to online shopping and e-commerce, trends are going only one way-up. Who wants to line up? May as well get your fix online and save the stress and time. There is a huge change in the way we shop since COVID-19, and it only supports the rise in e-commerce growth.

As a female shopper, I believe there is something truly pleasurable in finding treasures. Sticking the pedal to the metal down Queen St. Toronto to find unique buys, stopping by winners on my way home from work just to scavenger the store and find that cute top before anyone else does. Now I find myself shopping through endless scrolls and pages of products online. Call this my new retail therapy, it’s not the same, but it’s fulfilling some of my treasure hunting craves. I feel as though I discovered a whole new world of shopping. This got me thinking, I can’t be the only one forced to online shop, online sales must be up and online retail stores have to be sitting quite pretty since COVID-19 sprung upon us. How has social distancing changed the way we shop, more importantly, how is it transforming retail?

Let’s dive into some trends to see how the market is affected. Before COVID-19, Geoff Ramsey, co founder and chief evangelist of eMarkete, predicted in 2020 we will see major e-commerce growth, the rise of mobile shopping, social commerce, the growth of frictionless commerce, shifts in digital-advertising spending and mobile proximity payments. Regardless of COVID-19, online retail was on the rise. Little did Geoff know that COVID-19 would catapulte his predictions into action.

According to the 2020 Remote Payment Studies, consumers are 30.6 percent more likely to make their purchases online in 2020 than they were in 2019. PYMNTS surveys 3,477 consumers to learn how life on lockdown has transformed consumer spending habits, and the results are interesting to say the least. Consumers report using their mobile devices to enhance their in-store experiences having increased from 49.6 percent to 72.1 percent during the last year. Consumers are not only shopping more online as the lockdown progresses — they are also using their connected devices to shop for more discounts, especially while shopping in stores.

More specifically let’s take a look at how specific retailers are affected since social distancing took effect. Indigo Books & Music Inc.’s online sales are up more than 300 per cent since its physical stores closed.

Jessie Wilkin, founder and partner at Toronto-based Pilot Coffee, said “from March 16, we’ve had almost a 300 per cent increase in online orders, and probably about a 350 per cent increase in online customers, and about 10 per cent increase in our online subscriptions.”

Whereas, a sizeable percentage of beauty customers (41%) said they would not buy any beauty product that they had only tried-on virtually. They want a real-world, hands-on experience with new products before they pull the trigger. However, e-commerce brands can overcome some consumers’ resistance by offering a free sample to test first (36%), as well as an easy return policy (20%).

It seems that companies that are heavily focused on physical-world interactions need to change on the fly. Depending on what industry you’re in, maybe this is the time to start that online blog or online business you always thought about. Based on the findings, I would suggest that companies start investing their time and money into online presence and retail capacity. Screen time is up and browsing is in.