The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 is compelling us into situations that we have never dreamed about. It is crippling economies all over the globe, making us stay at home all the time, wash our hands dozens of times, wear a mask whenever we go out, and make us wary of all strangers like never before.
The worst part is that this situation does not look like it would change for the foreseeable future. But amidst these obstacles and challenges, there is always hope to be found. But that hope can be beneficial to some, and it can also be destructive to others. One such example of this hope is the way e-commerce is booming and retail stores are facing the toughest time of their lives.
How is online shopping affecting retail stores?
With the rise in the number of coronavirus cases all over the world, people are fearful of stepping out of their homes. A few countries have imposed strict lockdowns in the month of March and are now stumbling to recover from it. This has raised the demand through the roof to shop online in UAE and other countries, which has resulted in retail stores closing due to online shopping.
If you really want to know how online shopping affects retail stores, then you simply have to go to your nearest local store (if you dare to go out of your home) and ask them how business is. Chances are that 9 out of 10 times, they will tell you that they are struggling to stay in business. But on the other hand, online stores sales have surged through the roof in the past few months.
Has the return of retail stores begun?
Never before were there such affects on online shopping and retail shopping in history. Although reopening of retail stores has begun in most parts of the world, there has still been a drastic impact on consumer behavior which is a result of the pandemic. As pointed out earlier, people are afraid to step out of their homes because they are fearful of getting sick and why would they ever want to step out of their homes if they can buy everything that they want literally at the touch of a button in the comfort of their home. As a result, retail stores are closing due to online shopping
What are the affects on online shopping due to the coronavirus pandemic?
Online shopping has surged globally throughout rural and urban areas. The statistics and studies conducted have pointed out that it has increased by almost 75% on average across countries. With developing countries like India and the entire South Asia continent taking the lead. This is quite expected since most of the countries in the west have already adapted to online shopping even before the pandemic. But this situation is now of necessity and not luxury.
Will the reopening of retail stores bring back business?
The sad part is that even though online sales have been surging nationwide, the future for retail stores seems grim. The return of retail stores after the lockdown has been lifted in most countries seems to have little to no effect on the business. Because of the scared mentality of the majority of the population, shoppers aren’t taking very well to shopping from their local stores.
This is going to have a very detrimental effect on the economy unless the retail shop owners adapt to this current situation. The only solution to this problem is to empower the local stores with e-commerce technology. If the local stores do not compete for business online, then it won’t be long before they go bankrupt and shut down their business.
How has the consumer behaviour changed?
It is not only that the consumer behavior has changed for local retail stores, but the fact is that the entire customer base has also changed drastically, that is if they undertake online local e-commerce because you know what they say, “if you can’t fight them, join them.” Besides, there is clearly no other option. With the help of e-commerce, local stores can be introduced to a whole new generation of customers from different areas of the city.
Before the pandemic, when local retail stores only served the customers who live within that locality, there was a limit as to the number of orders and customers that the local retail store was exposed to. But if they choose to sell their items online on an e-commerce website, there is so much more opportunity, so much more exposure, but that being said, there will also be a tremendous amount of competition.
The main thing that is on the customers’ minds and also on the minds of everyone in the world is financial concerns. This is one of the biggest things that is influencing customer behavior during this time. Studies show that the customers may choose to return to their normal shopping habit after a very long time, at different speeds according to their ability. It is difficult to see a previous normal for the foreseeable future. Income security is the most concerning thing that is weighing on people’s minds all the time during these past few months, and into the future.
The pandemic has certainly shaken every single business industry and brought them to their knees. But e-commerce seems to be one of the industries that are booming during this pandemic. At the same time, this has caused its counterpart and competition – the local retail stores, to lose business and customers like never before. The fact is that this situation does not seem like it would change anytime soon, either for better or for worse. The only option that we seem to have as consumers and business owners or professionals is to adapt to this situation and overcome it with strength and resilience without being fearful of the virus.