COVID-19 has defined 2020 for businesses and consumers alike. The impact of this pandemic will be felt for decades to come. People have changed their habits permanently because of the pandemic.
At first, not being able to gather with friends and family in large groups seemed odd. Not being able to go out to a restaurant, movie theatre, or gym seemed like a major disruption. However, as humans are often prone to do, people adapted.
People adapted from going to work in an office every day to finding a corner in their home and building their own home office. Businesses that had no desire to create a web presence started to learn about web hosting, web design, and eCommerce.
Basically, society is coming to terms with the concept that, be it temporary or long-term, much of the personal interaction people were accustomed to has been severed. In recent months, it has felt as if events that were considered unprecedented are now becoming normal.
One major shift that has been seen is the shift to purchasing products and services online. eCommerce giants like Amazon have seen massive increases in profits during the pandemic. Restaurants, lawyers, doctors, and a whole host of other businesses that previously required face-to-face interaction have since shifted to offering their services online. For the most part, people are responding to this change positively.
The pandemic has its own challenges when it comes to the business sphere, but some people saw the opportunity to start their own businesses during crisis. Canada is a great example of that. Even though many companies already acknowledged the need for digital transformation, the COVID-19 situation helped everyone see how necessary it actually is.
That means your online business should be hosted on a reputable and highly secured web hosting platform, you need to make use of cloud-based business tools to help you organize your workload and operate without interruptions, you need to work on a cybersecurity strategy, you need to work on your social media presence, and online presence overall, attract and retain customers, and so on.
To get a better sense of the importance of web hosting security, we spoke with Gary Stevens, an Ottawa-based IT consultant at HostingCanada.org, who said: “It’s a lot of work, but it’s far from impossible, especially since people are putting more and more trust in online businesses thanks to COVID-19 situation.”
Let’s look at four reasons online businesses gained their popularity amid COVID-19.
1. Safety is of paramount concern to people
As it becomes even more clear how infectious COVID-19 is, people are prioritizing safety above all else.
At first, there was concern about the safety of having packages delivered to one’s home. There were concerns that the virus could live on surfaces for days, depending on the material. However, recent findings make it seem like after a package has been handled, shipped, and forced through several harsh environments, the chances of the virus surviving are slim to none.
As a result, ordering online is now seen as one of the safest ways to get products and services. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more businesses have shifted the bulk of their services online. This means that a person can order just about anything they want and have it delivered to their home within a matter of days. The Statista’s report shows that restaurant deliveries/ takeaways were among the most popular product categories purchased online in the US.
People like the safety aspect of online delivery. Even if they are concerned about the safety of the package they receive, customers know that they can quarantine the package for a day or two just to make sure that it is safe.
2. The convenience factor
Convenience is at the heart of eCommerce. It is another reason why people have migrated toward it during the pandemic. It’s the same factor that helped people embrace online learning platforms as well as the convenience of remote learning courses, especially if they are digital space related such as graphics/web design. That kind of convenience helped people embrace eCommerce stores more than ever, because they like being able to purchase what they want and use a payment and delivery method of choice.
Proof that convenience is a factor can be seen when you look at how customers interact with different eCommerce solutions. Over 90 percent of customers abandon purchases because the service was not convenient. Customers prefer convenience to price.
Even with the pandemic, people feel busier now than they did before. Working from home means that they are simultaneously juggling two worlds. It can feel overwhelming. Therefore, most customers want the convenience that comes from making a few simple clicks and then having the products and services that they need delivered to their home.
Convenience is important across the board. But it seems that convenience has been a major influencer when it comes to purchasing products regularly. These include groceries and personal care items. If people can put in an order for their groceries and have that order renew itself automatically, it takes away stress. Not needing to go out and wait in line is attractive for customers during this time.
The pandemic and subsequent lockdown mean that people are concerned about the economy. Many people have lost their jobs. They are struggling to make ends meet. They appreciate the value of a dollar.
During this time of financial stress, buying online has allowed people to search for the best prices. There are thousands of online retailers, so competition is stiff. And as the saying goes, competition is good for customers. Many surveys showed that COVID-19 has forever changed online shopping.
eCommerce stores typically have less overhead. They can do more with less and pass those savings on to customers. eCommerce gives buyers the ability to compare multiple sellers without needing to travel to multiple physical locations. It is easier to get the best deals if you are willing to spend a bit of time shopping online.
Being able to make smart decisions about how to spend your money without pressure from a salesperson has been attractive to people online. They are able to compare different vendors on their own and then choose to buy without having the stress of pushy salespeople.
4. Customer satisfaction
When you go to the grocery store or some other brick-and-mortar store, you are having face-to-face interactions with people who have spent the entire day dealing with customers who are stressed out because of the pandemic. Many of these individuals are making slightly above minimum wage. It is clear to understand why at some point in time during the day they are going to feel like it is not worth it for them to put up with people’s junk. The cashiers and salespeople who you interact with are also feeling the effects of the pandemic in their personal life. Understandably, in these situations customer service and customer satisfaction disappear.
However, when you purchase online, you are working with an industry that values providing good customer service. They understand how stiff competition is and are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their customers happy. Many online retailers offer easy returns and have experts available to answer the questions customers have.
Knowing that if you don’t like a product, you can simply stick it in the mail and send it back and knowing that if you get bad service, you can leave a review that will be responded to by the seller adds comfort during these trying times.