With markets plunging across the world, coronavirus is having grave implications on economies. On the other hand, experts believe that the novel coronavirus can provide a long-term boost to the e-commerce players if they can withstand the blow. As people incorporate lifestyle changes and begin to adjust to a “new normal”, online shopping is bound to witness a boost as people are spending most of their time online. The e-commerce business will grow at an accelerated rate, given the fact that social distancing is to be practiced at all costs, consumers are preferring to shop online. In the future, when lockdowns are lifted, a majority of customers will still refrain from indulging into in-store shopping.
Talking about the short-term implications of coronavirus, the e-commerce companies are experiencing a drop in sales as customers are avoiding buying non-essential products. Factors such as salary cuts, loss of employment and income uncertainties are making people more conscious about how they are spending their money.
E-commerce will have long-term gains due to coronavirus
A large chunk of population which had not yet made the switch from offline stores to online grocery apps like FreshDirect, AmazonFresh, AmazonPantry or BigBasket, are now being forced to use them. A customer said, “Online grocery apps provide a pretty convenient experience. I might do that more often.” Amish Jani, partner at FirstMark – a venture capital firm, said that e-tailers selling food and household staples will gain from this pandemic situation. Going forward, the trend and behaviour will persist. According to Quantum Metric, e-commerce has experienced an increase of 52 percent in average revenue weekly growth rate. This indicates a sudden upsurge in the demand as consumers are preferring to shop online. The US online grocery sales have grown by 215% (eMarketer) in mere 10 days – from late January to early February.
Eric Roth, managing director of MidOcean Partners, said, “e-commerce will reap the benefits in the long-term which can be 2021 but, currently a lot of small e-commerce players are going out of business.”
Shortage of Inventory
As most countries are in a national lockdown phase, sourcing supplies has been a huge challenge for the e-commerce companies. With majority of companies being dependent on China for the manufacturing of their products, the supply chain is experiencing a gap due to factories being shut. This has resulted into shipment delays, labour shortages and technical glitches.
According to a survey by Digital Commerce 360, 44 percent of online retailers expect product delays and approximately 40 percent expect shortage of inventory. Now that China is slowly making it’s come back, products are flowing in again. But the cargo movement is still affected as availability of workers such as truck drivers still remains an issue.
E-commerce companies have a negative outlook for 2020. Most e-commerce businesses are indulging into analysing the impact of coronavirus on the business. To get the most of the online coronavirus data, businesses must leverage data analytics to get a holistic view about the coronavirus impact on their business. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow graver day by day, businesses are scrambling to churn out a fool-proof strategy of dealing with the impacts of crisis. Bespoke and comprehensive market research can provide deep insights about future plans of action.