2019 marked the year when the world recognized a virus that affects the humans’ respiratory systems, leading to critical conditions and even deaths. It has taken stringent measures like stay-at-home, lockdown, curfews and social distancing to contain the spread of the virus. Consequently, many brick-and-mortar businesses felt the effect of low sales turnover. But even when such an economic crisis hit small and giant firms, there was a need to change the tune which propelled e-commerce industries.
Findings report that international digital sales generated around 3.5 trillion dollars in 2019. Now more than ever, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the expansion of digital selling towards startups, clients and product varieties.
How e-commerce has benefited online buyers and sellers?
In today’s world, e-commerce allows purchasers to access products or services via an enormous database. A quick internet search on a commodity will enable them to match its specifications with the price and learn more about what previous clients are saying about the said product through customer reviews. From there, they can decide whether to buy it or reach out to the customer support team to confirm if they have rectified their concerns.
Virtual sellers, on the other hand, have plenty of perks to enjoy through e-commerce. For example, they can study their clients’ buying habits to tweak an excellent marketing campaign. The internet also allows merchandisers to understand how the global markets are faring without wasting money on advertising campaigns. Judging from these few benefits the digital space offers, it does not surprise that almost all brick-and-mortar stores will have to upgrade to online services or risk getting phased out by companies who’ve embraced the new trend.
The top seven e-commerce industries that will survive the harsh impacts of economic crises
Economic crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and political instability can emerge anytime. Initially, firms relied on physical stores to meet with their buyers with hopes of selling products. In the event of a crisis, the possibility of customers accessing the store can be daunting.
That is where digital retailing comes in handy. To illustrate how this concept works, here are the top seven e-commerce industries that may stand the test of time despite the 2020 economic crisis.
Recently a study on internet usage indicated that by 2022, about 3 billion buyers would access the internet to buy or sell products and services depending on their preferred niches. Countries like South Africa, China, Russia and many others have projected that internet usage will play a significant role in shaping the future of digital buying and selling.
According to a survey conducted by Statista, worldwide e-commerce sales may increase from 3.53 trillion dollars to 6.54 trillion dollars by 2023. Going by these numbers, online retail, which comprises giant companies, has soared to new heights thanks to the pandemic.
It started with physical stores closing down due to lockdowns, which later upgraded to full-time online buying. For example, suppose a commercial or industrial purchaser is interested in purchasing heavy duty LED lighting products from Phoenix Lighting. In that case, they might need to check if the supplier stocks versatile products to help them make better choices.
Even as governments are lifting lockdowns and curfews, customers are still privy to buying merchandise from stores. To protect themselves against contracting the virus, they prefer ordering products online and waiting for deliveries to their desired destinations. For any entrepreneur in a retail business looking to flourish despite an economic crisis, embracing digital transformation is the way to go.
2. Virtual Learning
Schools and other educational centers have benefitted in many ways during the Corona Virus lockdowns. Some students had to forego their studies until governments were sure that it is safe for them to continue their education. Because learning institutions were skeptical about when the pandemic will end, they resorted to e-learning to avoid wasting time and resources, exposing students and tutors to more risks.
Ever since the pandemic wreaked havoc in learning organizations, tutors and administrations decided that now is the right time to introduce and implement e-learning platforms. Students and teachers are now required to log in to e-learning platforms to interact with each other. It is as simple as using your personal computer or mobile device to access a reliable internet provider and attend a class session.
Amid the economic crisis when conservative studies were no longer applicable, tutors worldwide rely on platforms that guarantee safety and reliable sources of income. As of now, the e-learning industry occupies the largest market share. All it takes is for tutors to register with reputable platforms and start earning.
Related: Top E-commerce Business Models
Today, e-learning that was perceived to be impractical is revolutionizing the learning industry in ways one cannot imagine. Because learning is an ongoing process, it does not surprise that digital learning has made it to the top five e-commerce industries that investors should consider.
3. Food delivery
Food is a basic need that every living being needs to survive. Some people prefer preparing their meals at home while others would instead order takeout. Either way, food delivery seems like a lucrative venture despite governments ordering the closure of restaurants and eateries.
Since most people have gotten used to staying at home in a bid to protect themselves from COVID—19, the only way to get food delivered to their homes is via instant delivery operations. At the click of the button, a customer can order and pay for food from the comfort of their homes, and within minutes, the food will arrive served hot.
The food delivery industry is projected to hit the 200-billion-dollar mark by 2025. Since food is an essential commodity, it does not surprise that it featured under the list of industries with a bright future amid the pandemic. The only setback food delivery may face is the seamless use of paperless payment and versatile delivery options. But like any other industry, it will take time for buyers and vendors to learn the ropes of food delivery and make it a habit.
