Businesses have encountered an unimaginable situation when lockdowns were announced. Crisis, unemployment and powerful industries have been challenged through the coronavirus pandemic, making every country struggle in health and economics. A scenario that society had only thought could exist in a movie started to unroll.
The way consumers used to shop had to change dramatically in the whole world in a very short period. Websites became the core of sales for people in lockdown or shops that could not open their doors for security. E-commerce suddenly became the main alternative to traditional shopping.
Shopping and COVID-19
Putting on a dress, buying the best leggings, trying on pants, touching the fabric of a suit… These are all natural gestures that had to be revised when entering a fashion store during COVID-19. Then, in addition to the general rules, traders in the non-food sector, and particularly in clothing shops, now have precise protocols recommended.
If the premises allow, organize an entry and exit flow.
At the checkout, ensure a distance of at least 1 meter between customers. If this is not possible, equip the cash desk with a transparent screen at least 1 meter wide by 2 meters high and provide a slot for payment and a floor marking for the distance.
Avoid fittings and organizing returns
For the fitting, sensitive point if there is one, the instructions are very clear: they should be limited as much as possible. But if there is a fitting: The clothes must be treated by a steamer type steam generator system, the temperature of which is around 98° C if the material of the article can withstand it, or stored for 24 hours. before putting back on the shelf.
Finally, between two clients, the cabins will be cleaned. Hydroalcoholic gel is available at the store entrance and customers are encouraged to use it before entering so that they can touch the items with clean hands.
Online shopping return policies
Many shops have turned their strategies to online shopping. Special promotions, free shipping and modified return policies have taken space in many e-commerces. Customers are invited to feel as comfortable as possible when buying online.
E-commerce sales: which sectors dominate?
The fear from getting sick and the strict control over parks and other public spaces has had a strong negative effect in traditional shopping. Under these special circumstances, online shopping got a dramatic rise. But the hit was produced in particular sectors that became dominant.
1. Groceries and food
Lockdown pushed the need to shop less often and to shop more in order to have food. Once isolation was set in many countries around the world, buying in bulk was most people’s choice. And buying them online prevented the hassle of visiting supermarkets later. Even if this situation brought stock issues, many retailers made enormous amounts of sales. Traffic and demand was at least doubled, if not tripled.
2. Pharmacy and video consultation
Pharmacies and distributors have had a great impact on sales during pandemics. Since cold symptoms increased during winter and autumn seasons, the purchase of items for easing flu increased.
Nowadays, masks are a daily and mandatory accessory, and pharmacies had trouble at the beginning of the pandemics to satisfy their demand. Once this situation regularized, the medical sector incorporated a new audience of customers that did not have before.
Medical e-commerce companies make sure people don’t have to leave their homes to buy drugs. Online appointments with doctors have also risen with the pandemics.
As people have no option but to spend more time at home and limit gatherings, movies and series took the lead for entertainment. Subscriptions to several platforms like Netflix, HBO or Amazon Prime have seen an exponential curve, along with their revenue, in many countries.
Real impacts on Marketing Efforts
Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and even web development have proven their point in this crisis. We don’t know how long this outbreak will last, and the closures have affected people’s healthy lives. But we are sure that the effects of the coronavirus have also made their way into the digital world.
Marketers had to go back to basics in order to satisfy the new market in the context of COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Measuring and analyzing the new behaviour and preferences of a world in sanitary crisis is the key to developing successful campaigns. Understanding and tracking these changes is the only way to achieve engagement and long lasting results.