How has e-commerce changed during coronavirus?

The volume of orders placed online is surging. As a result we are seeing delivery bottlenecks as retailers and carriers try to keep up with demand whilst operating a reduced workforce. We analysed our internal data to shed light on what is happening in e-commerce during the coronavirus pandemic.

Order volume in e-commerce increasing

Now is the time for online retailers to continue trading and take advantage of the current situation. Some sectors, such as the electronics and IT industry, are seeing considerable increases in order volume. In the past two weeks, there has been a 28 percent increase in order volume for electronics and IT online shops.

Why are we seeing this increase? Over a third of the world’s population is in lockdown and the vast majority of businesses have moved their employees into home offices. For many companies, their employees have never worked from home before, so they are not set up to do so. Therefore, we are seeing an influx in customers ordering equipment to create a comfortable working environment.

Electronics and IT retailers are seeing an influx in orders.

It’s not only electronics and IT retailers that are seeing this increase in orders. Online shops selling sports equipment, DIY goods, furniture and toys are experiencing a rapid increase in orders. Since bricks and mortar shops have been forced to close and people have a lot more free time, customers are spending their money online.

Faster delivery despite coronavirus concerns

Whilst we may think that the current crisis will negatively affect delivery times, the reality is in fact different. An analysis of our internal data shows that carriers are currently delivering parcels faster than usual. Usually, the average delivery time is 2.1 days and this has reduced to 1.7 days in the last two weeks – despite increased order volume.

How has this happened? There are a number of reasons why we are seeing this. First of all, with so many people in lockdown, people are now at home during the day meaning they are available to receive their parcel on the first try. Secondly, many carriers have removed the need for a signature on delivery, which again saves time as they can deliver even when people aren’t home. More customers are likely choosing for carriers to leave their parcel in a safe location, which again increases first-attempt delivery success. Finally, carriers are able to get from A to B much quicker as the roads are far less busy.

Parcels are arriving quicker during coronavirus than before.

How can online retailers help their customers during coronavirus?

The current crisis is a totally unpredictable situation. It’s almost certain that we’ll see delivery delays and failures as more supply chain staff are off work sick and movement becomes more restricted. Sadly, we cannot predict when this will happen, so good preparation is key. Take a look at our blog on how retailers should communicate with their customers during this difficult time.

Proactive communication is essential

Retailers need to be keeping customers up-to-date about the status of their order and inform them of any difficulties or delays immediately. Putting proactive shipping notifications in place is vital right now.

Customers are currently filled with uncertainty about whether their parcel will arrive on time or at all. This can cause real problems, especially if they are ordering essentials goods. Therefore, retailers must stand by their customers and inform them at all times about the status of their order. Excellent customer service and experience is more important than ever.

We can help retailers provide their customers with important information proactively during the corona crisis. Please get in touch to find how more.

About the Author: Katharine
Katharine is Head of Marketing Communications - EMEA. An avid shopper, Katharine is passionate about helping retailers understand the importance of efficient post-purchase communications. When she isn’t looking for the latest trends for our blog, Katharine loves discovering new restaurants in London.