Related: Top Food Ordering Applications
Strict restrictions ranging from lockdowns to stay-at-home might have led to the closure of eateries and restaurants, but that has deterred them from getting creative. Even after lifting restrictions on curfews and lockdowns, customers are still skeptical about their safety when visiting restaurants.
If you compare the profits a dine-in operation and an online service makes, you will realize that the latter will survive the test of time even if another economic crisis hits the market.
4. Rental Marketplace
Following the recent turn of events that involves businesses renting online marketplace, it is evident that entrepreneurs and organizations are going to fight for a place in giant platforms to reach out to their potential buyers. Rental services such as clothing rentals, home décor rentals and gym tools rental are the primary beneficiaries.
It will reach a point where clients who are hesitant to go to physical shops to select items will do so from the comfort of their homes.
It is as simple as downloading an app or visiting a website and selecting what you want at a fee. When looking to rent an item, the service provider will put up a registration form to capture your details. Once you pay upfront for the item, they will rent it out to you, depending on how long you want to use it. Therefore, a business that is quick to identify its area of specialization may profit from an online marketplace instead of placing an advert.
5. Shipping and order fulfillment service
Online placement, order fulfillment and shipping are supply chain services that go hand-in-hand. It makes perfect sense that the two supply chain processes complement online buying and selling. Once a customer orders a product, the supply chain officer confirms if it is in the warehouse or fulfillment center.
The order fulfillment specialist scrutinizes the customer’s order and matches it with the product. Depending on where the client lives or works, the shipping company will choose a suitable mode of transportation to ensure the merchandise reaches the customer in good condition.
The shipping and order fulfillment industry is currently projecting massive order requests oncoming days because customers have embraced the e-commerce way of life. Such firms can ship anything from fragile goods to inflammable to other ordinary products. As the trend continues, it will be inevitable to separate e-commerce from supply chain management and logistics.
6. Medical supplies and equipment
Medical facilities require modern equipment and supplies to contain the spread of the CoronaVirus. More than ever, nurses, doctors, lab technicians and surgeons need to protect themselves against the virus because they are at more risk. No other time has recorded the highest order requests for facial masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitary materials and other medical supplies.
As the population continues to go for vaccination, it will be necessary for medical practitioners to order their supplies in good time to protect themselves when in the line of duty.
Health and wellness programs have not also remained behind when it comes to e-commerce. Since the stay-at-home restriction started, most people have abandoned healthy lifestyle habits. This growing trend might lead to opportunistic diseases as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle.
To prevent that from happening, dieticians, nutritionists and personal training and fitness experts have joined hands to devise wellness programs that can apply even when an individual is at home.
Since the healthcare system is shifting from face-to-face consultation to telehealth services, most people will not have to drive to the hospital to see their doctor. Instead, they can see their doctor from the comfort of their home.
Since the pandemic started, about 27% of adults have already purchased and used telehealth services and can attest that it is an efficient way of connecting with their doctors without incurring any expenses or scheduling time off work.
Buying groceries involves seeing and touching. For example, a customer is likely to trust a bunch of greens after seeing and feeling them.
However, with COVID-19 in the picture, consumers will have to order their groceries online. Various retail giants already have a provision for groceries in their food category.
All customers need to do is identify a retailer of their choice, order their groceries, make payments and inform the vendor where you want the delivery to be done.
Despite the stringent measures of the pandemic, the growth rate of grocery shopping rose by double in 2020. Purchasers are already aware of the implications of shopping in physical stores because fruits and vegetables tend to harbor pathogens.
They also know that a physical market is likely to be filled with people whose COVID-19 status is not known. It also doesn’t respect the aspect of social distancing.
Since the last thing anyone wants is to contract the virus, their only chance to protect themselves is through online shopping. So essentially, putting money in an online grocery marketplace could be a good investment decision.
Grocery online sellers have also innovated budget-friendly ways to avail products to clients. For example, a grocer can invent an app with features such as purchase remotely and pick up in the store. That means a purchaser can make an order and send someone to pick it up on their behalf.
Alternatively, the grocer can organize an efficient delivery system that serves many states in the US. If a client makes an order in New Orleans, the supplier can direct them to their branch in the region or send someone to deliver the groceries on their behalf.
Will e-commerce stand the test of time?
In the next ten years or so, people will look back at 2019 as the year that shaped e-commerce. No other industry has seen COVID-19 as a blessing in disguise.
More than ever, everyone is learning to be self-sufficient and creative. It is a miracle that an economic crisis such as this led to job losses, the collapse of businesses, and the rise in deaths that could shape the digital and e-commerce sector.
So, whether you are looking to start your e-commerce venture or harnessing digital trading to expand your business, consider all these options.
As long as your niche involves fast-moving goods and has an excellent online presence, you will reap the benefits of e-commerce.