The subject of the hour … The Covid-19! We are pretty sure you already knew it, but 2020 is going to be forever marked by the passage of the Coronavirus. Countries have completely closed their borders and we still don’t know when they will reopen. We are facing something never seen before and it was imperative to talk about it. In recent months, we have witnessed a radical change of mentality. E-commerce has literally exploded and there have been many side effects. This is what we will cover during this blog.
From the physical store to the online store
How to shop if all the stores are closed? Even though the trend in e-commerce is increasing every year, there are still millions of consumers who don’t buy online. Many prefer to see and try in store. With the advent of the virus, many people had to change their habits. It was just no longer possible to go to the malls. How to remedy to the situation? Give e-commerce a chance? This lead to amass movement towards online commerce. Shopping online even becomes a precious hobby during the Coronavirus. People would buy anything to keep them busy. We Can’t deny it, one of the only things that never really stopped was buying online.
Benefits for businesses
We just talked about the fact that people are buying more and more online and that the growth is incredible. We must now talk about the positive and negative consequences of this growth. Take the time to understand the pros and cons of this situation. You guessed it, the biggest positive consequence is how the sales went up. On the other hand, still many companies did not give enough importance to e-commerce and did not necessarily have an online store. If they had one, it was not necessarily effective either. Many companies with little presence on the web have paid the high price. On the other hand, those already well present before the pandemic gained a huge market share from their competitors. As a result, many companies hadn’t expected their sales to grow as big. Of course, many were too dependent on their physical store. Some have already closed or are considering closing in a very near future. Unfortunately, the closure of many businesses will be inevitable, as they are unable to keep the tack. Loyal customers who expect their businesses to reopen will find out that their stores are closing forever. They have to find an alternative and this is where they turn to those on the web. This creates a new clientele for them! So not only do people try shopping on the web, but they try it with new businesses! In addition, many businesses remained closed for a long time during the Covid because they were not considered “essential”. New challenges are emerging; production capacity, delivery times, out of stock and much more. Customers have no patience and want to receive the material quickly. Companies has to provide an exceptional customer service to ensure they retain customers. Unlike the “physical” market, it’s easy for a customer to go to another website to shop online. So expect little loyalty to a business on the web. You have to make sure that the customer is satisfied very quickly, if not, it goes to the next website. In other words, sales growth is not only positive, it may hurt companies more than it helps!
Solution to meet demand
How to respond to demand? Several companies must reinvent themselves in order to satisfy the insatiable demand of customers. As mentioned earlier, there is often a shortage of manpower to reach the required production capacity. In addition, many were good to ship a few orders per day. Their shipping department was able to supply demand without any problem. Now they have to ship dozens or even hundreds or thousands of orders per day. It is obvious that these departments were not prepared for this. Companies find themselves caught in a dilemma, shipping capacity or production capacity. Of course, one cannot go without the other! What many companies did not know before the pandemic was that there is an opportunity to do both! This is why companies rushed to 3PL to outsource their distribution service. A 3PL? but what is a 3PL? A 3PL stands for “third party logistics” and serves as a partner in the shipment of goods. With this kind of service, the company can concentrate all its efforts on its production and delegate the shipment of its goods to a team much more qualified to do so. Companies have had no choice but to reinvent themselves in order to cope with sales growth and this is another solution that has been widely used by e-commerce companies.
Another phenomenon observed from this pandemic … masks and hand sanitizer! Each store now appears to have a different brand of disinfectant. Companies started to produce these products (disinfectant and masks) in order to become an essential business and maintain their operation. But how can we qualify these maneuvers? Is it really to help the people or to be opportunist? We are currently experiencing the phenomenon, the market has exploded and each new company claims to be a specialist. How many people knew of a brand other than Purell before the pandemic? Now, such sites are exploding and market shares are shrinking more and more. We are curious to see how these companies will continue in the coming years when demand decreases. Will all these products still be available?
Impact on delivery times
Last big phenomenon of the pandemic in e-commerce, delivery times. Not only do companies work hard to ship on time, they also have to deal with delay from carrier companies. Carrier companies … but what is a carrier company? This is a very simple answer, we are talking about companies like UPS, Fedex and Canada Post here. These companies were under tremendous pressure during the pandemic. As we mentioned earlier, sales are at full speed and these courier company fail to regain the upper hand. Some of these companies even had to neglect customers in order to ensure that they serve others. Even these logistics expert were not ready for the pandemic. So expect that even if packages were shipped on time, that doesn’t mean you will receive them on time!
Again, we may feel like we are repeating ourselves, but we could talk about this for days. We hope that we have brought a different vision to this subject. However, there is one subject we did not cover during this blog and that is … what now… What should we expect? Will everything return to normal or will online commerce finally take over? We will have to be patient, because this is precisely the subject of next week! We will deal with projections on the future of e-Commerce following Covid-19. Thank you and see you next week!
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