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Is now the perfect time for e-commerce?

Covid-19 is already one of the most defining events of 2020, and it will likely have implications on economics, business, and lifestyles that will last well into the decade. Things are changing rapidly – the streets are empty and shops are closing, and the many who are enjoying their one government sanctioned walk of the day are now being accompanied by the tumbleweed as a result of the palpable vacancy.

The Arcadia Group, which owns brands including Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge have even announced that they may permanently shut stores amid the crisis, as the pandemic takes its toll on high street retailers. It also goes without saying that consumer behaviour has changed too. With a lot of pressure being placed on the digital world right now, it seems that the only option for many retailers is to leverage modern day technology in order to stay afloat. That being said, the world of ecommerce is running into its own limitations trying to keep up with the dramatic spike in demand. Listrak has reported a 40% jump for ecommerce since the start of the global crisis, which was declared an emergency on March 12. On the other hand, average order value (AOV) is said to have decreased by 31%, possibly suggesting that shoppers are buying on impulse.


So, is this a good time for ecommerce? Even though it may seem like a booming moment for ecommerce given the fact that everybody is currently relying on the internet for some of their shopping needs, the crisis has also been described as the perfect storm for ecommerce. This is down to supply chain issues – most companies are able to deal with high levels of demand by employing predictive measures ahead of time. However, the volume recently sought by consumers was clearly off the scale for many ecommerce platforms, a surge in demand that they had never foreseen given the unpredictability of the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Further reports suggested that ecommerce sites doubled ad spend in less than a month, from £4.6 million for the week of Feb 17 to £9.3 million for the week of March 9, according to data from MediaRadar. GoodFirms also surveyed more than 100 of the top ecommerce experts in order to determine the most effective tactics for small-scale online retailers. The respondents placed their votes for the best strategies among four choices, which were content marketing, PPC ads, email marketing and social media marketing. Around 82% said PPC ads attract consistent traffic for ecommerce, with 76% voting for content marketing, and digital marketing coming in as the third most favoured strategy. Another 46% cited email marketing as being highly effective.

These strategies are mainly focused around the change in environment for many of us. We are at home, and companies are now racing to find the best ways of connecting with consumers during this time, with many grappling with the new issue of how to engage with their consumers under these circumstances. Consumers are now more likely to be spending even more time online, and with many working from home, ecommerce has become all the more viable as an avenue for catering to the shopping needs of many during lockdown.

Although it is probably too early to tell whether this is a good time for ecommerce given the mixed bag of results, it is definitely a defining moment for the industry and a testing one at that. Fulfillment systems, supply chains and order management systems are all being put under heavy strain, but that is not to say that this is negative. At Granby, we empathise with retailers and businesses everywhere that are feeling this kind of strain, and we want you to know that we are still here for you – it’s business as usual. Our order fulfilment systems, inventory management, and promotional marketing services are still fully functional during these unprecedented times, and we are dedicated to adapting to these changes whilst walking shoulder to shoulder with your business and providing you with the support you need. Contact us today for more information on our services.

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