The crisis caused by Coronavirus outbreak has made it very difficult for businesses all around the globe. People are told to isolate at home, and many companies face temporary or permanent closures, with staff left uncertain about their financial state. However, this crisis has accelerated the development of online services. The demand for them has risen rapidly in the recent weeks.
Consumer behaviour has been forced to change immediately, and theoretically, online stores should benefit from this change, because they’re ready to satisfy the increasing need for goods and services.
Nevertheless, there are a couple of challenges for online businesses. It’s not easy for many customers to adopt new technologies. There may be issues with supply chain and delivery, but companies seem to adapt and quickly resolve these problems.
The main issue may be the readiness of online platforms. The platform should be able to offer the best user experience possible, otherwise it may not survive in an increasingly competitive landscape. It’s clear that companies need to ensure that their sites are not just good, but provide users with the best experience. It includes not only user-friendly interface, but also the availability of such sites. It should be easy to find them through search engines and they should be able to cope with increased influx of customers.
Changes to e-commerce traffic
Let’s see which products are seeing a rise in traffic in these conditions? Well, as you may guess, homeschooling and school equipment queries see a huge increase in demand. That’s good news for anyone working in this area, since the demand in this field is already heavily season-based, and it’s high time to benefit from this trend.
The next thing on the list is entertainment and home gaming. These areas seem to have gained a lot of interest in the recent weeks. Queries such as “netflix”, “xbox” or “playstation” have seen spikes in search interest.
Gardening equipment queries have skyrocketed as well. Even though these kind of queries usually see an increase in interest somewhere around April, the demand is growing, with more people hoping to find a new hobby for themselves in gardening.
Craft sites and crafting saw an huge spike in interest over this period, too, with many people staying at home and having children to entertain. Very good news for anyone selling crafting supplies.
If we look at which queries saw a decline in interest, we may see hotels, flight companies and everything related to tourism. No surprise there: everyone is forced to stay at home, so why even bother? Tourism sphere as a whole will see a huge hit in the coming months, and that’s not good for anyone who’s working in that area.
We can also see that fashion retailers have lost a lot of visitors. Well, why would you buy new clothes if you can’t go out? Not only small brands have seen a huge decline in interest, even big e-commerce brands like ASOS are suffering from Covid-19 crisis.
It’s safe to say different sites and sectors will see different effects from the changes in consumer behaviour. Consumer behaviour is definitely changing online, and sometimes quite sharply.
How to adapt to these changes?
Consumer behaviour changes and results in more and more people shopping online, thus the marketplace will change as well, and will become ever-so competitive, as companies will try to capitalise on this trend. If your site isn’t on the first page in the search query or if the interface is very poor, or its’ performance is just not on a high enough level, it your business will not be able to compete.
High-profile companies with strong e-commerce offering are already going through this change. Nike, for example, has managed to increase their digital sales by 30%. That’s because their sites and apps were already heavily integrated into their customers’ lives, and they were ready to make that change.
What’s best to do in today’s situation? Rather than stopping marketing activities, it’s best to continue investing, or investing more heavily in these activities, such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) and so on. Every business is different, but investing in these activities may help companies survive and thrive in the changing e-commerce landscape.
Companies should invest in retaining organic visibility, that means, trying to remain reachable through search engines. People will always be searching for stuff, now more than ever before, and businesses who work online are in better position right now to continue to do business in this difficult period.
Remaining in the social media field is also a good advice. Well, companies should already be present there and be useful to their customers, but right now that’s needed more than ever. You should be present late evening and early morning, because people may need your services at any time. Be useful, be objective and clear. Even though people are isolating, these coming weeks give businesses an opportunity to become more social.
While the world is trying to reshape itself during Coronavirus pandemic, consumer behaviour is forced to change and many customers move online. Because of this, companies and businesses should ensure that they’re ready for these changes: they should ensure that their brand is ready to do business online.
In this difficult period of time, there are still many opportunities, it just takes a different mindset and a positive attitude.
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