More Online, Less In-Store: The COVID-19 eCommerce boom will dictate the new normal

Life as we knew it has changed. Stay-at-home orders have been issued from governments around the world for a long time now, and people’s lifestyles have shifted from what they used to be.

The daily routines everyone was so familiar with have virtually disappeared due to COVID-19 and the social distancing protocols that have taken place since the start of the pandemic. Due to this, people all around the globe have identified new needs and habits in their current way of living that come to light due to working from home, economic loss, boredom caused by isolation, and new worries. 

This pandemic is, without a doubt, the defining event of 2020, and its implications on consumer behavior will be present in our society for years to come. From bulk buying to online shopping, people all around the world are changing what they’re buying, when they’re buying it and how they’re looking for and obtaining it.

What are the trends?

The pandemic has caused a clear spike on online shopping tendencies. Insights by Google Trends confirm this, showing an increase in the search “buy online” during the last couple of months in Canada alone. We can identify similar behavior in Contentsquare’s weekly behavioral data comparisons. The total global e-transactions had an increment of 40% this week compared to those registered the week before de COVID-19 outbreak, online traffic was up by 29% and the average conversion rates also increased nearly 10% during this week alone.

Due to necessity, security and prevention, customers opt to partake in online shopping rather than going to physical locations to buy their products. Understandably so, business owners have become aware of the urgency to transfer their practices to an online mechanic in order to keep them running.

What does this mean for businesses? Well, first of all, they must make sure their customers are able to reach them through online means. Getting their products and services to the online world is essential, and most businesses that had an opportunity to do so most likely have by now, but how can businesses make sure they are staying relevant to consumers? And, more importantly, how they can fulfill consumer needs in such unclear times?

Adapting to the unpredictable

Interests are coming in bursts. Consumer behavior online has spiked due to the fact that most consumers are stuck at home and have no choice but to look for something new to do or buy to better their limited circumstances. With this, their interests have evolved, and the trends we saw in earlier years are no longer relevant to do sustancial predictions of their behavior. 

The predictability is not dependent on past trends anymore and it is instead linked to recurrent spikes as consumers adapt to their lives stuck at home. Habits and hobbies are all over the place, in constant evolution, as users try their best to fill their time with things to do. 

Businesses should then steer away from past trends and focus on predicting future consumer necessities that can appear in the following months. Industries that focus on home renovation, day-to-day hobbies, fitness and other home-adaptable experiences, for example, should be on the lookout for increments in their specific consumer trends, if they’re not already impulsing these trends themselves. 

Instead of trying to bring normality back, strategists should look into the possible gaps their products and services may fulfill in the short-term predictions current trends can ensure, and pivot their products to mitigate these needs. The future right now might be unpredictable, but it doesn’t need to be completely unexpected if marketers look into current insights, such as Google Trends, deeply.

  An eCommerce future

Sticking to the mentality that we want normality to come back will lead businesses nowhere. Instead, mapping their current reality and identifying future trends and necessities is a challenging but helpful way businesses can stay relevant in current times. 

There is an undoubted outcome that rises from all of this: eCommerce is here to stay, even after the pandemic is over. It was relevant before the contingency, yes, but online marketing tools and strategies are what businesses depend on to survive right now. Plus, let’s not forget that COVID-19 is not going to disappear from day to another. 

The World Health Organization predicted, back when the H1N1 Influenza pandemic happened, that the virus would be globally present whether the world was in a pandemic situation or not, and people were going to maintain their prevention habits relevant in their daily lives. Now, with a graver and longer-lasting stay-at-home circumstances, it is a no brainer that consumers will have gotten used to current shopping habits enough to keep them relevant in the long-run. Sure, everyone is eager to get out and go “back to normal”, but we’ve seen that it won’t be possible. 

Businesses should create a new normal instead, getting a proper footing from the following recommendations:

  • Revisit and update your business’ value proposition to meet new consumer needs.
  • Analyze these needs closely and pivot your products filling those gaps.
  • Be flexible and upgrade your online business experience to take advantage of behavioral bursts.
  • Optimize your operations so you’re prepared for future trends and needs.

With online retail revenues expected to grow to 6.54 trillion USD by 2022 from 3.53 trillion USD just last year, it’s surely not too late to amp up your business’ online marketing strategies. Tools like Google Trends, Amazon Shopping, SEO and website development are a great way to keep track of consumer behavior and be on constant lookout for relevant consumer behavior spikes, so why not let the experts aid you in the right direction? 

Mrkt360 has state-of-the-art strategies that will aid your businesses in times of need, and help you keep up with the online business momentum post-pandemic. Adaptability equals survival, and the ultimate time to accept change has come. Mrkt360 has the experts that can guide you through every step of the way to make the best out of online marketing tools. Let’s get in touch!


Regina is currently a Communications and Digital Media student at the Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey. From online design and communication strategies to film production, she’s passionate about producing creative content and learning new digital media skills.