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Emerging E-commerce Trends During and After COVID-19 - Reinvent Your Business for Massive Growth

It has been more than one and a half years since COVID-19 hit the world. The global pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our lives, including the way we sell and shop. As the world is moving towards ‘the new normal’, online sellers must reinvent and adapt themselves to meet customers’ expectations. In this blog post, we will discuss some emerging trends in the e-commerce world that store owners should look out for and how they can leverage these to grow their business.

1. Consumers’ spending continues to increase or at least remains unchanged

Although the pandemic has led to a mass reduction in household income levels, spending does not experience a downward trend. In particular, a survey commissioned by ShipEngine revealed that 74% of Americans spent more or about the same in the retail sector in 2020 as compared to 2019. This figure is also higher for the 2020 and 2021 period (88%). This opens more opportunities for dropshippers to expand their business and reach out to potential customers as more capital is put into this industry.

2. E-commerce becomes the new consumers’ favorite

In the early stage of the pandemic, the vast majority of consumers claimed that they will be returning to in-store shopping once the social distancing restrictions are relaxed. Nevertheless, there has been a major preference shift towards online shopping recently. In particular, most shoppers now say they prefer e-commerce. This stems from various reasons, such as the ease of price comparison and the convenience of shopping at the comfort of their home.

This trend benefits store owners because there would be more people coming to visit their stores. However, it poses some threats at the same time. As more consumers enter, more sellers would also occupy the space. This means the competition is likely to be more intense, which requires you to have a good understanding of the market as well as the buyers. Moreover, more resources will be needed to build and nurture a meaningful relationship with customers so that they are converted and retained in the long run.

3. Consumers are increasingly aware of supply chain limitation

Coronavirus has exposed the limitation of the logistics and supply chain industry. More specifically, it was not rare for customers to catch sight of empty shells in supermarkets when COVID-19 was declared pandemic and lockdowns were enforced in almost every corner of the world. Having experienced this, it is predicted that customers will be increasingly making purchases based on expectations of future scarcity rather than their actual needs.

This observation would be helpful for many e-commerce store owners, especially those who sell day-to-day consumer products such as food, supplements, and health care products. It might suggest that the stores should stock up more items during peak seasons or during periods when a spike in demand is projected.

4. Free shipping now has become the new standard in ecommerce

Over the past months, the logistics and supply chain encountered major challenges due to the restrictions imposed by governments, leading to an upward trend in shipping rates. However, as consumers are spending more online, they expect free shipping as a form of reward/compensation. Although it seems that this would eat up your profit, implementing the right strategies would help you to maintain your margin while satisfying your customers.

5. Consumers would like to enjoy extended return/exchange windows

Many brands have offered extended return windows at the start of the pandemic to accommodate enhanced restrictions in social distancing and delivery. However, consumers now want this policy to remain even when COVID-19 subsides because it makes their shopping experience stress-free. You might be worried that this would hurt your income, but please be rest assured that this is not the case. This can be explained by the concept known as the endowment effect. It states that people are attached to an object and more reluctant to give it up if they own it long enough. This means if you let people keep the items for a longer period of time, they probably won’t be willing to return the products.

6. Delivery speed should no longer be an issue

There were major delays in package delivery during the height of the pandemic, and customers were then understanding and accommodating of the situation. However, as the world eases its way out of the outbreak, consumers now expect online stores to match their delivery speed with the pre-pandemic standards. As the world economy and the logistics industry are recovering, they even want faster but more affordable delivery.

7. Order tracking no longer gives brands a competitive advantage

While real time tracking and updates used to give online businesses certain advantages over their competitors, this is no longer the case. Shoppers nowadays want to have full visibility on the journey of their packages from the fulfillment centres to their doorsteps. Many also claim that whether tracking is provided has some influence over their purchasing decision. Another reason why they demand tracking service is due to the preference of reduced and no contact delivery. More specifically, it allows them to know when their packages arrive and pick them up in front of the door or in the mailbox instead of receiving them from the delivery staff.

8. Increasing demands for online shopping of certain goods

As people are more comfortable with e-commerce shopping, there is a demand shift for the types of goods they would purchase online as opposed to in-store shopping. According to ShipEngine, these products include apparel and fashion (73% of consumers are more likely to purchase these virtually), home decorations (57%), and personal care (54%). Dropshippers who sell this need not only to forecast the demand and prepare their inventory but also to plan their strategies ahead to encounter the new entrants into the marketplace.

In short, this blog post emphasises two main points:

  • Shipping would continue to be a major purchasing decision driver in ecommerce

  • Consumer expectations would keep rising, and could even get higher than pre-COVID world

If you are looking for a reliable dropshipping agent who can help you scale your business, contact us today! With 30+ years of experience in logistics industry and 5+ years in dropshipping sector, Xianchao can help you handle most back-end matters and solve your pain points, ranging from product & supplier sourcing to ecommerce order fulfillment, or branded packaging & private labelling to quality inspection & product certification. Please feel free to reach out to us if you need to know any details about partnering with us.

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