Impact of Covid-19 on Online Shopping Behavior
Online shopping has become the new normal. Many nonessential businesses had to close their physical stores, for example, restaurants, fashion stores, and movie theaters in many major cities are shutting down. Customers are generally avoiding public places due to the risk of coronavirus pandemic and lockdown policies. So millions of people choose to shift to digital channels. Turning from offline to online shopping, customers are changing what they’re buying, when, and how.
There’s been a 129% year-over-year growth in U.S. & Canadian e-commerce orders as of April 21 and an impressive 146% growth in all online retail orders. In the U.S, retailers’ online year-over-year revenue growth was up to 68% as of mid-April 2020, reflecting the consumer shift to ecommerce (Source: Forbes.com)
According to Commerce Insight report, e-commerce sales witnessed a major growth of online shopping in many different countries as the following graphic below:
Source: Covid-19 Commerce Insight (2020)
Let’s look at some of the reasons why customers prioritized digital commerce during Covid-19 pandemic:
- The rapid growth of mobile devices is making it easier than ever to shop online
- The risk of a coronavirus pandemic leads to continued social distancing in many countries
- Intensified the online competition with many loyalty programs, subscription models and attractive promotions
Online shopping is actually a long-term trend to continue into the post-pandemic future. Covid-19 fears aren’t going to disappear overnight. Even when the quarantine ends, people will still prefer online shopping from the safety of their homes. Yes! Customers are forming new shopping habits and behaviors that are likely to remain even after the pandemic passes.
Effects of Covid-19 on business
The Covid-19 crisis is significantly impacting businesses in different ways.
After the outbreak of coronavirus, the manufacturing sector has witnessed a sharp decline. Due to the travel restrictions, this pandemic has had a negative impact on the tourism and air transport industry. Also, businesses across various industries have been forced to close the doors to their offices and shops because of social distancing.
Many businesses have been badly impacted by Covid-19, but there are some industries are still benefiting from this crisis like Cloud Computing, Video conferencing and collaboration, Electronic payments, Ecommerce, Streaming, gaming and video content platforms, Online grocery delivery.
During this crisis, businesses that rely on offline operations are in a difficult position. So they need to have a solution to adapt to these changes in terms of operation, digital sales and marketing. For those companies that have e-commerce businesses, they are still under high pressure because of the influx of orders.
Many online stores and services were overwhelmed with orders and the staff were overloaded as they were unprepared. For example, when your customers want to buy a product, they send a message to your business to complete their order, but they have to wait too long for your confirmation, definitely, they will move on to another service. Consequently, your business delivers a poor customer experience and loses customers.
So how can businesses adapt to Covid-19?
Chatbot – a solution to improve customer experience
One of the business strategies is using chatbot as a virtual assistant to change the way of doing customer service. Having the ability to process up to 90% of transactions automatically and improve 60% of operational performance, chatbot is becoming a powerful assistant for businesses to overcome difficulties and have a breakthrough in the new normal.
Here’s the benefits of chatbot with BotStar as a digital solution during and post Covid-19 to help your business improve customer experience:
1. Deliver 24×7 automated customer support
After the pandemic, some behaviors might well become new habits and stick in the long term, including working from home and shopping online habits. During the time of working from home, many people adapt to a flexible schedule, it will affect consumers’ shopping habits. They can look for information and be able to shop late at night, early in the morning, or whenever they have free time. A chatbot is always available 24/7 to provide information on both Messenger and Website as well as take the potential customers to the next stage of the sales funnel. Using BotStar chatbot will cut down the operation costs and saves you from losing warm leads.
2. Save orders or bookings
Imagine that you have a business such as a fashion shop, a hotel, a restaurant or e-commerce business, etc. and you need to save an order, a booking or any inquiries from customers for managing and keeping track. Using BotStar, you can save orders or bookings through using Checkpoints feature. You can also add tags to categorize and segment your traffic quickly to deliver a better experience to your customers.
3. Instantaneous Reply
Chatbots can reduce customer waiting time. People get immediate answers to common questions (about order status, store hours, or locations, for instance). Chatbots reply instantly making sure you won’t lose a prospect. A one-minute delay can cost you a potential customer. Even if a simple chatbot cannot handle the complex inquiries from customers, you can keep training your chatbot to become smarter day-by-day using BotStar Smart Keyword and DialogFlow.
4. Lead Nurturing
How can we personally connect with customers and provide outstanding customer service?
Personalized messaging that assists consumers along “buyer’s journey” is possible with the consumer information that chatbots receive. Chatbots collect customer’s information to generate leads for your businesses. You may use the valuable information to send messages about promotion or loyalty programs by using Broadcasts or Campaign to nurture customer relationships.
5. Promote your brand’s identity
Chatbots can reflect your brand and bring your brand image to a higher level. Giving your chatbot a personality can make your chatbot more natural. So it would be nice if the bot tone of voice is more human-like to fit your target audiences. You can use GIFs, videos, images or emojis to make the conversation more enjoyable.
So are you interested in having a chatbot for your business to adapt to Covid-19?
Chatbots are the answers to many challenges posed by the pandemic and with the influx of the growing popularity of digital shopping. Chatbots can be considered as a great solution and business strategy for your business to overcome the challenges of Coronavirus pandemic.