Impact of Coronavirus Vaccines on the E-commerce Industry in India! (Post-Pandemic Trends for 2021)

In March 2020, the Indian government declared the national lockdown with strict guidelines, exercising social distancing. As the pandemic reshapes our lives, people are finding comfort in online shopping more than ever. The e-commerce sector per se became the largest beneficiary of the coronavirus outbreak. 

However, now that the COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out, will there be a threat to e-commerce? The first question replays in our mind – what is going to happen to the online sector? Are people willing to adopt the new normal trends forever or will they switch over to traditional buying patterns? 

To discover the result of vaccines on e-commerce and online shopping, let’s first have a look at the e-commerce trends amid the pandemic in 2020! 

5 e-commerce trends accelerated by the pandemic | #2020Recap

1. Share of online shopping increased 

The most definite trend of 2020 we can’t ignore is the rapid increase in online sales. From clothing to electronics to groceries, the dependence on online surged during the pandemic. Further, with an increase in the number of mobile users, tier-2 city users seemed to become more confident and aware of online shopping.

2. Brands highlighted health & hygiene in their marketing campaigns 

Hygiene was the biggest concern in unprecedented times. Many brands made the most out of the situation while rolling out aggressive marketing campaigns highlighting their packaging and shipping to be 100% safe. To list out one, let’s not forget how food aggregator brands claimed to check the temperature of their delivery agents before picking up the orders.

3. Upsurge in the contactless payment options

One thing the pandemic has completely changed is people’s reliance on contactless payment options. Even the online businesses supported the option of digital wallets over COD to make the process completely contactless. Online payment options emerged mainly because it ensures complete safety.

4. Rise in the demand of e-gift cards amid festive season

A gift card is another trend the pandemic has given rise to. Be it a gift card for a clothing store, or an online ticket for a nearby salon or dance studio, people were seen giving e-gift cards to their relatives especially around Diwali season. Given the fact that the gift card option is highly versatile, both brands and customers supported the idea.

5. Increase in the trend of mobile commerce

To let people enjoy the perks of quick shopping, brands looked for ways to integrate WhatsApp & social commerce as another online sub-channel. Due to a tremendous increase in online shopping, Instagram also came up with a new option to sell. It expanded its shopping services across IGTV.  

It’s reasonable to expect the long-lasting effects on e-commerce and digitalization – given the fact that people are habitual of the comfort online has to offer.

What will happen to the E-commerce Industry after the Pandemic ends? (Major trends to come up in 2020)

For now, the market drift is clear about the practice of social distancing even though the vaccines have rolled out around the nation. But many online businesses are afraid that their growth might slow down in the next few months. What is exactly going to happen?  

  • If you have an online store or you have just established your own online business, you don’t need to be afraid as e-commerce will eventually boost. Seeing there’s a lot of scope for growth in India, especially after people have become habitual using online channels, your online investment won’t get wasted. 
  • Amid the hard times, people were forced to discover and shop online to avoid the transmission of Coronavirus. Now that they have finally found their comfortability in online shopping, there’s a very small possibility of them switching over to the traditional channels. Not to mention, online shoppers enjoy the convenience – price benefit, selection benefit, payment benefit that e-commerce offers.

Digital marketers will need to buck up and come up with aggressive and unconventional marketing strategies!

Online businesses and marketers will keep practicing a few strategies to boost digitalization. Keeping that in mind, we have curated a list of four trends expected to resurge after the end of the COVID-19! 

1. Upsurge in the Omni-channel Marketing

Consumer data collection and omni-channel marketing tactics are becoming increasingly popular. The more brands are realizing the significance of the data, the easier it has become to retain loyal customers. For instance, a fashion brand has both a brick and mortar store and an online store. Now a person frequents their offline store for office wear clothing. With this knowledge and the collection of customer data, they can send marketing adverts for formal wear to boost online sales. 

2. Emergence of multiple e-commerce platforms 

The only conventional e-commerce platforms we are aware of include; marketplaces and brandstores. But in the coming months, the nature of e-commerce per se will evolve, giving rise to various other unconventional models. The display of offerings on social media channels is one of the examples. Showcasing products and generating orders via live video options on channels such as Instagram and Snapchat could also be considered on a broader scale.

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3. Creating in-store experiences

Augmented reality and virtual reality are definitely going to be the center of attraction in the upcoming months. To compete with offline shopping, concepts such as virtual trial rooms are going to increase. Moreover, the retailers will come up with more creative ideas to fill in the gap between online and offline. 

