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How Corona has Changed Shopping Behaviour

Retail during corona times and after
  • As a result of the corona pandemic, consumers are increasingly shopping online and want to continue to do so.

  • Retailers who do not set up an online offering now won’t be able to compete in the future.

  • Competition in e-commerce is becoming tougher, so new ways of marketing are necessary.


The Covid 19 pandemic has completely disrupted the retail trade. Closed shops, compulsory masks and fear of infection have led many consumers to shop online more often. A study by Forrester Consulting and Bloomreach shows that around 50% of customers have ordered products online for the first time, products they had previously bought only in bricks-and-mortar retail stores (such as food). But shopping online proved difficult for many German customers — a good 70% of those surveyed reported unsatisfactory search results and shortcomings in product descriptions, among other things.

Nevertheless, a Kantar study predicts that e-commerce will emerge from the Corona crisis as a major winner. This is because six out of ten consumers surveyed want to maintain their changed shopping behavior and order online more often. Market researchers from Bitkom Research also found that 66% of German consumers shop online at retailers in their region during the corona crisis and would like more local retailers to offer their goods over the Internet. 


Consequences for e-commerce

What does this mean for e-commerce? It is clearly more important than ever for every retailer to offer their goods online. Those who don’t act now will emerge from the crisis as losers. This applies to the sale of all product groups, including food. Because during the crisis, online trading in food has also increased — so much so that there were bottlenecks in delivery. 

One challenge emerging for e-commerce is that the Corona crisis has led many consumers to be more frugal because their incomes fell or decreased. Competition is also increasing between e-commerce merchants. This makes it all the more important to be well positioned online. 


What can e-commerce merchants do now?

You should definitely optimize (or set up) your website and especially your online shop so that your customers will keep coming back because they can quickly find exactly what they’re looking for. It’s also clear that your online shop must work well on all devices. 

In addition to your own website, you should offer your products on other sales channels, for example Amazon. And goods can even be sold via social media. Facebook, for example, has set up its own shop system. There you can bring your articles to your customers in a targeted manner (for example, through custom-fit advertising). 

If you’re the type, you can also try out other ways to present your goods. Maybe you set up a business YouTube channel where you give tips on your articles or show how your goods can be used in different ways? Explanatory videos on your own website can also help make your products, and especially your brand, better known. Maybe you even offer (free) online seminars about your product? There are no limits to your imagination and if you see that offers are not noticed or that you do not generate additional (or enough) sales through them, you can drop them again. 


Content, content, content

In any case, it’s clear that content in your e-commerce shop is becoming increasingly important. The more valuable information you provide about your offer, the more potential customers you will reach — if only because your brand and your offer will become more visible, for example via search engines. All this takes time, but it’s worth it. 

Make sure your online content addresses your customers in a targeted manner. For example, if you offer goods for a certain age group, the tonality of your (product) descriptions and the functionality of your website must be adapted to this group of people. In general: the easier your shop is to use, the more customers of all ages you’ll reach. 


Away from purely local trade

Local shops should now also urgently seek their way onto the net. Because consumers who like to use your stationary offer will also want to support you online — especially in times of crisis. And of course, you can use it to expand your customer base and not just rely on customers in your area, an important factor in surviving in times of crisis.


Sustainability as a selling point

And remember: For many customers, the Corona pandemic has also brought the sustainability of products into focus. The crisis has shown that problems (such as the rapid spread of a virus) are arising as a result of global trade and that we are paying a high price for cheap (disposable) products. This does not mean you must completely rethink your online business, but you should ensure that the articles you sell also emphasise environmental aspects and social action. This is another good reason for small, regionally produced companies to invest in e-commerce.


Forto can help you get through the crisis better with your e-commerce. Want to learn more? See our offer for online merchants here. Or contact us directly here.