We recently ran a webinar for senior executives in the ecommerce industry, where we discussed what brands and retailers should consider as part of their post-COVID-19 ecommerce strategies for survival, recovery, and future growth. We thought it was also worth publishing a blog on the topic, to run through how to reassess your ecommerce strategy post-lockdown.
Below we explain how lockdown has impacted consumer behaviour, plus the need to rethink and adapt your ecommerce strategy in both the short and long-term to optimise your sales during this volatile time.
The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour
Global lockdown measures as a result of the pandemic have aggressively shifted consumer behaviour, and the transition from offline to online sales is now five years ahead of expectations. Despite the fact that retail stores have reopened, according to a recent consumer survey, 42% of people now say that they will shop online more frequently post-lockdown.
Evidence from China and the Middle East - where non-essential stores have been open for over a month - suggests that once consumers are allowed out there can be a bit of a dip in online sales as people enjoy their relative freedom. However, increased friction in the offline shopper journey reduces the competitive advantage that stores have over digital channels, and online consumer behaviour is expected to stick and grow by 6% CAGR.
What does this mean for digital commerce now?
As more brands and retailers are shifting their focus to online sale channels, the most nimble and innovative have responded quickly to ensure that the value add derived from stores is not lost; whilst also taking advantage of the rapid growth in sales in the short-term.
Examining your new product development (NPD) strategy can help to reengineer your strategic approach to survive. While several brands are using new channels to shift excess stock – either through traditional digital channels or newer marketplace channels – others have chosen to hold back on new ranges or paused the launch of new products.
Similarly, investing in recreating offline shopping experiences online - through virtual try-on tools or by repurposing in-store capabilities with website support chat functionality and video personal shopping appointments - can be beneficial not only in the short-term, but also as part of your long-term digital strategy.
Reassess your ecommerce strategy for the longer-term
As economic figures point to a near-future recession period, there is a greater need to reassess your ecommerce strategy to cater to the long-term impacts of global digital acceleration.
While the pandemic has introduced short-term changes in consumer behaviour, some of these behavioural changes will stick - such as increased price sensitivity and the significance of convenience. Tailoring your ranging strategies to these changes is important for recovery.
We've been asked to re-evaluate the online channel strategy for a number of consumer brands as a result of COVID-19. In particular brands who may have been happy to be distributed only through third-party retailers in the past are asking whether they need to mitigate their risk and expand their addressable audiences through marketplaces or a D2C website. We recommend that brands sense-check their online channel strategy to ensure they have the optimal routes to market to reflect how customers will shop now, but also in the near future.
Likewise, fully understanding and reviewing the process of your end-to-end supply chain is essential to build a stronger and more diverse supply chain and ensure a lasting recovery from the effects of the pandemic. Brands and retailers should consider the introduction of technology to support supply chain agility and mitigate the impact of a second wave of COVID-19.
The road to recovery
For brands and retailers who may have previously viewed digital commerce as a secondary channel, having an online presence has never been more important. For those looking to prepare themselves for the 'new normal', having the right capabilities to adapt and strengthen your existing offerings and drive channel shifts is essential.
To find out more on this topic, watch a full recording of the webinar we presented here.
If you would like support on how to reassess your ecommerce strategy - or with optimising specific online channels such as your D2C site or marketplaces - please get in touch at UK@Pattern.com