4. Headless Commerce will become mainstream 

To enrich the customer experience, the idea behind headless commerce will evolve in the next 4-5 months. The unconventional architecture will give more liberty to the brands to build and integrate various channels altogether. Largely, the whole retail will be operated in a more organized way irrespective of what channel is being used. 

5. Intelligent forecasting

As the new and intelligent way of forecasting has developed over time, businesses will continue to keep analyzing the behavior with these unconventional methods. For instance, instead of checking the inventory levels manually, warehouses have deployed software to check the inventory level and forecast the future demand. Same way intelligent forecasting is going to upsurge. 

While businesses are trying to forecast the changes the vaccines will bring in, one thing is for sure the e-commerce industry is not going to end at all. But one thing you must do is to revisit your business plan and buck up with the changing market scenario. Strengthen your e-commerce marketing strategies to persuade and retain customers!

How COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted Marketing Efforts

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us face-to-face with unprecedented times, where businesses struggle to keep the damage to the minimum. Since most countries have been under lockdown for the last few months, the impact of the restrictions on daily activities can be seen on almost all businesses and markets.

While the crisis has changed the business landscape, all is not lost. With these disruptions come opportunities for growth and overcoming challenges. With the right mindset and resources, you can navigate your way through these times in order to identify your customers’ needs, wants and expectations.

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Should I continue my marketing efforts?

In times like these, the most impacted business is that of non essentials such as apparels, tech, beauty, etc. The greatest challenge is foreseeing how customer wants, needs, expectations and purchasing decisions will evolve. 

Keeping this in mind, businesses often have the question whether or not they should continue with their marketing methods at all. This question is only obvious since they want to optimize their costs of running the business to sustain during this period. And while making the cuts in the costs, the first thing to be sacrificed is more often than not, the marketing efforts. The thought process behind this is simple – If the buying capacity of the consumer has decreased then why burn money on advertising the goods?

Well, that approach here isn’t right. 

Abruptly stopping all your marketing efforts will cut off your relations and conversations with your customers. The longer the pandemic goes on, the more out of touch you will be with your brand followers. This will lead them to forget about your brand amidst all the engaging content provided by other brands. 

When things finally do get back on track, you will have to start from scratch.

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So How Did The Pandemic Affect Brands?

As soon as the lockdown came into effect, offline stores were shut and deliveries from online stores had also come to a halt. This ultimately led to brands stopping most, if not all, of their marketing efforts since they could not deliver the products. Although this did affect sales, this also meant that the competition had lowered. Certain brands saw this as an opportunity and decided to run some of their marketing messages, just to ensure that they did not lose touch with their customers.

One more key takeaway from this sudden shift was that traffic clicks were cheaper since there wasn’t much competition in the market. Hence, for those who were continuing their advertising campaigns, this time couldn’t have been more fruitful.

Who Was At Advantage?

The lockdown had a huge impact on all traditional methods of sales and marketing but there were also certain businesses that benefited from it.

  • Brands that were delivering even during the lockdown period had an advantage by default since people had the ideology that it’s better to have products of any brand rather than not have any products at all.
  • Due to the social distancing mandate, people preferred buying online rather than going to offline stores, even if they were open for business. Thus the offline rush had found its way online. This played to the advantage of those who had established an online presence.
  • Another observation was that brands which had a prominent offline presence ultimately also had a prominent advantage online. This is due to the fact that customers trust a brand that they had been using, so that even while buying online, they do not have to worry about the product quality.
  • Brands which continued their marketing could leverage the customers of their competitors who weren’t aggressively marketing and promoting their products.

What were the downsides?

Although there were certain advantages, there were also some downsides that were seen by businesses and brands. One of the biggest adverse effects was seen in servicing after purchase since personnel movement was restricted. Not only that but deliveries also took a hit due to the limited movement of vehicles throughout the country which resulted in products being delivered within 2 weeks’ period or so instead of the previous 3-4 days period.

How do I sustain my brand in these times?

An article covered by The Economic Times outlines the concept of revenge shopping, taking the example of a luxury brand and how it recorded the biggest single-day shopping in China. Revenge shopping is the overindulgence in retail therapy by people who missed shopping during the lockdown period.

In India this trend might be witnessed in the upper middle class who have sustained their incomes and standard of living during the lockdown. Another way to recover the lost sales during the lockdown is carrying out promotional activities and sales or discount offers, which will attract customers loyal to your brand and also potential customers since everyone is looking for economical goods these days.

To summarize, the pandemic isn’t over yet. There might be a few more blind turns ahead but brands have already started planning for contingencies. Although this new economic climate has added challenges for brands, it has also opened up new avenues for growth.

If you are looking for performance marketing partner to grow your business in these uncertain times, please drop your query at que@anscommerce.com