The outbreak of COVID-19 across the globe has brought many changes on the periphery, be it with our living or working standards. Undoubtedly, this pandemic has affected all of us in very unusual ways. Social Distancing and staying at home seem to be new ways of continuing lives. Amidst all this, retailers across the globe have experienced massive blows to the bottom line of their business.
In a plethora of countries, governments have imposed lockdowns, and due to safety measures, the shutting of shops and retail stores become the necessary action to take. As a consequence of which, buyers have shifted their ways to online shopping.
Introspecting closely to consumers’ buying behavior, Bazaarvoice comes out with a multitude of observations about their online shopping behavior. Digging deeply or analyzing varied patterns and changes in behavior, from the increase and decrease in product page views, several orders placed, questions, and answers on the page, Bazaarvoice performed a comparative study on 20 product categories, comparing their sale in 2019 with earlier months of 2020.
Online shopping in the earlier phase of Lockdown, in March 2020
In the earlier phase of Lockdown, according to the report of Bazaarvoice Network, people started inclining towards online shopping as the physical stores were closing down. Also, people were not allowed to step outside of their houses. While staying at home, they started purchasing the items of their need through an online medium.
There is a 21% increase in online orders in March 2020 than in 2019, which shows that we should change our regular shopping habits and go for online mode. There was another observation made that is a 25% increase in page views as compared to 2019. This is because now people have enormous time at home and they are searching for brands because of limited product availability.
The abrupt increase in page views helped to determine which product customers are browsing and which products they are purchasing. Food, beverages, tobacco, toys, and sporting goods categories were in the list of most required commodities in this lockdown. On the other hand, luggage and bags witnessed a steep decline in browsing and buying behavior because of social distancing and cessation of tours and travels.
How Online Shopping Differed In April 2020?
If we closely examine the customer’s buying habit in April 2020, then it can be seen that there is a tremendous hike in the statistics for people going online. Page views and order counts have increased drastically, 75% and 95% respectively. Number of reviews that shoppers leave has also increased if we compare it with data of the last year.
As the data depicts, that review count is increasing at a sharp rate of 32% year-over-year. Suggestions and feedback were also pouring incessantly on products of utmost necessity. Questions and answers on a product page are also rising. Whenever a shopper is in a reflective mood and wants to inquire about a product, he or she leaves a query. Then, after going through the questions, brands answered their questions and helped them in every possible way.
Focusing on improving the customers’ overall experience, brands went through the customers’ reviews in detail.
In April, toys, games, arts, entertainment, animals and pet supplies, and sporting goods attracted a large number of page views. Consequently, they pushed food, beverage, and tobacco away from the top category.
With time, the behavior changes were noticed among people as they started choosing the necessary products.
What shoppers prioritize the most?
Due to COVID-19, the priorities of consumers are rapidly changing. Before pandemic, while purchasing, people were more focused on quality (48%), price (47%) and brand (24%). But now, the focus has shifted to availability (49%), price (36%), and quality(34%)
Half of the respondents, around 58%, told they experienced the product shortage in the stores and that’s why they have chosen virtual portals to shop. Only 30% of them can get everything easily, and 44% said they are getting it, but not so easily.
The preferences of consumers are changing abruptly, and they have switched to online mode, which is going to bring a unique transformation in the eCommerce industry. Brands would concentrate more on making their presence strong online, update their product description, improve delivery times, giving inputs to reviews and ratings.
Now, when COVID-19 is about to get over, the question arises: will these customers continue shopping online or return to retail stores?
Brands that are going to strengthen their online presence will surely succeed in these pandemic times.
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