6 of the Most Impactful COVID-19 Ecommerce Trends

Cassandra Shaffer

April 13, 2020

COVID-19 has completely changed our world for the time being, perhaps forever, and that includes the world of ecommerce. To help you navigate the impacts of coronavirus on ecommerce, here are the 6 most impactful ecommerce trends that have resulted from COVID-19.

1. Image is everything

Since most people are stuck indoors, unable to shop like they used to, customers aren’t able to physically try on things like clothes and shoes, inspect their tomatoes before buying them, feel blankets for softness, and so on. That means high-quality images are more important than ever before.

“People are expanding the items that they’re comfortable buying online, so images need to be up to par so people understand what they’re buying,” says Newel Cobb, a Senior Brand Manager at Pattern. “You’re replacing touch.”

Another important factor for brands to consider is that many of their shoppers are on a phone, or a tablet, rather than a desktop, scrolling through while binge-watching Parks and Rec.

“Because of that, a customer might have to scroll two or three times to learn about the product, so most people will just look at the images,” Cobb says. “Ninety percent of people look at all the images before they decide to purchase a product.”

So not only is it important to have high-quality images, but it’s important to have enough high-quality images that a customer wondering how something like a couch or a TV will fit in their living room can get a pretty good idea.

2. Shipping

Customers have gotten used to 2-3 day shipping with Amazon Prime. However, as items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer continue to be in high demand, customers after “non-essential” items, like shampoo and conditioner, are told to expect delays of a week or more when it comes to receiving items. According to the Cleveland Research Center, some 1P and 3P sellers of “non-essential” items are having their Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASIN) suppressed or even removed to make way for essential items.

Because of Amazon’s struggle to keep up with shipping demands, brands may want to consider alternative shipping methods. The CRC reports brands set up for Direct Fulfillment on Amazon are better set up to navigate these challenges. Other options sellers on Amazon can consider include Fulfillment by Merchant, where they upload the amount of inventory available to Amazon and ship directly from their own warehouse. It’s important to remember, however, that shipping services like UPS and FedEx are experiencing their own delays.

Sellers who are successful in doing their own fulfillment can upgrade to Seller Fulfilled Prime, which allows them to still use Prime branding. In the past, according to Cobb, this hasn’t been too popular because it’s more cost-effective to ship with Amazon, but as Amazon has changed algorithm priorities, it’s worth it to get your items to customers quickly any way you can. If you have multiple warehouses, use them wisely—don’t ship something from Maine to California if you have a warehouse in Texas.

But above all, Cobb cautions, remember this is temporary and Amazon will eventually change their algorithm again to boost brands shipping with Amazon fulfillment. “Be agile,” he advises.

3. Search trends

Search trends have changed and are continuing to change because people are staying home. Marketplace Pulse ranked top search terms throughout the month of March, and among coronavirus-inspired items like face masks and disinfectant spray are items like puzzles for adults, board games, yoga mats, and dumbbell sets.

Now that people are staying inside to avoid the virus, they’re looking for ways to entertain themselves, learn new skills, and stay fit without going to the gym. While that’s great news for companies and brands selling these sorts of items, many brands are suffering.

Stackline rounded up the top 100 ecommerce categories experiencing growth and the top 100 experiencing a decline. Categories experiencing a decline during COVID-19 include pretty much any kind of clothing you can think of, luggage, party supplies, school and office supplies—anything a person or family might need if they were to ever leave their house (which, as we’ve established, most people are not).

Of course, we can’t go without mentioning grocery items. Groceries have seen the most notable shift when it comes to ecommerce, with Americans adopting online grocery shopping faster than ever. The Cleveland Research Company’s report on COVID-19’s consumer impact from April 7, 2020, found nearly 50% of consumers had used a grocery delivery app in the previous two weeks.

This is likely the shopping trend that will see the most staying power once the pandemic is over—the CRC reported that 90% of consumers using Amazon Fresh or Prime expect to continue using it after the pandemic ends.

4. What companies selling “non-essentials” are doing

Stores selling “non-essential” items have closed their brick-and-mortar locations, which has led companies like Nike and Macy’s to offer online deals instead. According to CNBC, many brands are even throwing in free shipping where they didn’t offer it before and expanding return windows.

It’s a bit of a gamble still, since like we mentioned before, most shoppers aren’t really looking for a new pair of kicks to rock in quarantine. There’s also the problem of people looking to save their money in a time of economic uncertainty, making people less likely to splurge on apparel and accessories.

It’s a weird time for retailers, who are offering the kinds of deals typically only seen around holidays, as they try to offload inventory and make some profit. The future of many brick-and-mortar stores is uncertain, with at least one analyst suggesting this could be a record year for permanent closures for stores.

