Will Online Shopping Remain As Popular Post-Pandemic?
Guest post from 365BusinessTips considering recent customer trends to determine whether online shopping will remain as popular after the pandemic.
Many retail stores were closed during the pandemic and forced to make hard choices. If their shop wasn’t set up for online shopping, this was the time to sink or swim as more people were forced to stay home for work and were told not to go out in public unless in need of essential supplies.
Consumer behavior had a drastic shift during this time, which included more online shopping. Let’s face it, though. Shopping online was already popular, thanks to companies like Amazon and other eCommerce brands that never had a physical location. However, during the pandemic, people shopped online in dramatically higher numbers.
The Case for Online Shopping
Simply put, online shopping will remain popular post-pandemic due to several other consumer behaviors that shifted during the pandemic, including:
Now more than ever, consumers realize they can shop around for different prices on similar or identical items. Someone looking for something as simple as hair care or different beauty products can find them available online through many retailers. You may also be able to sign up to receive email offers from retailers that drastically reduce your cost.
You can buy just about anything online, even a car, which is why so many people shifted from shopping in stores to shopping online during the pandemic. Being able to compare pricing across retailers and brands allowed people to get flexible pricing and save money during the pandemic, an opportunity they wouldn’t be able to take advantage of when shopping in stores.
Customer Service Expectations
No matter where you shop, you have expectations for customer service. For example, consumer expectations consist of many things, such as the desire for support reps to be available for any questions or issues that may arise. In many busy retail establishments, there is a customer help desk with people waiting to take care of you. However, the keyword here is “busy.” In stores, you might get stuck waiting in the customer service line, or there may not be anyone available for you.
When shopping online, there’s typically someone available to answer your calls and messages, or automated bots to help you figure out where to find certain products. Not to mention, you can also talk to representatives of the brands from which you’re considering purchasing.
At a brick-and-mortar big box store, you may not have this same level of access to someone who works directly for the brand and knows enough to answer all of our questions. But when you shop online, you can shop directly with the brand and have all of your questions and concerns handled quickly.
Shopping online is more convenient than shopping in stores because you don’t have to hop in a car and drive somewhere to browse. Instead, you can sit on your couch and shop while you watch television.
As our lives get busier and busier post-pandemic, and many people go back to work or resume in-person relationships with loved ones, there may be less time to go to the store. Now people can shop online no matter where they are and not have to worry about whether or not they have time to do other things.
Shopping online offers better variety and choices. There’s even variety when you wouldn’t think there would be. Something as simple as black pants can be found in many different styles and various price points so you can find the best option for you.
Retail Stores Making a Comeback
Just because online shopping will remain popular in the post-pandemic world doesn’t mean in-person shopping is gone. Just like shopping online, shopping in stores provides you with a certain experience. One of the biggest benefits of shopping in stores is seeing the items you purchase in person. Many people, especially those shopping for clothes and groceries, would prefer to see what they purchase before they decide to invest money into it.
Shopping in stores also provides many people with the benefits of relaxation and simply getting out of the house. With so many of us cooped up for so long, many can’t wait to get back to retail shopping.
What About Grocery Stores?
One major shift in online shopping happened with grocery stores. While online food ordering and shopping became popular way before the pandemic, grocery stores had just started making the shift to online delivery or pick-up before the pandemic. Curbside pick-up became increasingly popular in 2020 because it meant keeping fewer people in-store to help with social distancing and made consumers feel safer because they wouldn’t have to be among strangers.
However, many people found they would prefer to shop for their groceries online. With grocery stores being overwhelmed by both in-store shoppers and online shoppers, orders were often incorrect.
One major downside of shopping for groceries online is if an item is out of stock, your in-store shopper dedicated to your account might choose a similar item for you. You may also opt to have them delete the product from your list. If you chose to have the shopper pick a similar item, you might be disappointed with what was delivered to you because it was either unrelated or more expensive than the original item you were seeking.
Many people would prefer to shop for groceries in grocery stores so they can pick their items based on their preference and not leave it up to chance. That said, online sellers who work in the grocery industry can capitalize on this opportunity by focusing on providing a stellar customer experience and working closely with their suppliers in order to keep in-demand products in stock.
Weren’t Consumers Just Bored?
Some people attribute the popularity of eCommerce during the pandemic to the fact that people had no choice but to shop online and were simply bored.
We’re not denying that online purchases skyrocketed throughout the pandemic. However, online shopping was already massively popular prior to 2019. Business closures, consumer desires and stay-at-home orders simply accelerated its growth.
And now that consumers have become familiar with and accustomed to being able to buy virtually anything they want, any time they want at the click of a button, the eCommerce industry is most likely going to continue growing.
This has been a guest post from 365BusinessTips.com. For more business tips and advice to help you grow, click here.
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