Retail and eCommerce in the age of the pandemic

One could have easily assumed that the onset of a pandemic could mean that consumers would expect lower qualities of service and convenience but in fact the opposite has held true. In fact, consumers now demand more convenience than ever. This has driven retailers to make huge shifts
in their business operations to tackle the changes in consumer behaviour fuelled by pandemic and technology giants such as Amazon, continually pushing the boundaries of how retailers can be reinvented.

The ease of creating websites and online stores has meant that even the newest of brands can become direct-to-consumer retailers now. The move to online has been particularly beneficial for high growth start-ups who invest heavily in their direct-to-consumer channels such as Graze, Grenade and Hello Fresh. These brands can cultivate communities of supporters with whom they can communicate their brand’s personality and values more effectively, than simply through ePac images on department store or
supermarket websites.

Differentiation across all touchpoints of the customer journey is key to standing out against what is a crowded retail market. Quirky, unique,
and memorable marketing campaigns are one way to achieve this. Weetabix recently used social media posts with pictures of baked
beans on Weetabix (as an alternative to beans on toast) to great virality, even the police tweeted that it was a crime they couldn’t enforce.

The proportion of customers using social shopping and innovations such as Facebook marketplace has increased by 81% since the beginning of 2020. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have also become hubs for eCommerce and social media’s fluid integration into all aspects of our lives seems to be
leading to an expectation of instant gratification in terms of product fulfillment. Directly linked to UK consumer demand for the gap between purchase and receival of goods to be minimised; 37% of Brits have said that
they would look elsewhere if delivery of a product took longer to deliver than 2 days. On top of that, 30% state that they buy from the brands that deliver to them fastest; so there exists a real race to instant delivery.

Perhaps the real question here is , “How much of this is a feature of our lockdown society; and how much does this reflect a real shift in
consumer expectation and long term behavioral change…”

In this insight report, we explore what factors are influencing the retail & eCommerce space in this current climate.


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