The experience of shopping for clothes, accessories, furniture, or even essential products has seen a big paradigm shift since the era of e-commerce began.
Online sales have soared post the pandemic. There are multiple reasons for it which we will look into, below. Before that, let us address the transition from warm attraction towards online shopping to its scorching need.
At the time of its birth, this almost seemed like a lost concept. A famous online marketplace had come into being nearly at the same time when other countries were being introduced to the internet. Some parts of the world were contemplating shedding their entire shopping experience by following the directions of almost non-existent companies - now major entities. However, once everyone had gotten used to the usages and advantages of the internet, people started warming up to the idea of online shopping. It grew at its own pace. It was a hobby, sometimes a convenience, but mostly the last resort. The world moved on to the time when one would only visit online stores if they are unable to find something in the brick-and-mortar ones. Many argue that this was due to a mistrust of the new vendors or the payment structure. Since the pandemic hit, people who had never tried or some who still ridiculed the idea of online shopping were now forced to do so. Before the pandemic, people had never relied on online shopping for essentials. However, now, most of the biggest grocery chains have managed to make their operations online. But, why? What happened? They were forced during the pandemic, why continue now? Let's take a look -
Convenience: The most common answer. However, in all fairness, the convenience part took over very quickly, as people had been introduced to online shopping by the time the pandemic hit. The reason it became convenient only after the pandemic was due to the forceful and increased use of the same. Since, people were forced to shift their entire shopping online, be it for furniture, apparel, essentials. or fruits and vegetables. Most of all the people in the world had to completely shift their shopping for at least a year. Since the shift to online stores, people not only had begun to get comfortable but also used to it. People saw the perks involved with online shopping and had begun to change their minds on the discomfort usually attached to adapting to something new. For eg., essentials were seldom bought from an online store due to its inability to determine the product's freshness, legitimacy, and delivery. People initially felt that they had better options while shopping in physical stores than virtual ones. Another qualm attached was the delivery time but vendors were able to overcome the same and achieve record delivery times to attain and maintain the freshness of the product, especially involving perishable products. Since virtual offices have been made possible, it is a very convenient affair to have your perishables, essentials, and non-essentials to be bought and left at your doorstep.
Options: Another advantage of having online stores was options. In today's time, when an individual is looking for a certain product or service, the first place they go is an online store. Since brands have adapted from being brick-and-mortar stores to virtual ones, they have moved a step ahead and provided people with a large selection of options that was impossible due to inventory limitations. If you can't find it online, it probably doesn't exist! Online stores have been victorious in procuring and selling things from around the world and making it easy for consumers to acquire just about anything. Brands have been very innovative and proactive in understanding their consumer's needs and honing the same in a limited span of time.
Local: It is true that major brands have been able to harness their capital and resources to make this paradigm shift possible. However, the industry has seen a shift due to the change in the mindset of many local brands and shopkeepers. This fact is not only applicable to products but also services. Initially, since people always depended upon their preferred brands and vendors, they were unaware of any other quality or brand, or even a different product. Due to the shift to online these days, people are more loyal towards quality and efficiency than the brand. People are prone to shift their loyalty instantly if a brand is incapable of living up to the service. Due to a shift in mindset for the local vendors to shift their business online and to adapt and accept the new ways of marketing online, people have started to become aware of these businesses. In today's world, any individual can search for a brand, a product, or a service from the click of a button with the support of popular search engines or social media. Since, initially, these local brands had to wait for some years to make a presence and invest in expensive marketing campaigns to be known, now they can open a virtual store to sell their products and services, with online marketing involving minimum investment. Due to so many platforms only dedicating their resources and technology to online marketing, it has become not only easy on the wallet but also on the operations.
Innovation: Due to increased demand and use of online stores post the pandemic, many brands have been able to innovate and provide better services to their customers. Due to a rise in sales post the pandemic, brands and businesses have been compelled to provide distinguished services along with competitive prices. These innovations have caused customers to not only shop for products and services online but also to use online applications to make their lives easier. Since the pandemic, there has been an increased use in purchasing services or access to services online. For eg.: people have preferred booking food online rather than going to restaurants, having steady and ongoing subscriptions to online streaming services rather than renting cassettes and CDs. it is argued that people prefer booking tickets to a show or a play or a movie or a stand-up comedy online. They prefer engaging virtual assistants to get your things picked up and dropped off, online. They prefer to book appointments for services online. Appointo, the online appointment booking application is a very useful tool to enable appointment booking with any service provider such as doctors, lawyers, salon experts. It lets your customers re-schedule, which can be done without human intervention. It also confirms your meetings and sends across reminders for a smooth sailing appointment management process!
Apart from those mentioned above, there are many other factors involved that have caused a paradigm shift in online sales since the pandemic. We would love to know your thoughts and input in the comments below!
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