In the past few months, many businesses have had to close their doors to the public due to COVID-19. There are, however, still essential businesses still open. The businesses that still have their doors open to the public are, struggling as well. Their customers, in certain areas, have a stay at home order or are being quarantined. The business also has a limited stock due to the high demand for protective equipment to combat the virus and the lack of workers to get those products on the shelves. With that said, let’s take a look at how brick and mortar stores have transitioned to e-commerce!
How Brick and Mortar Businesses Adapt To The Coronavirus PandemicMost of the consumables that are used to stock our local and international businesses come from farms, factories, or even from a completely different country. Our local farms rely on markets and grocery stores. Most farmer’s markets have closed due to procedures for COVID-19, and grocery stores have lowered their milk prices, which means that some farms aren’t even profiting from their milk, so they are losing money, and some farms are also forced to shut their barn doors for good. Our food that is produced in factories has taken a decrease as well. With limited labor, food is not being produced, shipped, and delivered as fast as resources are needed. And finally, the products that we get from other countries have either completely shut down their factories and/or have shut down their borders so no one or thing can get through. Phil Lempert claimed to be a “supermarket guru,” has commented on this as well. “The fact that we get a lot of food from China, where factories have been closed, does indicate that we are going to have a supply chain problem,” “we’re going to have a two-, three-, four-month lag time until those factories get up to speed.” (Washington Post, 2020) This means businesses that are essential and have their doors open to the public are getting fewer customers, workers, and products than they usually get, leaving some shelves without consumables. This leads to losing money and potentially going bankrupt. This takes an impact on customers as well. They lack in services, entertainment, and supplies. Some consumers even wait in lines that wrap around the supermarket, like Walmart or Costco.
Take Your Retail Business Online with an e-commerce StoreAlthough the typical brick and mortar currently don’t have physical customers, there is another way to increase sales, virtual customers. Because the majority of people are stuck at home and not able to see their community, they have found a way to still thrive in society, logging on to the internet. We could log onto the internet before. However, when communities can’t physically see each other, they find a way to become a community still, and with people having a lot of free time and internet access, they created a stronger virtual community. And with every strong community, virtual or not, there are businesses, which means to business less of a chance of going bankrupt, thanks to e-commerce. “During lock-down situations, the best way to reach customers for most retailers apart from supermarkets is online,” Timlin said. “What we’re seeing is that retailers who have both a physical store and an e-commerce site are using the latter to offset the losses from the closure of the former. And while that may not enable them to break even, it’s certainly helping the bottom line look less worrying.” (tech republic 2020)
e-commerce Sales Growth In 2020 and BeyondJust so we are all on the same brain length, what is e-commerce exactly? Well, according to dictonary.com, it is,” commercial transactions conducted electronically on the internet.” e-commerce has helped many businesses thrive over the years and able to reach outside of their community. Still, through these rough times, even more, businesses have to decide to succeed online. So let’s look at the stats. From last year, our worldwide e-commerce sales have topped 3.5 trillion USD, which means an increase of about 18%, thanks to COVID-19. Last year,” consumers spent $601.75 billion online with US merchants in 2019, which is up 14.9% in 2018. (Digital Commerce 360, 2020) that is a whole 3.5% in exponential growth. “The COVID-19 Commerce Insight tracker’s new data shows pure-play e-commerce revenue up 37% in the past seven days, compared to the same time last year, and orders are up 54%. Pure e-commerce and online sales from brick-and-mortar retailers see big jumps in US activities.” (tech 2020) In 2019, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 3.53 trillion US dollars, and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 6.54 trillion US dollars in 2022. Online shopping is one of the most popular online activities worldwide. (Statista 2020) “In 2020, e-commerce is expected to represent 12% of total retail sales. However, a change in consumer behavior in the first quarter of this year due to the coronavirus can impact the future quarters for 2020 and have a profound impact on holiday sales. As the consumer’s comfort with online shopping becomes higher, and technology is more intuitive and ubiquitous, the digital side of the retail business may be stepped up at a faster rate than previous projections.” (Forbes 2020)
Conclusion and Finding an e-commerce SpecialistGiven these stats, it is believed that e-commerce will thrive through the year 2020 and beyond. “As consumers turn to digital options as a means to circumvent physical shopping environments, the change in behavior may impact longer-term comportment. Consumer behavior is influenced by technological advancements, but also by environmental, economic, and sociological factors, all three of which are evident with the current COVID-19.” (Forbes 2020) Creating an e-commerce store for your retail business can be an overwhelming challenge. You are basically creating a new business at a different location. That can be a lot of work for a business owner to handle. So, why not reach out to an e-commerce specialist who can make your life easier? An e-commerce specialist focuses on bringing your products or services to the online marketplace. This person should help guide you through the following tasks:
- Creating an online store on a reputable e-commerce platform like WooCommerce or Shopify.
- Adding products to the inventory catalog so that customers can purchase.
- Inventory management and shipping solutions.
- e-commerce marketing and SEO strategies to help customers find your new online store.
- Logistics and business planning to ensure you properly manage orders, returns, and customer service.
- Building an ongoing strategy to stay relevant to customers, your market, and competition.