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Covid-19 will accelerate the shift from shopping in stores to online – what should Brands be doing right now to prepare?

Author: Robin Phillips

Topic: Retail
Date: 27.04.20

Over recent years we have got used to shoppers behaving differently. People care about their local High Street and enjoy shopping in town. But they increasingly do their buying online. They compare prices, find stock easily and love the convenience of shopping on the train, in bed or when they are meant to be working. By the start of 2020, 20% of all retail shopping was online. Nine out of 10 shoppers used Amazon. Now Covid-19 is accelerating these changes in a devastating way.

My view is that some categories could see as much as 50% of shopping moving online by this Christmas. It’s not just the negative factors around going into a store: the two-metre rule, wearing masks and gloves and the genuine fear of catching this (or a mutated) virus. But it may also be that so many more customers have experienced how online shopping has enhanced their lives during lockdown, where groceries, DIY and entertainment have either been delivered by under-celebrated ‘white van’ drivers or streamed directly – why go back?. The consequences for Brands cannot be understated.

Every Brand needs to have an ecommerce service that is excellent – a great website and fulfilment experience for customers. Without direct access to their online customer, their business model is in jeopardy. Leaving themselves hostage to dominant etailers (no prizes for guessing which ones) is not a sustainable strategy. Every Brand needs to be excellent at ecommerce, right now. Perhaps one positive thing about the lockdown is that there is a little time and resource to respond and get ready for what’s to come. Your top priority for your Brand needs to be about providing a great ecommerce experience - it is urgent. Only those Brands that act on this now will thrive in the post Covid-19 online world.