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12/04/2021 Luke Goldsworthy

Our Year with Covid

We’ve now passed a year since we were first forced into lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The citizens of Brisbane were recently again shut inside. Coronavirus has affected so many aspects of life, bringing both tragedy and opportunity.

One of the most significant changes was accelerating the shift of our lives online, whether that be working from home, streaming entertainment, gaining education, shopping and more. 

For consumers, purchasing online became the default not the exception. According to research from Adobe, eCommerce in the US increased by US$183 billion during the first 12 months of Covid. That represents a 42% increase on 2019 figures. It is forecasting a further 20% growth this year, and for the total eCommerce expenditure in the US in 2022 to pass US$1 trillion for the first time. Other findings include:

  • Buy Now, Pay Later grew by 215% year-on-year
  • Branded shopping days lost significance
  • Shoppers embraced BOPIS (Buy online, pick up in store)
  • Online grocery shopping grew 230% and persisted into 2021

The Australian Bureau of Statistics also recorded a significant increase in online retailing during the pandemic, though this has stabilised in recent months. In its most recent report, the ABS found:

In through-the-year terms, the seasonally adjusted series rose 62.8% compared to January 2020. This is broadly consistent with levels seen throughout 2020 as online sales reached a new level following from April 2020. This coincides with the shift to online purchasing at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. Total online sales have averaged an annual rise of 65.5% from March 2020 to January 2021.

Retailers have responded to this surge, with some embracing digital for the first time while others have seen the benefits of focusing on what their customers really want from an online shopping experience.

Magento, the organisation behind the platform that we at The Playhouse Group utilise and develop, has named the seven best eCommerce lessons learnt from 2020:

  1. Page load times can make or break your sales – click here to read about this and other performance checks to optimise your business.
  2. Curbside and in-store pickup are here to stay – click here to read about the importance of multiple shipping options, as part of our post on best checkout practices.
  3. Mobile shopping trends continue to accelerate – click here to read about the power of mobile experiences during Covid.
  4. B2Bs that don’t sell online will be left behind – click here to learn about how our Rapid Deployment Packages can get you online quickly and affordably.
  5. Direct selling and drop shipping can fill the brick-and-mortar retail gap – click here to read about the importance of adding Direct to Customer capabilities.
  6. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) will power increasingly personalised experiences – click here to read about how AI is powering chatbots.
  7. Everyone wants flexible payments – click here to read about the importance of multiple payment options, as part of our post on best checkout practices.

This list is a good starting place for you to consider if your online store is optimised to take advantage of the shift in consumer behaviour that the coronavirus brought with it. If you would like to discuss this, or for any other eCommerce questions, please don’t hesitate to click the button below to set up an obligation-free consultation with one of the experts from The Playhouse Group.

With decades of experience and as a certified Magento partner, The Playhouse Group can help your business maximise its online sales capabilities. Get in touch with our team and we can talk to you about this or any other other eCommerce questions you may have.