How Coronavirus Has Changed Consumer Shopping Habits

Has Coronavirus changed our shopping habits? Read on to find out the impact Covid-19 has had on the retail and ecommerce markets.

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Just when you think you know how your audience behaves, a global pandemic drops and changes the whole game. It’s safe to say that nobody really knew just how Covid-19 would impact our everyday lives or business activity. However, one thing is for sure – trends have started to form over the past six months. Coronavirus has changed how we shop and it’s essential to understand how in order to grow and adapt.

In their recent report, 10 Learnings from Coronavirus, our partners AWIN reveal some very key lessons that we have learned during lockdown.

1. A Simple Customer Journey Is Essential

To begin with, one of the key takeaways on Coronavirus and shopping habits has centred around the customer journey. With pretty much all shopping being conducted online during this time, competition was stronger than ever. So, making sure that everything is easy for the customer is paramount.

Some really strong examples here include showing complementary items as they shop and offering a range of payment options, such as Apple Pay and Klarna. In fact, offering Klarna saw a 64% increase in sales volume and a higher average order value (AOV).

2. The Changes In Mobile vs. Desktop Shopping

When it comes to shopping, mobile often comes out on top. In fact, in 2019, the split that AWIN saw was 67% of purchases conducted via mobile vs 33% desktop. However, during the first two weeks of lockdown, that changed. Instead, 58% were attributed to mobile and 42% desktop which really does show the importance of understanding how your users operate online.

3. The Changes In AOV

Next we have the changes in AOV that have taken place in Q2 of 2020 compared to the same period the previous year. Some of the most popular categories that have seen an uplift include;

Clothing +22% with an AOV of £64
Home Gym Equipment +17% with an AOV of £161
Toys & Games +7% with an AOV of £65
FMCG +7% with an AOV of £38
Beauty +2% with an AOV of £49

As people are home more, as gyms are closed and people want to stay in shape at home, as schools are shut and kids need entertaining, people are starting to order more takeaways and meal delivery kits, and focusing on self-care, these uplifts are not all that surprising.

4. Reacting Quickly Is A Must

While we can never predict all of the things that are going to happen in the world – or even prepare for them to an extent, we can be willing to act quickly. With lockdown taking place, we saw stores shutting and thus the need for warehouse capacity to be scaled. We saw travel restrictions in place and, as a result, AWIN recorded a 98% reduction in sales volume year on year (YoY).

Yet, when restrictions were lifted in July, those that reacted quickly were rewarded. In terms of who drove the sales here, 49% came from discount sites, 23% cashback, and 10% were from editorial and social content.

5. It’s Not All Over For Stores

With stores shut, brands are without their much-needed sales assistants yet there was a way to adapt this. 3 Mobile took their in-store demos online and Selfridges offered their consultations online too. But the good news is, consumers were still shopping the High Street and opting to shop online with them and not just the online-only alternatives.

So much so, there was an increase for ecommerce with physical stores of 87% in April and 103% in May YoY (excluding supermarkets).

6. Direct To Consumer Is An Option

Another thing that has been quite interesting is the increase in direct-to-consumer. Brands that are traditionally sold in stores without their own offering, such as Heinz and Lindt, made the leap! As they may not be seen on the shelf during this time and knowing that Coronavirus and shopping habits has driven buyers entirely online, the direct-to-consumer model became essential for them.

7. The Changes In Shopping Hours

When you know your audience well, you may think you have their shopping habits down. However, lockdown definitely shook that up. Consumers were shopping a lot more during the 9-5 period of weekdays compared to before lockdown, as more purchases were made with the flexibility of working from home.

Although online shopping is always available, it’s handy to know when your customers are shopping so that you can tailor your activity and campaigns to launch around their most active times.

8. Repositioning B2B Retailers

Things got really interesting in the B2B space too. Whereas traditionally, the B2B channel sees a high AOV with a low sales volume, that changed during lockdown. As offices shut and home workers were setting up shop, the B2B-2C subsector was born as the way Coronavirus changed shopping habits meant employees were ordering home office supplies for themselves.

This saw the transition into a lower AOV and a higher sales volume. Therefore, businesses in the B2B market (particularly office supplies, coffee machines and commercial services such as tech support) benefit by targeting smaller buyers during the new normal.

9. The Importance Of Influencers

Another really interesting point is the influence of brand ambassadors during lockdown. In most cases, these are going to be social media influencers. Throughout March, AWIN reported that 56% of internet users spent more time than ever before on social media. And, as we all know, TikTok grew in popularity (in fact, they saw a 12% increase in downloads in a single week)! With stores shut and budgets being cut, brands are turning to smaller content creators for their big influence.

Influencer marketing is incredibly strong for brand building. During lockdown, influencers are doing a similar job to sales assistants by becoming an advocate from brands, showcasing products, and helping to get vital information across.

10. The Strength Of The Affiliate Marketing Channel

Finally, we have also been able to clearly identify the value of the affiliate marketing channel as it brought in a new revenue stream for many brands and retailers.

The digital channel is stronger than ever. With stores shut and ad spend cut, advertisers were looking to adapt and recuperate their loss of earnings. Enter the affiliate marketing channel. AWIN saw a surge in new partnerships as a result of this.

So much so, the performance channel saw marketers receive an average return on investment of 16.1%! This really does just reiterate the strength and resilience of the affiliate channel and it’s ability to bend with the ever-changing demands of the online marketplace.

To launch your affiliate marketing program, reach out today and we’ll talk you through how you can tap into this valuable marketing channel increase your bottom line.