Many reports and reviews looking back at the past year are trying to break down how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people, consumer habits and daily practises. As businesses begin to look forward to a new year with a fresh start many companies use the power of the yearly-reflection to set themselves up for success in the coming year. One of the biggest changes that have entered the consumer market is shopping online and ecommerce.
What is Ecommerce?
Ecommerce refers to online shopping or purchasing.
A good way to understand the definition of ecommerce is to think about e-mail.
E-Mail is used to refer to an electronic mailing system. Ecommerce is the same type of break down: Electronic commerce. Commerce, of course, refers simply to the activity of buying and selling.
In this definition, ecommerce doesn’t only refer to a buyer making a purchase online but the entire ecosystem of companies providing an electronic commerce platform for customers.
Ecommerce Pre-COVID Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic did not create ecommerce. Shopping online has been around for quite some time. Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, as well as independent stores, car rentals, and even restaurants have been offering an electronic check-out experience for quite some time. Market share of ecommerce sales in the retail industry was good – 10% in 2017.
At this time, however, many companies that did well with brick and mortar sales didn’t need to go online. If they could reach their target customer base and were easy to access then there was no need to get online more than the typical website and social media presence.
How did COVID impact Ecommerce?
When COVID hit and people were encouraged to stay home while brick and mortar stores had to shut their doors, many businesses turned to ecommerce to remain accessible to customers. Those who were going back and forth about offering an online store or not were quickly making the decision to go online. All of these quick transitions were happening at the same time when customers had no choice but to learn and experience the world of ecommerce.
According to a study by RAND, people shopping online during COVID versus before increased in all age groups.
According to Forbes the growth seen in the ecommerce market over the past year would have normally taken 4-6 years to achieve. The industry jumped more than $52 billion in sales over the year. Convenience, safety, “shop-around” availability, lack of crowds and price management and comparison are some of the main reasons that online shopping has grown in popularity.
For small businesses, especially, the online shopping boom has increased their customer base and has opened a lot of doors.
B2C – or business-to-consumer – industries aren’t the only ones seeing the impact of the ecommerce boom.
B2C Purchasing Habits Impact B2B Business
Business people are, at the end of the day, people. As general consumer habits change so do business purchasing habits. With COVID, this change has been accelerated as well since companies had no option but to adapt to the changing world.
56% of purchasing managers were spending more on ecommerce sites, 22% saying they spend “significantly more” on ecommerce than in previous years. This indicates that retail and consumer shopping businesses and stores aren’t the only ones who need to get on board the ecommerce bandwagon: B2B – or business-to-business – suppliers, traders, sellers and renters also need to start taking action on getting ecommerce to their customers.
Is Ecommerce right for you?
Whether you’re a contractor thinking about buying your next toolbox online or a company considering adding ecommerce to your website, you may be asking yourself the same question:
Is ecommerce the right path for me?
The answer is quite simple: Yes – and there will be fewer paths to choose from over the next couple of years.
Ecommerce and digitalization of the industry go hand in hand. It’s expected that online shopping and ecommerce for everything from renting construction equipment to purchasing building materials will become the norm over the next few years.