The 2020 global lockdown due to the pandemic was a turning point for everyone. It significantly impacted everything from social interactions to communication and shopping habits.
Before the pandemic, people shopped in malls and physical stores. Unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions severely limited people’s ability to go out and carry out tasks as they normally would before the global health crisis. As a result, most consumers and shoppers turned to online shopping or ecommerce to buy essential goods, including household items, medical supplies, groceries, etc.
As people spent more time indoors during the pandemic, eCommerce gained traction immensely. With business owners and entrepreneurs trying to stay afloat amid the unfortunate event, many of them decided to incorporate digital services by transitioning to eCommerce, which led to the increase of online businesses.
What was once an option has become the norm, with eCommerce continuing to grow even as the world slowly transitions back to normality. But while online shopping was on the fast track to success, most brick-and-mortar stores would feel the effects of the “new normal.” Learn how the rise of digital business platforms affected brick-and-mortar establishments.
The Difference Between a Brick-and-Mortar vs. eCommerce Business
Brick-and-mortar and eCommerce businesses are different business models with unique characteristics, features, and advantages and disadvantages.
A brick-and-mortar business is a physical retail store where customers can visit and purchase products or services directly from the company. This type of business typically requires a physical location, and customers must be at the site to make a purchase.
On the other hand, eCommerce businesses sell their products and services online, typically through a website or mobile app. Customers can make purchases from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection.
eCommerce businesses typically have lower overhead costs than brick-and-mortar businesses, as they do not need to maintain a physical location. However, they may face challenges in building customer trust and providing a personal shopping experience.
In summary, the main differences between brick-and-mortar and eCommerce businesses are their location and method of selling their products and services. While brick-and-mortar businesses offer customers a physical shopping experience, eCommerce businesses allow customers to shop anywhere, anytime.
How the Increased Preference for Online Shopping Affected Physical Stores
The rise of eCommerce has affected brick-and-mortar establishments in at least two ways. First, there is an overall decrease in foot traffic to retail stores, which translates into lower sales. Second, consumers are increasingly shopping online instead of visiting physical locations, especially for items that may not be available at local stores.
This shift in consumer behavior results from several factors, including the time it takes to travel to and from physical stores and the fear that one could catch the virus while shopping at a store or mall.
Consumers also prefer online shopping because they can avoid crowds and find what they need without having to visit multiple locations or browse through racks and shelves of products they have no intention of buying.
Online retailers also introduced innovations to cater to these changes in consumer behavior. For instance, many have set up pop-up shops in high-traffic areas so customers can pick up their purchases before heading home from work or getting on public transport.
These pop-up shops offer consumers the convenience of not having to leave their homes or offices during lunch breaks—a luxury not everyone can afford when faced with long lines at traditional brick-and-mortar establishments like grocery stores or pharmacies.
How eCommerce Reshaped Shopping
Again, eCommerce stores have greatly influenced how physical establishments operate nowadays. Digital store platforms also led to welcome changes in shopping. Here are some crucial ways eCommerce reshaped how consumers shop.
Use of contactless payment
Contactless payment is a way to pay for goods and services with a smartphone or other device that can use near-field communication (NFC). The most common type of contactless payment uses radio waves to transfer information between the card and the terminal.
Contactless payments are convenient because they require no physical contact between the card and the terminal, so you can pay without taking out your wallet or purse. They’re also secure because they rely on encryption technology to prevent fraudsters from stealing data or making fraudulent transactions.
Since contactless payments are quick and easy to use, they’re becoming increasingly popular among shoppers. When customers want more choices, they can shop elsewhere if their preferred retailer doesn’t provide the payment option they want. Unfortunately, this can be detrimental to physical stores that don’t offer this option.
Value-based purchasing is when consumers purchase products based on perceived value instead of price tags. Nowadays, consumers want to buy products that they feel will give them more than just the product but also something that could add value to their lives.
This mindset has reshaped how consumers shop for products, especially when it comes to apparel and household goods. Nowadays, consumers spend more time researching products online before making a purchase decision. As such, they can find items that meet their needs at an affordable price while providing them with more value to sweeten the deal even more.
Customer reviews as a deciding factor for shoppers
eCommerce has changed the way people shop in many ways, but one of the biggest is that it made consumers more aware of reviews.
Before the rise of eCommerce, shoppers based their purchases on how a particular item looked in-store. Nowadays, most retail sites allow customers to leave feedback about their experiences with the products or services they availed of.
This approach has helped make shopping much more efficient for consumers. Instead of being clueless about a product’s quality or functionalities, they can now read through someone else’s experience online before buying.
The New Normal Belongs to eCommerce
The rise of eCommerce has brought many innovations to consumers. From new payment modes to marketing approaches that offer valuable shopping experiences, eCommerce encourages businesses to think creatively and cater to modern-day customers.
While not all brick-and-mortar establishments may adopt everything eCommerce provides, they can take things up a notch through their marketing tactics. After all, who would want to be behind in the new normal of eCommerce?