The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been widespread and all-encompassing. No business have been left unaffected as a result of the global lockdowns, enforced quarantines and social distancing measures that have been needed to tackle the virus.

With this in mind, and with many physical brick-and-mortar stores having to close their doors, it is unsurprising that online shopping has become the primary means of commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic. While retailers and eCommerce sales suffered in March, it hasn’t been a case of Coronavirus vs eCommerce, but rather as a situation where Coronavirus boosts eCommerce sales for the months to come.

In fact, what we have seen throughout April and May is that the pandemic has actually triggered a level of sales on eCommerce platforms that rivals the likes of Black Friday or Cyber Monday. More and more people are embracing the concept of eCommerce, and in some instances it might be the only way which customers are able to buy certain products. So, let’s take a look at just what the impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce has been, and what some companies have been doing to adjust accordingly to this increasing demand for products and services.

How eCommerce Prices Are Decreasing But Sales Are Increasing

The impact of Coronavirus on the world has been devastating, the impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce has potentially altered the way retailers do business for good. Since over half of all consumers are now trying to implement some form of social distancing, more people have gravitated towards online shopping for a growing number of new product categories. This means it is not just about a rapid rise in online purchases, but about the very nature of these demands.

While March may have been a down month for most businesses, eCommerce has illustrated the way these companies have been adapting to the situation. In order to keep generating revenue and continue selling products, many companies have needed to offer discounted prices, flash sales and provide gift cards to users, all to be able to ensure continued sales. So, while the overall average prices of products may be seemingly lower than usual, the actual amount of sales is increasing due eCommerce being the only way most people are currently able to procure products.

What is BOPIS?

Alongside reducing the prices of their eCommerce products, retailers are also adopting something referred to as the BOPIS model in order to meet customer expectations. This stands for Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store and it is a great way for retailers to drive in-store traffic while simultaneously connecting their offline and online experiences into one unified approach. This combination of online and in-store experience brought about by BOPIS lets retailers engage with customers and offer them the products they need, all while offering a more convenient way to shop for all.

In today’s current retail climate, shoppers want choice and flexibility in how their orders are completed as they see speed and efficiency as key elements regarding their overall interactions with brands and businesses. A BOPIS model allows this by delivering convenience through letting customers select which items they want to purchase and the exact time they want to collect them.

With the effects of COVID-19 still being felt, having designated times for when customers will arrive and collect their orders also makes it easier to enact safer social distancing measures, all without ever compromising on the speed and efficiency of service. 

The Massive Increases In Online Grocery Shopping

The numbers indicate that consumers are willing to spend more on products that will help them manage the COVID-19 crisis. This, understandably, includes groceries and overall, there has been a huge rise in grocery sales since the outbreak first became apparent.

According to new data, eCommerce sales jumped 49% in April, compared to figures in early March while online grocery sales helped to drive this increase with a 110% boost in daily sales between these months as people attempted to get the products they needed through any platform possible. This wasn’t just limited to food products though as sales of electronic devices also skyrocketed by 58% while the number of books being sold has doubled. 

Paypal Breaks Records

With more people interacting with eCommerce for the first time, April was a record-breaking month for PayPal in terms of both enrollment and use. The company saw the addition of 7.4 million new active accounts while the daily net new customer rate averaged roughly 250,000 per day. As more people begin to get more familiar and comfortable with the concept of PayPal, as well as online shopping in general, these enlarged figures are only set to become the new normal as the company themselves is expecting to add a further 15 million to 20 million new active accounts in Q2 alone. This incredible usage of PayPal was signified on May 1, where they experienced the largest single day of transactions in company history, larger than both Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, emblematic of just how much the COVID-19 outbreak has encouraged users to make the shift to an eCommerce way of shopping.

How New Merchants Are Signing Up For Platforms Like Shopify

With the closure and shutdown of the majority of physical store locations, more and more merchants are making the jump to digital in order to keep selling products with many looking to enact a shopify marketing strategy

As physical stores have been forced to close or at least significantly reduce their way of operating, many have to turned to Shopify in order to continue selling. Essentially, Shopify offers tools to allow businesses to open digital versions of their stores across multiple channels, including social media, to maximise the amount of sales they can generate.

For many, this might have been their first experience with Shopify which led the company to offer additional support to merchants throughout the pandemic, including a resource center and, most importantly, a free three-month trial of its eCommerce platform for users to get accustomed to this way of working.

In fact, the number of consumers making a purchase for the first time from any Shopify merchant grew 8% since lockdown measures were brought in while the number of consumers purchasing from a new Shopify merchant grew by 45%. In total, the value of goods sold through Shopify's ecommerce and store point-of-sale systems increased 46%, a figure that is only set to increase once these businesses become more familiar with the new way of operating.

Final Thoughts

The Coronavirus outbreak has taught us a lot of things, from hygiene to health services, it is likely that this has been a tipping point for a great number of sweeping changes. However, it is the impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce and small businesses that is already causing things to change. With more people shifting to an online way of shopping, and more businesses embracing eCommerce to engage with their customers, these Black Friday-like sales regarding online shopping, may just be the start of the wide-scale appropriation of eCommerce platforms for companies of all shapes and sizes.



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