By second lockdown during the first half of 2020 everyone shifted to the “new normal”. The mask free world seems like an unprecedented parallel universe.
One after the other lockdowns affected the everyday conditions but after a period of two years, gyms, movie theatres and restaurants have largely reopened, but small businesses and shop owners are still in the lockdown after effects.
This “ post-Covid” era is responsible for rapidly changing situations but retail and E-commerce sites have seen a new shift in the trends and behaviour in the past few years.
The Indian digital economy bloomed during the pandemic. People started practicing social distancing and turned to the direction of online shopping. 87% of consumers stated that they have successfully turned towards online shopping and emerging technologies that went with the trend helped in making online shopping more convenient.
Grocery shopping observed a huge growth in pandemic owing to a lot of online shopping stores such as grofers and bigbasket.
Grofers have even started a successful 10 min delivery option, by tying up with local grocery chains, for its consumers that led to an immense boost in the no. of users in grofers. Besides grocery, health and wellness and recreational categories saw a hike in people. A study reported that there was an 18% growth rates in each of the categories individually. About the sustenance of both the trends, grocery stores might experience the same trends in the upcoming normal events but the recreational and wellness categories could experience a significant downfall.
During the crisis, a lot of companies saw a significant downfall in their loyal customer bases. More than 75% of customers themselves reported that they bought a different brand than usual. This started during early days of pandemic but right now the change in brands is usually due to low prices and out of stock products.
Pandemic saw an exponential rise in digital contactless payment. Although the digital payments were in the development state before the lockdown, nobody knew that this would become full fledged, well established industry. Currently, digital payment modes have settled down in local communities and it’s become a norm to say the least.
From large corporations to small businesses and local groceries, everyone experienced a need of third party pick up and drop services during the pandemic. Although companies like swiggy and zomato were already in the functioning stage, they experienced a growth in their consumer base during covid. Local groceries tied up with drop services to ensure contactless grocery shopping to their customers. A lot of small businesses tied up with companies like Delhivery to deliver their products to their customers, safely.
During pandemic, small businesses started blooming here and there. From the comfort of the home, people started selling recreational and DIY products. Instagram became a hub for such businesses and they soon experienced amazing yearly turnovers.
Experiencing a sudden rise in small businesses, a lot of social media platforms curated a shoppers special for online business and added a lot of online shopping features. These platforms are usually tied up to ecommerce platforms so that the traffic on the platform can help boost the traffic on the ecommerce sites.
Small businesses that are unable to afford delivery and pick up services have turned to another strategy which encourages customers to step out of their homes and directly go to the store and pick up their goods without spending any amount of extra time or energy. Although it’s a bit inconvenient, it was widely popular in areas that were not in the strict phase of lockdown. Users usually ordered and paid online, but the goods would be picked up from the local stores ensuring contactless collection, payment and zero crowd hindrances.
Although e-commerce looked like a perfect solution for all the business, there were quite a few challenged involved to ensure smooth delivery of goods and services to customers, they were widely related to increase in public demands and supply shortages.
During the pandemic, there was an exponential increase of customers for online shopping for various products and services. It was difficult for e-commerce business owners to ensure smooth delivery, contactless payment and so much more to each and every customer out there. Lock-downs weren’t helping the situation and delivery time varied from 4-7 days to 10-15 days.
Like any other business, there was a shortage of products due to closure of supply chains in various parts of the world , increasing the chances of untimely delivery to the customers.
The digital shift of the shopping world is highly unlikely to fail. In a survey, it was noted that approximately 88% of consumers who tried online purchase of products and services for the first time decided to stay for the best and expect that it will continue to grow.
Although the future of e-commerce seems bright, there is a huge segment of population that still lags behind on the trend even though they require the benefits of e-commerce more than anyone. The elderly. Fortunately, the upcoming trends can help the take the extra steps to reap the benefits of online shopping. A new trend called “Voice- commerce” is in the talks and it’s highly likely to grow over the coming years. A survey conducted in the early 2019’s found that more than one third of the millennials have shopped online on websites using voice technologies such as Google home or Amazon’s Alexa. So users have started getting comfortable with the voice technologies and companies are already eyeing this trend to produce better and feasible products and apps for online shopping. Its still a bit inconvenient to think about buying something without looking at it but when you think about placing reorders like adding pet food to your online cart and the e-commerce site remembering the brand you use, it isn’t that far fetched of a thought.
Like Voice-commerce, another trend named A-commerce is under development stage. This trend involves automated purchases according to your personal stock. A-commerce will have an IoT device connected and it will sense that consumer is running out of certain products and it will proceed to automatically order it for them.
All in all, the only focus area for E-commerce is to improve customer experience and drive them towards the digital world that isn’t anything different from the reality that too at their own comfort zones and we are here to reap every benefit that is offered by the upcoming trends.