This year has brought on a ton of big changes for all of us. From having to give up weekly brunch with friends to the cancellation of virtually every major event in the world, the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has made it harder to do the things we love most.
The good news is that eCommerce and retail shopping are still as popular as ever. However, there are multiple different ways customers are now purchasing goods and services that most of us wouldn’t have considered beforehand. Check out these five pandemic buying habits that are here to stay as we move into 2021.
1. Popularity of Online Shopping
In a time where most people are afraid to leave their homes, there’s no doubt that the popularity of online shopping is rising. More than ever, consumers are looking to the internet when it comes to spending money.
Why? After lockdown orders in many cities across the United States made it completely impossible to make it to local malls and retail centers, most people turned to the power of the internet to find goods.
Now, they’re loving the convenience and safety of shopping online. In fact, data shows that 52% of buyers are now making more purchases from eCommerce store retailers. And most state that they do not feel comfortable shopping in person, even for essential items like groceries and beauty products.
As we move towards the end of the year and another possible resurgence of the Coronavirus, it is safe to stay that the popularity of online shopping is here to stay.
2. Local Delivery
Another pandemic buying trend that is here to stay is local delivery. While this one started out as a way to get meals delivered from local restaurants, major delivery programs like Postmates and Doordash have seen the benefit in this type of shopping.
Thus, many of them have now paired with local stores and national retail chains to provide local delivery to homes across certain regional areas. For a small fee, they’ll bring you anything from a new pair of shoes to a box of tissues, with some services promising delivery within two hours.
As a small business, you can capitalize on the same trend by offering delivery for online orders within your local area. Not only does this allow your buyers to get their order immediately, but the cost of maintaining a driver is also usually less expensive than shipping and improves the overall customer experience.
3. Curbside Pickup
Like delivery, curbside pickup has certainly gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Where retail boutiques used to require customers to come inside to make purchases, many now offer the ability to shop via social media, eCommerce website, or over the phone. Plus, they have the option to have their purchases brought out to their vehicles.
If you own a brick-and-mortar boutique with an online presence, this is a great way to help keep your local customers happy while still ensuring your staff’s safety. In addition, this is often a much more convenient method for shoppers to get their items quickly without having to wait on orders coming through the mail.
And don’t feel like you have to have a huge online presence to make curbside pickup work. Simply posting items on your Facebook or Instagram account and allowing local customers to utilize this service is usually enough.
4. Small Business Support
One of the best pandemic buying trends to come out of this year is small business support. Most consumers realize the negative effect lockdowns and the overall pandemic have had on local businesses. That’s why more people are opting for small retailers instead of the big chains.
As an eCommerce brand, make sure to capitalize on this as best as you can. Mention in your marketing and on social media that you are locally owned or independent, which can help shoppers decide to use you over a large corporation.
5. Virtual Experiences
Finally, one of the newest experiences to gain popularity thanks to the pandemic is the virtual experience. Small businesses are learning to pivot during this challenging time, with many offering new experiences that they wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
For example, some gourmet restaurants are now offering personalized cooking classes via Zoom for a small fee. And those who offer beauty products are now doing one-on-one video chat consultations to help customers look their best.
If you own a small business, consider making these types of virtual experiences part of your service offering for an added boost in sales and average order value (AOV).
We Can Help with eCommerce Consulting Services
Are you still trying to figure out how to incorporate these pandemic shopping trends into your business strategy? Our team of eCommerce store consultants at CAKE are here to help. We can assist with all types of retail marketing services and strategies to help your business succeed during this trying time. Please get in touch with us today to learn more.