Will Americans keep looking for new e-tail sites as stores reopen?
The nationwide shelter-at-home orders of the past few months have motivated customers to not just try out new brands, but online retailers with which they have never done business before.
More than half of Americans (55 percent) have made a purchase at a new online store during the pandemic, according to Small Business Trends, citing a survey conducted by Ware2Go. The survey further found that 87 percent of customers report shopping online and 64 percent say they are replacing their weekly shopping trips with online orders.
Customers being moved to try new products and services has been a recurring theme throughout the course of the novel coronavirus pandemic. First came the initial, massive wave of adoption of online grocery shopping in mid-March, which allowed customers to shop for essentials while minimizing human contact. At the same time, stock-outs due to pandemic-related panic buying and, in some cases, food shortages, forced many customers to trial new products to replace their favorites. With a third party doing their grocery shopping for them, shoppers sometimes inadvertently received products they had not anticipated buying.
Customers were also buying things they wouldn’t have otherwise outside of grocery stores. Best Buy and other technology retailers, for instance, saw spikes in the purchase of home office technology as the majority of the U.S. workforce transitioned to working from home.
Teaching at home, another COVID-19 driven trend, also drove purchases of both traditional teaching supplies and teaching-related technology, as a Ware2Go infographic illustrates. With no clear consensus on a decision to reopen schools in the fall, these purchases will presumably continue.
As the Ware2Go study’s point out, many consumers switched to new retailers for reasons one might never have anticipated. Early in the pandemic, Amazon was swamped with orders for food and cleaning supplies, leading the e-tail titan, notorious for its unparalleled fulfillment capabilities, to experience large backlogs and even suspend delivery of items deemed non-essential, leading customers to order elsewhere.
- 55% of Americans Have Shopped Online at a New Store – Small Business Trends
- Data Shows Life at Home During COVID-19 Impacts Shopping Patterns – Ware2Go
- Best Buy is getting back to business with scheduled appointments – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What might determine whether shoppers will continue shopping the new websites after the pandemic that they’ve started using? What can online retailers do to remain “sticky” if and when things return to relative normalcy?