You might have seen that meme in the last 6 months somewhere on social media where the chief digital officer of an organization is sitting in a meeting with the CEO and saying that digital transformation may take a few years to gain momentum…and there is a wrecking ball labeled Covid-19, coming right into their office. This Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world in an irreversible way and amongst many worst impacts; it has caused few positive impacts too. Digital disruption has hit all businesses like a wrecking ball…but in a good way. Businesses have experienced a surge in online customers while walk-ins have gone from being sky-high down to insignificant numbers. Before Covid-19 had hit, only a handful of customers used to shop online, perhaps 10% of the overall customer base. After being a year in this pandemic and living under strict social distancing rules imposed by all governments, people have called off walk-in the method of shopping and moved on to online shopping instead.
Online shopping started off almost as an experiment more than 20 years ago and not many people were into it back then. Besides, it had a very limited range of products to offer to its small segment of customers. Over the 2000s decade, this trend took shape, more players came in market, platforms were being established and the online buying customer segment grew a little. During last decade (2010 onwards) online stores had become bigger and picked up a wider opinion of being mature, reliable, and safe to shop from. This decade saw the likes of amazon, Alibaba and a few more becoming significantly large players. Customers started to trust these online shopping portals with cheaper products and after loving the experience, customers had already jumped to buying bigger more expensive products online. With Covid-19 coming as a disruptor, businesses like Italiana store which were already around, had good product line and delivering good quality on best prices gained momentum and started to make a lot more sense. With this trend change around April 2020, and after experiencing the comfort of online shopping, most customers like it better than old school (walk-in) way of shopping.
The beauty about buying online is that you are not restricted to local physical stores in or around your neighborhood; you can buy things from stores that are not even in your country. We had always heard how awesome seasonal and festive sales were in the united states or we have been hearing from our friends / relatives who travel frequently how the products sold in developed countries are far better in quality, designs, premium finished look, and enormous variety of options. Well, all of those fairytale stories about shopping outside your geography have suddenly become a reality and not a forbidden fruit anymore.
There is one more benefit that even retail businesses (and ultimately end customers like you) are getting, that is, with online shopping platforms maturing over time, there are specialized shopping portals for wholesale buying and selling also available. Businesses are leveraging this opportunity like anything and sourcing good quality, cheap and superior finished products for people who still want to shop the old fashioned walk in to a physical store way. With online shopping becoming safe, easy and reliable, businesses and customers are finding new creative ways every day. Physical stores that had a repour with customers have also wrapped their operations into a fancy looking online shopping website and this has doubled their business, if not more.