“Every business owner is trying to capture online success right now, and they’re doing that by lowering prices or offering different deals,” Cobb says.

A word of caution for brands thinking of trying this strategy: this situation temporary, so beware of dropping prices too extravagantly—or after this is over, and you return to normal prices, you may find someone has bought 200 units of your product and is selling them to undercut your brand.

5. Trajectory of projected ecom sales

This may be the most important takeaway: Ecommerce is DEFINITELY going to outpace all previous projections and benefit in the long run. Cobb says it has to do with learning new habits.

“A lot of people are learning the process of buying groceries online, for example, because they have to—but they might find that it’s more convenient for them and stick with it. And then they’re going to tell their family and friends that’s what they’re doing,” Cobb says.

“There’s also an element of trust that has been built by brands like Walmart, which has invested in making a good, trustworthy option,” Cobb continued. “When this is over, customers may go to the store, but at the end of the day a lot of consumers have learned a new skill—how to buy online at the best price, from the best source, etc.”

There will also likely be some fallout where people prefer to avoid crowds for the next couple of years, which will only continue ecommerce popularity, and perhaps continue to see people learning how to shop online if they didn’t at first.

6. Lipstick effect

Okay, briefly—for the duration of this section—forget everything we’ve said about non-essential items and declining categories to learn about a little trend that represents the total opposite: the Lipstick Effect.

As defined by Investopedia, the Lipstick Effect is when consumers still spend money on small luxury items, or “indulgences,” during economic downturns or when they personally have little cash, for example, a premium lipstick. For this reason, Investopedia states, companies that benefit from this effect tend to be resilient, even during economic downturns.

The idea is that consumers can buy something, whether it be a luxury beauty item, a fast-casual meal, or a movie that lets them forget for a little while about the stress and struggle of the economy. There isn’t a ton of research behind this theory, but it still could be good news for brands that aren’t seeing the same kinds of sales as bread machines—there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

For more information on ecommerce trends and how your brand can grow and optimize during this unprecedented time, contact Pattern through the form below.

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Sept 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)
Aug 30, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/24/amazon-is-shutting-down-amazon-care-telehealth-service.html) Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/24/peloton-strikes-deal-to-sell-fitness-equipment-on-amazon/) --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve](https://themalaysianreserve.com/2022/08/25/around-60-malaysians-are-buying-from-local-sellers-on-shopee/) Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard](https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/flipkart-s-social-commerce-platform-shopsy-hits-100-million-users-1220828006851.html) Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts](https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2022/meta-joins-amazon-walmart-indian-ecommerce-market/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-in-spain-was-worth-e57-7-billion-in-2021/)
Aug 23, 2022

Desiree Wong, Sr Ecommerce Consultant, Mandy Guo & Ariel Tsai, Brand Managers: People of Pattern

