The COVID-19 pandemic may change the way we shop forever as it has provided the perfect environment for exponential ecommerce growth for retailers.
The aftermath of the pandemic will no doubtidly cause a rift in our past retail shopping habits. Online retail and curbside pickup may become the new norm post COVID-19.
People have begun to develop new habits and although the numbers of online orders will drop after COVID-19 is a thing of the past, online sales most likely won’t ever drop as low as before.
Some of the traction gained during this ‘pandemic year,’ that 2020 has turned into, will linger and may be what the online industry needed to kickstart them into larger scale production and consumer adoption.
The learning curve for these online ordering platforms is changing daily while the growth and development that should have spanned over three years is now happening over a few weeks time.
People may receive a few unpleasant ordering experiences in the process of transitioning over, like multiple week long delivery windows, app crashes or lost orders.
However we’re seeing an increase in leniency from new patrons as their options are currently limited. These online platforms are given many more chances to make right their mistakes and retain customers after an initial unpleasant first experience.
All of this creates the perfect environment for exponential ecommerce growth to occur.
This new adoption of online retail is not for everyone though, and in fact this pandemic may even be causing a divide between groups of people that are moving in polar opposite directions.
Some homes have moved towards a more ‘traditional’ style of living rather than adopting the new online ordering fad.
If you walk down the baking aisle of your local grocery store you’ll be surprised to see an odd sight. The shelves are mostly empty, things like flour, yeast and vanilla extract are hard commodities to come by.
A surge of families are taking to their kitchens to bake like never before. A combination of extra time at home and fear of grocery store shopping has moved many to stock up on staples and cook at home.
Some families have even adopted habits of stocking up on weeks worth of staples, baking their own bread at home and making due when they run out of items they need so trips to the store only occur once every few weeks.
One thing is certain throughout this divide happening, our shopping environment will most likely never go back to what it once was.
We will see change in the dynamic between stores and consumers. Some believe social distancing and cleaning measures may stick around and “hero pay” for retail workers could possibly stay post pandemic.
Already we see Loblaws has stopped producing their in store flyers due to contamination risk and has also announced that they will be discontinuing them in some locations for good post pandemic.
Other retailers may follow suit because there is a surge towards online apps that provide much more convenient access to that same information.
Store traffic could decrease, purchasing habits may change and parking lots may be altered to accommodate an increasing demand for curbside pickup of pre purchased products.
Many businesses have shifted focus and assets into technology that has helped them survive the current lockdown restrictions. Once those restrictions are lifted these new online systems won’t be going anywhere but instead are long term investments into the new face of retail.
In the coming months we will see a new norm come to play within our local and online retailers with a likely shift towards more digital prepaying and ordering systems.