It has been well documented that the Coronavirus pandemic has already been hugely damaging to the retail sector. This applies particularly to retailers selling non-essential goods, like PERIDOT and many other retailers, who have been forced to close their retail stores and this seems certain to continue for a number of weeks, or quite possibly months.
As we become more accustomed to this new reality, will the Covid-19 experience change the way retailers plan ahead and people shop in the future, especially in regard to eCommerce?
While people may initially be apprehensive to spend money that’s considered to be non-essential, this has the potential to change somewhat in the coming weeks when people become more used to the routine of staying indoors, either unable to continue working or working from home and there is likely to be a greater need for non-essential items.
Shopping will undoubtedly become a heavily eCommerce activity during the quarantine period with retailers who do not currently trade on the internet considering if this has been the right decision and may consider to change moving forward.
As Covid-19 will definitely speed up the growth of online shopping once people get into the habit of doing so, say after three or four purchases, it may become more of a routine. This could well apply to high-risk groups like the elderly, many of whom would never have envisioned themselves undertaking online purchasing as recently as a few weeks back. In the U.K. for example, these individuals have been urged to self-isolate for 12 weeks, forcing this behavioural change at least short-term.
Additionally, it’s possible to see retailers themselves driving this change, regardless of consumer behaviour, with the precariousness of the physical store model devastatingly exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is no doubt the new Covid-19 virus has shaken up retail. Nevertheless, it can be argued that the increase in online shopping over the coming weeks will, at least to some extent, accelerate the growth of eCommerce activity beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
While PERIDOT has always considered the personal touch of a physical store to be our priority, we decided to create an eCommerce store late last year, which we have been working on since January.
While we have no intention of closing our retail stores, at least being online has lowered our exposure to something like Covid-19 ever occurring again in the future and in turn also giving you the customer a choice of how you wish to shop with us.