COVID-19 Is Shifting Online Purchasing Behavior - Here Are 3 Ways to Adapt

The initial shock of COVID-19 is slowly fading, giving room to a new reality — and different ways of buying. Many ecommerce businesses are still figuring out solutions to stay afloat and keep a close eye on how shoppers are reacting to these unprecedented times.

While brimming with uncertainty, this period represents an opportunity for both B2C and B2B organizations to pay attention to shifting trends and get ahead of customer expectations. Nearly 31% of buyers anticipate making more online purchases than they did before the pandemic, shows a study from Dotcom Distribution.

From ultra-fast, flawless deliveries to online learning opportunities, consumers are designing a new guide for ecommerce brands to deliver on.

In this article, we’ll show you how to respond to your clients’ new demands in a way that drives sales and differentiates you from a sea of competitors.

1.) Master the art of online deliveries and make customers feel safe about your packaging.

The pandemic slashed online shoppers’ budgets and at the same time exacerbated their desire for ultra-convenience, so there’s a greater demand for free shipping than ever before. According to a ShipStation survey, 96% of online consumers look at shipping costs and 89% prioritize delivery speed. If you can’t offer free shipping, consider at least lowering the cost. You’ll gain back any initial losses and then some.

Another shift is happening in the area of order tracking. Customers want personalized experiences that allow them to be in control of their orders. Ecommerce solutions like Salesforce offer code-free tools for integrating self-service options, so clients can check their order status, manage returns and more.

It’s also important to soothe customers’ worries regarding the risk of exposure to the coronavirus through packages. You can either greet them with messages on your website or including notes with their packages from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines: “There is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods [...]”

2.) Delight and engage customers through positive online channel experiences.

Creating positive brand experiences across all channels has been shown to not only improve sales but also customer retention. The same study from Dotcom Distribution revealed that 53% of customers will stop purchasing from a brand after a negative experience.

There are many ways to ensure memorable consumer-brand interactions at every touchpoint, from the moment someone sees your advertisement on social media or reads a blog on your website, to the second they receive a customer feedback survey.

Here are a couple of strategies we recommend:

  • Personalized email marketing. Almost 55% of consumers think receiving targeted promotions and discounts creates a more pleasant email experience.
  • Virtual try-on technology. This was proven to drive conversions while reducing return rates. Both B2C and B2B brands can employ this technology to give customers a 3-D interactive experience with any type of product, from shoes to refrigerators.
  • Premier packaging. Surprise your customers by using high-quality packaging and adding personal touches, such as hand-written thank-you notes and brand stickers.
  • Gifts and coupons with purchase. For B2B companies, freebies can include templates, browse and app extensions, as well as video consultations. For B2C brands, coupons seem to do the trick, with 91% of buyers saying they’d purchase again from a retailer, after redeeming their coupons.

It might take a while to see sales climb from these tactics alone, but the long-term payoff will be well worth the wait. Positive brand interactions lead to good online reviews, which 76% of shoppers trust just as much as recommendations from family and friends.

3.) Educate and entertain via high-quality content

Recent data shows a rise in e-learning since the beginning of the pandemic. Users are maximizing their quarantine time by expanding their knowledge through language apps, virtual tutorials and online learning software. Almost 35% of Netflix subscribers use it for educational content.

What does this mean for an ecommerce business like yours?

It’s a sign that you should be revving up your content production to quench your audience’s thirst for education and entertainment. Help your customers learn about your product and the industry as a whole by creating videos, eBook guides, tutorials, infographics and digital courses. Choose an option that fits your budget and goals, but most importantly, one that appeals the most to your targeted prospects.

There is towering evidence indicating a strong correlation between soaring sales and educational content. According to recent data, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand immediately after they consume early-stage, educational content. And that’s not all. A week after reading the content, customers’ trust in the brand increased significantly.

Take your cues from companies like PicMonkey that dedicate an entire section of their site for tutorials or HubSpot, which offers free, online training on everything marketing through its HubSpot Academy.

Now is the time to invest in strategies that help strengthen your position in the industry. At, we assist clients with all their digital marketing needs, from SEO to business copywriting, paid search, analytics and more.

Contact us today to start building an ecommerce foundation that can withstand any crisis. 

About Author

andreea ciulac
Andreea is part of's talented team of digital writers. Previously, she was a Lifestyle reporter for the Chicago Tribune and a digital content creator for a marketing agency, assisting a number of Fortune 500 companies with their content and marketing strategy. When she's off the clock, Andreea can be found either on her exercise mat, riding her bike, or soaking up the sun in one of the city's parks and nature preserves.

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