What We’re Reading: 5 Stories on How the Coronavirus is Impacting Ecommerce | 04.20.20 | Coronavirus Series


Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series that explores the impact the coronavirus crisis is having on the world of ecommerce. Explore daily insights surrounding the coronavirus crisis or check out these additional resources to help you navigate your marketing strategy during this time.

Wondering what’s happening in the broader world of ecommerce as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic? Here are a few recent stories that may provide you with some helpful insights as you adjust your marketing strategies. 


How retailers can reach consumers who aren’t spending

Source: Harvard Business Review

We’re living in unprecedented times: millions of people are under stay-at-home orders, unemployment is spiking, and consumer spending habits have shifted considerably. Retail sales in March were down 8.7 percent, and while many online merchants are seeing significant sales growth, there are still many consumers who simply aren’t spending due to uncertainty about their health, their job, and the economy overall. This article shares several ways retail marketers can connect with those consumers to help stem losses.  

“Knowledge of your customers has never been more valuable to your business. Marketers need to analyze data about their customers’ behaviors and buying habits on a daily basis to learn what is changing and what is not. What new unmet needs have emerged? What new pain points have surfaced? What new markets are emerging for your company?”

Read the full story


The tricky business of retail marketing in a pandemic

Source: Retail Dive

While millions of consumers are dealing with extremely heavy circumstances related to their health, their jobs, and future uncertainty, many brands are dealing with those same concerns while figuring out how to stay in business. 

It’s no longer business as usual, so it’s not the time marketing as usual, either. Marketers and business owners have to dig deep, understand their customers’ concerns, and re-examine the role they play in their lives in order to strike the right chord at such a tense time. 

“Right now, the biggest disaster is not that you’re going to miss volume in the second quarter. The true disaster​ is you strike a tone that seems out of touch with consumers’ reality. All the tools of retailing have been thrown out the window,” said Matt Sargent, principal at consumer insight consultancy Sargent Up North.

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How firms are redesigning product packaging so they fit through letterboxes

Source: Daily Mail

With millions of people around the world staying home and shopping online, brands are getting creative when it comes to redesigning their product packaging to help reduce contact that often happens during the delivery process. 

Take a look at how Garçon Wines created the first eco-friendly flat wine bottle that can fit through most UK letterboxes, and see how other brands have redesigned their packaging to ship products like food, flowers, and laundry detergent in similar ways. 

“Online retailers have developed crafty ways of delivering their products through your front door. The coronavirus pandemic has seen an increase in home delivery orders with one-in-five families now ordering their shopping online according to market research company Nielsen. With the Government advising as little human contact as possible some firms have adapted their packaging so that products like flowers and bottles of wine fit through letterboxes.” 

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The coronavirus pandemic will likely leave a lasting legacy on retail: Fewer department stores

Source: CNBC

Consumer shopping habits have been evolving for years. Thanks to advancements in technology and the rise of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, people have more options than ever to discover new products and get them quickly—all without having to go to a physical store. 

Because of these trends, large retailers have been grappling with disappointing sales for years and searching for ways to reinvent themselves and stay relevant to consumers who’s shopping preferences have changed. 

Never has that problem been more acute than during the coronavirus crisis, which has all but halted in-store shopping across the country in recent weeks with no firm end date in sight.

“Prior to COVID-19 hitting the U.S., department stores were in trouble because they had failed to keep up with shoppers’ changing tastes. These retailers had been investing in ways to win back customers. But now their stores are closed to halt the spread of the virus. And no one knows exactly how long this will be the case. 

The situation is dire. Department stores need funds — and fast — to make it through the closures. But once shops reopen, even more cash will be needed to invest back into their businesses and win sales. As each retailer works toward a solution, it is likely that not all of their plans are worth funding. Capital is flowing, but only into the businesses that banks view as worth saving.”

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People are mass-purchasing plants during quarantine

Source: New York Post

As people continue to stay home during the coronavirus crisis, we’ve seen them shift their spending from essentials to essentials and non-essentials in recent weeks. One category that’s seeing a spike? Home and garden plants. 

“Since mid-March, we’ve seen a tremendous spike in online sales, especially for blooming plants. We can hardly keep up with fulfillment. People need something to tend to, to nurture, to pull away from the computer,” said Eliza Blank, founder of The Sill

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How has the coronavirus impacted your business? Share your insights by taking this daily poll. You’ll get a daily digest of fresh data and insights to help you stay up-to-date with what’s happening across the broader ecommerce community. Use them as you make decisions for your business.

Looking for more information to help you adjust your marketing amid the coronavirus crisis? Explore these resources.

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