COVID-19 undoubtedly impacted businesses in a multitude of ways. Whilst many companies took a battering during the 2020 pandemic, three years on some have seen a considerable surge in demand, particularly e-commerce businesses
The sudden shift in consumer shopping habits is primarily down to the effect of COVID-19. High street businesses had no choice but to lock their doors, with the public confined to their homes as COVID-19 spread on a global scale during 2020. With little to no alternative retail options, e-commerce businesses became a lifeline for consumers, with sales continuing to soar year on year since 2020.
Though online spending has undoubtedly been a boost for the economy, there are undeniably many challenges which online businesses faced as a result of the pandemic. Here we outline the most significant ways in which COVID-19 impacted e-commerce businesses.
Changes in consumer behaviour
A few years ago, consumers had no choice but to turn to e-commerce businesses as a result of lockdown. As the high street began to re-open its doors, online figures took a slight dip, but e-commerce spending continued to persevere. As a result, the pandemic caused distinctive swings in the attitudes of consumers.
3 years on, many consumers remain concerned with health and safety and the convenience of making purchases from home. Ordering online does not carry the same potential health risks as being in a physical shop scattered with other customers, making online shopping a more favourable option. E-commerce businesses have the ability to provide consumers with a solitary shopping experience whilst offering peace of mind post COVID-19.
As more consumers continue to rely on online shopping, the pressure to consistently provide timely and accurate deliveries also increases. We live in a fast-paced culture where consumers expect to receive their items within a matter of days, if not immediately. E-commerce businesses must ensure that they are providing timely service to meet the high expectations of today’s customers. Given the array of added concerns that e-commerce businesses must now consider during the pandemic, the ability to uphold these standards can be challenging.
The shift in operational management
E-commerce businesses have now found themselves occupied with maintaining strict operational standards. Many online business owners have reorganised their warehouses and workspaces to be in keeping with social distancing guidelines post-pandemic.
The importance of maintaining these standards, coupled with increased consumer volume, has meant less time for owners to focus on other critical aspects of their business. The challenge for e-commerce businesses here is the ability to maximise resources whilst also ensuring that no one area of the company becomes neglected.
Strain on logistics
Increased consumer demand, along with strict operational standards, placed a strain on logistics for e-commerce businesses. With many orders to fulfil, the pressure to quickly and accurately deliver goods to consumers whilst maintaining standards remains a challenge. As a result, e-commerce businesses with in-house order fulfilment may find themselves excessively consumed by this aspect of the company.
Three years on from COVID-19, we havve seen many e-commerce businesses outsource their order fulfilment to free up time and place their focus on other crucial areas of the company which require attention.
Timely and accurate order fulfilment has now become a significant feature of today’s customer experience, with the expectation that deliveries should arrive as soon as possible.
E-commerce challenges – summary
Whilst a surge in e-commerce business post-COVID-19 is no mean feat, it certainly does not come without its fair share of hurdles. The key areas in which e-commerce businesses have struggled is regarding:
- Evolving attitudes and expectations of customers concerning health and safety concerns and fast delivery times
- Need for businesses to adapt and be compliant with health and safety guidelines
- The requirement for maximum efficiency when it comes to order fulfilment
The most successful e-commerce businesses are those that have adapted in line with the changes that COVID-19 created, as well as those providing a first-class customer experience. Statistics show that the demand for e-commerce businesses will continue for the foreseeable future.
If you think your business could benefit from outsourcing your order fulfilment, please give us a call on 0121 326 7368 or contact us using the form below