During the last few months of social and economic change, businesses have had to be savvy, innovative and adapt to ensure that they survive the uncertain times ahead. Businesses have been hit hard, particularly those with physical, customer facing storefronts, so now more than ever before, e-commerce is vital.
Having an online presence that overcomes non-essential business closure, nervous shoppers and a clientele that is stuck at home is a game changer.
During Alert Level Four New Zealand retail sales were down 80%, and even though sales increased by 350% in Level Three, overall, sales were still down significantly.
Normally, online sales account for 9% of New Zealand’s retail spend, but Retail NZ estimates that as Kiwis adjust to this new post-lockdown climate, online sales will comprise 30% of the total retail spend.
In the United States, April saw online sales outpace in-store sales for the first time ever, and online grocery orders specifically increased by 110%.
Major Australian brands including Kmart, Accent Shoes and Woolworths are increasingly moving the focus away from physical shops, with plans to downsize stores, close stores and move the focus more online.
Online store sales have soared for businesses small and large alike, and alongside this traditional bricks-and-mortar stores have struggled as they have no way of engaging with their customers without a physical store front.
Shopify is the world’s fastest growing e-commerce platform with over 500,000 active global retailers. The company reported that after the global disruption caused by Covid-19, their sales increased by 47% on the same time last year to US$470 million, and the value of all goods sold through the Shopify platform increased by 46% to US$17.42 billion.
Many businesses around the world have been using Shopify to ensure the longevity of their businesses, and those that already had Shopify or a similar platform before Covid-19 have found the process of moving sales increasingly online to be relatively painless.
While all New Zealand stores can be open under Alert Level One without the need for social distancing, consumers are still on edge and cautious with many people still preferring to do their shopping online post-lockdown.
Tools like Shopify are great for future-proofing businesses as we grow less certain about what our social and economic futures look like. Shopify not only allows people to develop and customise their online store, but it allows businesses to sell in multiple places including physical shops, web, mobile, social media, online marketplaces and pop-up shops.
Being flexible, innovative and responsive is necessary for all businesses to survive in these unknown and quickly evolving times, as is the technology to help them achieve their business goals.