Since the pandemic hit in early 2020, businesses, especially those with physical stores, slowed down. As the virus spread fast, stores needed to be closed down for some time to prevent further spreading. Since most people stayed at home, most of the services offered by the stores became available online. That was when the convenience brought by the pandemic started.
How Did Covid Increase Online Purchases?
Restrictions implemented made people stay at home and order basic needs online.
Every country had its implementations during the pandemic. Some countries imposed long lockdowns while others implemented short ones. Take Australia, for example. In mid-March 2020, the Australian government implemented lockdown restrictions to restrict the citizens’ movements and prevent large-scale gatherings like rallies, concerts, parties, organization activities, etc. Physical distancing was also introduced. Australian borders were closed to non-residents, non-essential services, as well as schools were also closed. By strictly following these implementations, a decrease in cases was reported by April, and we have started easing the restrictions. During that lockdown phase, people made purchases of their essential needs through online stores. A statistical report made by Statista said that “During the four weeks to February 22, 2020, online purchases of pasta in Australia increased by 76 percent. Elsewhere, 72 percent more eggs and 71 percent more canned meals were sold.”
Fear of getting infected
How is this connected to the increase in online purchases? Of course, when something horrible is going around, you wouldn’t want yourself getting involved, right? Especially that a killer virus is causing havoc in your country. So, instead of going out and doing your usual market and grocery shopping, you would just opt to stay at home and shop from there. Since most stores adjusted to the current situations, they have adapted to getting their customers to experience the convenience of online shopping. With just one click, you are not just sparing yourself from the hassle of long queues. You are also sparing yourself from getting infected and potentially infecting your loved ones at home.
A lot of businesses pivoted their resources to digital marketing.
Before the pandemic, we usually see businesses using in-store promotions to promote their products and services. Sources of promotion like billboard ads, print ads, flyers, etc., were widespread pre-pandemic, but there was a decline when it happened. This prompted online businesses to shift their marketing strategy to become digital. Not saying that they are not promoting digitally pre-pandemic, but we see more of it digitally now as compared to before. Online retailers are taking advantage of digital marketing to promote their goods. Therefore, the funds intended for physical promotions were diverted to online and digital marketing.
Establishments were forced to close, allowing them to continue their business online.
E-commerce boomed during this pandemic. Though not entirely a positive effect of COVID-19 as not all businesses could pick their feet up after being forced to close, some survived because they found the opportunity to continue their businesses online. Even though the lockdowns were short-lived in Australia, there was a phenomenal rise in online shopping in 2020. Due to strict pandemic implementations, people had no choice but to do things online (shopping, paying bills, etc.). In April 2020, there was a spike in online growth. Home & garden, food & liquor, and variety stores reached triple-digit growth compared to other categories such as fashion, media, hobbies, health & beauty, etc. Exponential growth is still being seen even if the restrictions were lifted and nothing’s gonna stop it. However, last June 2021, lockdowns and restrictions have returned due to the new Delta strain. Citizens returned to online shopping, and this boosted Australian e-commerce once again. New data from Australia Post showed that ”almost four million households have bought something online in the last fortnight - up to six percent when compared to last year.” It was recorded that most people have bought products online from home & garden, fashion, variety stores, and high demands of baby products and pet supplies.
Nothing tops convenience and availability in online retails. Once again, sparing yourself from the hassle of long lines and fearing that you might catch the virus were eased because of online shopping. Would no human want to trade convenience for the hassle, right? This is why people should be grateful that businesses still chose to serve them. Even though many stores are still transitioning, they were still able to meet their customers’ expectations. Products were also readily available, and that little contact is being made while handling their orders. In a survey made by Statista, it was found that in Australia, “55 percent of consumers felt that convenience was the leading motivation for purchasing online.”
Videos from social media sites helped teach people how to do things themselves, hence raw material purchases online.
Since lockdown is ongoing and people have nothing to do at home besides eating and sleeping, they have a lot of time watching videos. Videos like a bunch of do-it-yourself, informative videos, cooking videos, baking videos, etc., helped in the growth of e-commerce. Raw materials such as baking supplies and other ingredients have increased exponentially over the pandemic. As the statistical reports mentioned above, categories like home & garden also had an increase in sales. These may be due to digital marketing and social media promotions.
Can we get to the bottom of this?
The bottom line is, even if this pandemic happened, people who have businesses were lucky enough to transition into online ventures. They were able to take advantage of the COVID situation and were able to get back on track. The whole pandemic did not only help existing businesses to bloom, but it also helped a lot of startups. As we know, recessions were happening worldwide, and millions of people lost their jobs. They have stomachs to feed and bills to pay, so they have to find other ways to get income. This is what prompted them to start small businesses. It is a challenge at first, knowing that it’s pandemic and not all people might be interested. But with the right people and the right promotions, it should boom in no time.