Red AutoStore R5-robots working in warehouse.

Increased online shopping trend could have permanent effect

While an increasing part of physical shopping venues are temporarily closed in attempts to stop the coronavirus, more consumers are turning to online shopping to cater their needs.

Many people are afraid that the global economy is coming to a complete halt. Yet several e-commerce businesses are growing, as both new and experienced online shoppers are clicking all kinds of goods home. 

“These are difficult times and the total consequence of this crisis is not yet clear to us. However, what we can already see is that with more people staying home, online services are becoming an increasing part of people’s lives”, says Chief Sales Officer in Element Logic, Håvard Hallås.

The trend is definitely not new. During previous epidemics such as the SARS crisis in 2002 and 2003, the Chinese online platforms JD.com and Alibaba experienced growth. The same seems to be happening now as companies within delivery-services and e-commerce manage to keep open for business without letting the customers walk in, notes Forbes magazine. A research paper from Ipsos on how brands respond to the corona virus also shows an increase in online shopping. 

Portrait of Håvard Hallås, CSO in Element Logic in front of AutoStore grid.

Online market is maturing faster

Hallås foresees a change in how people spend their money, with a greater trust in online shopping going forward. 

“One of the reasons for the increased online shopping is obviously that there are fewer offline options available. Yet, another more interesting aspect of the trend is that new users, whom up until now might have opted out of the online shopping trend, are also giving online shopping a go. Not only are they positive in trying it, they are more or less forced to”.

He notes that online shopping has been a growing global trend for the past decade – and especially in Europe. Having experienced the convenient way of obtaining goods through online shopping, many of the unexperienced online shoppers will probably continue using online shopping platforms after the coronavirus epidemic has passed, he predicts.

In other words, e-commerce will most likely continue to grow, and even get boosted for the long run as well, due to the impact of the coronavirus. With more people testing out the convenience of online shopping, I believe more people will see this as an option also after the crisis is over, he says. Take for example home delivery of groceries: For those depending on public transport, this is much easier than manually carrying heavy loads home.” 

Regardless of what the future brings, meeting your customer’s needs should be your number one priority.   

“The main focus now is to get through this crisis. One important part of that is providing customers with the best possible service, despite the difficult circumstances. Quality and efficiency in your warehouse logistics is still the key for success”, Hallås ends. 

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