The success of Pattern can be attributed to our amazing team and the people within it. Our PeopleofPattern series highlights our people; the faces, roles and responsibilities behind what makes Pattern great. This week, we sat down and spoke with Desiree Wong, Senior Ecommerce Consultant, Mandy Guo, Brand Manager, and Ariel Tsai, Brand Manager, all sitting in Pattern’s London office working with UK & US brands to accelerate their sales in China. Could you tell me a bit about your role and experience working at Pattern? Desiree: I’ve been working at Pattern for over six years now. I first joined the company as an Associate Consultant back in Hong Kong. My responsibilities have changed quite a bit since first joining the company, when I first joined I worked in the Consulting team in Hong Kong with Arthur Cheung (General Manager, Asia) and a few other colleagues focusing on consulting projects. We then had some trading elements added into our China business, which meant I was responsible for more trading-related tasks. My title is now Senior Ecommerce Consultant, covering the APAC region. Following Practicology’s acquisition by Pattern in 2018, 90% of my time is now related to trading activity. When I relocated to London in early 2020, I was given more opportunity to work on business development. All of the brands that my team are working with are either from Europe or from the U.S., so working in the UK meant I was in a much better time zone to speak with clients and attend offline events, like Interzoo or Alibaba-organised events, here in Europe. Ariel: My responsibilities are quite similar to Desiree. I joined Pattern in January this year, so I’ve been working here for about six months now. I started as a Brand Manager, managing the trading side of the business of different brands for Asia markets. I also do a bit of work on the side for the Consulting team. For example, we’re currently working on a project for a global luxury jewellery brand, providing a consulting service for China. Mandy: I joined Pattern nearly 3 months ago as a Brand Manager. The role is very interesting, and I feel very supported. My role helps our clients find the best solutions in China’s market through social marketing and ecommerce business. From my previous China FMCG industry experience at Unilever, LVMH, and Mars, I feel very fulfilled identifying the best USPs and business strategies to achieve a better business position for our clients. Why do you choose to work at Pattern? Ariel: I previously worked for a digital marketing agency, also focusing on China business with UK companies. In that job, I did a lot of marketing for British and U.S. brands who sell their products in China. I worked with companies like Royal Mail, amongst other big brands, which I found really interesting. This experience really fueled my interest in ecommerce, which is why I got in touch with Pattern as it is a trading and ecommerce-focused company. I also liked that Pattern didn’t just focus on trading in China, but also other countries in Asia like Japan, Korea, and South-East Asia. Desiree: Before I joined Pattern I worked at MAC Cosmetics for almost two years. In that time I felt that I’d learnt everything I could in that role and wanted more of a range and challenge in my career. At MAC, I luckily gained a lot of experience working in ecommerce and wanted to pursue this further. Pattern seemed like a great opportunity as it is a global company working in ecommerce and has seen a huge amount of growth as a business. Before Pattern, I also studied a Master of Science in Marketing, where I met a professor who introduced me to the consulting industry. This was another reason why I was really interested in joining Pattern’s consulting team. Interestingly, I was introduced by a headhunter who told me that there was a company that had newly-launched in Hong Kong called Practicology. We didn’t even have an office, we were so new! I remember meeting Arthur Cheung in a restaurant after he’d just finished a trip to China, carrying all of his luggage with him. Arthur told me that the company was new but that it was an ecommerce consulting firm, which was really interesting to me and covered the two aspects I was looking for in my next role. Starting in the Hong Kong business, we had the opportunity to choose the office that we’d set-up in and even built IKEA furniture together in the office. It was such an experience! What I really loved about Practicology (now Pattern) was learning so many new things and expanding outside of my scope of knowledge that I’d been working in comfortably for so long. It wasn’t just about marketing, ecommerce, or consulting, it was about entrepreneurship. Arthur was tasked to build up the whole Asia/China business, which really opened my eyes to how to build a business from the ground up. My role also continues to evolve as the company grows and changes, I never feel bored. That’s why I’ve stayed here for six years! Mandy: My previous experience and passion connect well with my role at Pattern. As previously stated, it is fulfilling to use my previous experience to provide the best solutions for our clients. I have great supportive teammates like Desiree who guides and helps me understand Pattern’s processes and systems. What has been the most rewarding part of working at Pattern for you? Desiree: For me, it’s the recognition from the brands. I know we all talk about numbers, but when the brands can see more than just the numbers that you help them to achieve, and they really appreciate the strategy and transparency that we have, it’s really satisfying. We stick to our Pattern values. We always want to be ‘Partner Obsessed’, and our partners really feel that. Ariel: For me, it’s the opportunity of working with different brands across different regions. We’re expanding so fast and keep finding new brands in different categories, giving us the opportunity to work with for example Alliance and Jan Marini, a skincare brand, and Holland and Barrett selling supplements. This broad range has really expanded my knowledge across different industries and has been really interesting and rewarding for me. Mandy: The most rewarding aspect for me has been recently handling prospective clients with Desiree and identifying potential improvements for a couple of our clients’ ecommerce business in China. Another rewarding moment is when our clients positively react to my efforts. Last question, why would you recommend working at Pattern? Desiree: I think that working at Pattern has a suitable level of challenge, you will never get bored. Ecommerce is an ever changing industry. When you work in the Asia market, which is not as mature as others and is still developing, it is even more challenging and you learn new things every day. I know there are plenty of ecommerce and trading companies in the industry, but I’d say that everyone working at Pattern is smart and willing to share their knowledge. As we’re all growing together, it gives us all a great opportunity to learn from each other. Our team culture is also really strong. Ariel: I’d say I agree with Desiree. There’s not much of a hierarchy inside Pattern. In our China team, we learn more from them every day and they’re always helping to share what’s happening in the market. Again, the team culture is really positive. Everybody who works at Pattern is a ‘Doer’ and is willing to share their experience and knowledge with one another as well. The company is also growing so fast into different regions, for someone who wants to expand their knowledge on a global scale, that’s also a big bonus as you’re unlikely to get that opportunity very often. Mandy: In agreement with Desiree, ecommerce is changing very quickly in Asia. With different clients, Pattern gives me the opportunity to evolve my knowledge through challenging and interesting contracts. We have good morale, supportive teammates, and I feel very engaged through growth opportunities because of our team and clients. I’m growing with Pattern and I highly recommend working at Pattern! We’re growing our team at Pattern! If you're looking to start a career in ecommerce or even if you're a seasoned professional and want to learn more about our exciting opportunities, [check out our open positions here.](https://pattern.breezy.hr/)