It’s more than a quarter of a century since the first online purchase took place and by the start of 2020 it was a fairly common daily experience for a large amount of the population, but the coronavirus pandemic pushed ecommerce to the fore at an accelerated pace.
The social distancing measures introduced by the government in late March made it difficult to visit some shops selling essential supplies (such as food and medicine) and all but impossible to visit others.
This was coupled with a large portion of the population now confined to their homes with extra time on their hands. These two combined created a boom in ecommerce to unprecedented levels, and it is predicted by many experts that real life, bricks-and-mortar shops will never return to the same levels of popularity again.
A significant milestone in the ecommerce boom came in mid-April when the UK government voiced its support for online retailers.
When secretary of state Alok Sharma MP said: “The government has always been clear that online retail can continue to operate and is encouraged, and that postal and delivery services will continue to operate,” it put any uncertainty to rest – it’s not only possible to shop online during the lockdown, it’s preferable.
Since then, Amazon has seen global sales rise by more than 26%, setting Jeff Bezos on course to become the world’s first trillionaire. Even locally, a Lancashire manufacturer has seen sales of its bakeware kit sky-rocket as people take up new hobbies, and that’s just one of hundreds of examples.
On the flipside, businesses ranging from a local butcher to giants such as Primark, who had opted not to engage with ecommerce, found themselves without any way to trade. They were suddenly paying the price for a failure to move with the times, even quicker than many predicted they would.
We don’t know when the lockdown will subside. We do know that high street shops won’t reopen before July 1, and it could be later, depending on the government’s analysis of the pandemic and its containment.
What we also don’t yet know is how the lockdown will change retail in the future. There are many people who have been forced to buy online for the first time, who have enjoyed the experience, been introduced to new brands and who will continue shopping from the comfort of their own home even once restrictions are lifted.
One thing is certain, ecommerce should now play a significant part in any retailer’s arsenal. If it wasn’t already, the best time for you to begin is now, because the world isn’t about to return to ‘normal’ after the lockdown ends.
If you’re interested in upgrading your ecommerce operation, or you’d like to discuss trading online for the first time, our team would be happy to share our expertise gained over more than two decades in the web development business.
We are also able to offer interest-free, staged payments for a limited number of new projects, to help you begin the next stage of your journey sooner rather than later.
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