The Impact of COVID19 on eCommerce and Digital Marketing

We are all very aware of how the 2020 pandemic shook the very foundations of our lives; sometimes for the worse, but also for the better. A great example is how eCommerce and digital marketing became a great necessity overnight, and how only those companies that already used e-commerce as an alternative means of the sale were able to adapt and survive.

Some could not keep up with the changes, but for many web-based services, this ordeal brought on the perfect conditions for growth.

In this article, we will analyze how the Covid-19 pandemic came to reshape the way of doing business, taking brick-and-mortar stores out of their comfort zone and consolidating those who were already part of the digital world.

Read on!

A Push to Go Digital

digital marketing

Many of us have been working digitally and remotely for decades now, but the general panorama was for companies to be intimately tied to the physical world–even when there was no real need for this. 

Sometimes, the world is ready for progress before we humans have even had time to think about it. COVID 19 forced many companies to go digital, look for new solutions, and change their views on the way they operate.

To the surprise of everyone, big corporations suddenly found that going digital saved them more money than they could have predicted. Every business, from mom-and-pop’s type to big corporations, struggled to adapt. But the ones who came out the other end found a new way to operate; even the most unlikely products and services found a way to go digital!

Before 2020, people were still reluctant to the idea of virtual trainers or assistants. And while we already ordered our takeout on apps, grocery shopping was still something you would do in person. Even though many stores already offered an app and delivery service. 

But the biggest change came from how we behaved and adapted to the situation as consumers.

What We Didn’t Know We Needed

Would you have ever believed that a pandemic would be indirectly related to a rise in demand for architects? 

With people being trapped in their homes it became more imperative to do those small renovations, not to mention the plant and landscaping businesses bloomed (no pun intended). 

And of course, who could have predicted that face masks and antibacterial gel would become essential everyday items?

You might recall that at the beginning of this crisis you could only find white or blue masks. As the demand became bigger, companies saw an opportunity to market these boring medical products. Now you can find them in every color, design, and fandom you can think of.

How Does This Affect eCommerce and Digital Marketing?

You might think we’re just rambling on about apps and medical supplies, but these are all perfect examples of how entrepreneurs and business owners adapted to the colossal shifts in the market. 

As the saying goes, “in times of crisis, there are those who cry and those who start selling tissues.”

A bigger market than before

It’s no surprise to know that there has been a drastic increase in online shopping. For a while, people didn’t have a choice. All those who were still afraid of online purchases or reluctant to update their shopping methods suddenly had no other option. 

We were all forced to discover the wonders and comforts of buying online.

Some statistics worth pondering 

During the first quarter of 2020, Amazon reported a 26% increase in sales compared to 2019. Statista projected a US $898,670m increase in revenue in 2021, and some sanitizing companies sold their entire yearly stock in the first 2 months of the year. 

The web is now more prosperous than it has ever been for business!

The change is here to stay

There are many trends out there that just come and go. And for sellers, getting on board a trend is a high-risk/high-reward type of situation that makes it attractive to many. 

This is not the case, the shifts we have seen in the last couple of years have given us a push into the next stage of eCommerce and digital marketing, and there’s no sign of us going back. 

The intent to shop in physical stores has gone down 7% in Europe with only 15% of shoppers in the UK expressing interest in going back to grocery stores as they reopen.

Rethinking How We Connect to Consumers

connect with people

This is a very interesting time for marketers as they approach the digital era as more of a necessity. 

For years, digital marketing has represented a huge advantage, but many businesses or industries could still get away with low investment in digital marketing.

But going digital is not just a modern option anymore, it’s the future.  And companies worldwide will have to start migrating their business before they get buried under the titanic avalanche of change that will be coming in the next decade.

How Our Needs Have Changed

With this wave of change, new niches and necessities have arisen. Many of the companies who were early to identify these new markets have skyrocketed to become very successful. Before the pandemic, Zoom was just another small video conference service. Now, it’s the go-to solution for digital communication. 

Let’s go over some of these new areas of opportunity:

  • Digital business solutions

As companies all over the world have gone fully digital, they expect new options to manage their new way of functioning. In the past, you could see companies going digital with banking, media, and entertainment; slowly, we’ll be seeing more business needs being fulfilled digitally. Today you can see virtual networking meetups, virtual assistants, and many other services that have taken advantage of this new wave of necessities. 

  • Versatile home spaces

As we’ve had to exist solely from our houses, most people have had the need to adapt their space to their many activities. Home offices and home gyms are certainly not new, but never before have this amount of people required such volumes of office equipment, gym equipment, desks, dumbbells, coffee, and Margarita mixes in such a rush. Many companies have tripled or even quadrupled their expected orders; and as people rediscover their space, there is an ever-growing pool of opportunities for sellers.

  • Content

When you’re trapped in a house with your family for the better span of 2 years, streaming becomes a basic need. Many platforms were recently launched, and while you can expect big corporations to be making huge bucks right now, they’re not the only ones. All content creators and companies alike have benefited from the current demand and the diversity of new platforms like Tik Tok

This doesn’t mean you have to become an influencer, but if you’re a seller or a marketer, you should know content marketing is the way to go now more than ever.

Understanding Your Target Audience

As borders shut down, 2 things happened: markets became more localized and services broke the chains of geographical constraints. 

It is especially important to understand these 2 phenomena to adjust our eCommerce and digital marketing strategies:

  • Localized markets

We are yet to see how this develops now that the travel industry is slowly picking up. In general, during the pandemic, we were confined not only to our respective countries but in a large way to our neighborhoods. This created an opportunity for companies to connect with their consumers in a more personalized way. Advertisements had to be tailored to cities and smaller areas, presenting marketers with new challenges in order to create thriving campaigns

  • Globalized businesses

Many business owners dream of going big, but we tend to think it’s an impossible task. In this short period of time, many were forced to take their business digital and global. With this comes a series of opportunities to satisfy the needs of these new companies as they grow into a bigger spotlight during a very unique time.

Our Closing Thoughts

The panorama has shifted forever and we can no longer get away with the strategies of the past (the past being a mere 2 years ago). 

Ever since millennials started earning and spending, the paradigms of how we reach consumers have been put to the test. Having entered into a new market of hyper-informed shoppers, it became crucial to find new ways to connect instead of straight upsell. And after COVID-19, this will only become more rooted. 

People buying online allows them to weigh their options.  Slowly, picking a product will become more about client relations, than the product itself. 

What can you do to prepare? 

  • Build a strong brand that truly resonates with your target audience.
  • Know your brand purpose and use it to guide your decisions.
  • Understand who your customers are and why they buy from you.
  • Be aware of the channels that your audience actually uses.
  • Change your strategies to accommodate the way your niche behaves in this new era.

This is definitely a perfect moment to start or grow a digital business. But you will have to think outside the box and adapt to the new flows and particularities of eCommerce and digital marketing. Rest assured this is something you can quickly get the handle of if you play your cards right.