We are currently going through an eventful phase of our walk on this earth. Truth be told, the COVID-19 pandemic was something we could have never anticipated to hit the world in 2020. The pandemic has spread to over 70 nations and the effects in some of those nations have been grim. Since it came in December 2019 recorded cases have surpassed 340 000 and deaths are approximately 15 000 (Italy accounting for roughly 5500 of that). The reactionary dynamics that have characterised every nation have opened up a doorway to interesting insights into several metrics. Some of those metrics are human behaviour, market trends, economic activity, and political developments, just to mention a few. It is a given that there have been and there still is an avalanche of negative effects of this pandemic. Conversely, there are so many opportunities that are also emerging as a result of COVID-19. In this article, I will explore the big opportunity for e-commerce or e-tailers.

The Pandemic Is Already Shifting Online Buying Habits

There generally has been a shift from walk-in purchases to online shopping. In most countries of the world, an average of at least 80% of internet users have gone into isolation or have social distanced themselves. This has effectively created a ripe and ready pool of online customers. Some of the reasons for this is the haste to stock up supplies and also the lockdowns which have restricted movement. Lockdowns have been necessitated by the heightened need for isolation and social distancing. Surveys are indicating across the world that online shopping has surged and outlets have been fast running out of stocks. You must have an appreciation that people are generally projecting that this pandemic will be a major concern for at least the next 4 months. That is a long time and given the surge in e-commerce it will pay off to invest in e-tailing some of these products I have mentioned.

In terms of online buying habits, there is something that you ought to note. It is has been widely communicated that the older population is more susceptible to COVID-19 i.e. those aged 60 and older. This means that there is a significantly high number of senior citizens who are now more given over to buying things online. This means effective market targeting can also be informed by that development. Interestingly, this demographic is not usually that active online under normal circumstances. Over the years it has often been challenging to attract this old age demographic to be online. It seems now that circumstantially, tapping into it has been made easier by this pandemic. All in all, it is a great e-commerce business opportunity to capitalize on.

Hit Products At The Moment

Top of the list has been basic groceries and hygiene products such as toilet paper and hand sanitizers. Other hit products are face masks, gloves and antibacterial products. It is remarkable to note that the demand for these products has spiked by over 800%. Get this, they are predominantly being sourced and bought online. Another segment that has been surging is a medication particularly for pain relief, colds, flues and coughs. The demand for products in that segment, on average, has shot up by over 250%. The most fast-moving food items right now are non-perishables – examples are pasta and the like. All this indicates too great opportunities for e-tailing or e-commerce given that people are largely restricting their movements.

A Look Into The Future – Post COVID-19

Despite the enormity of the prevailing situation, I for one, know there will be a post-COVID-19 era. There is a future without it, whether it comes sooner or later. You have got to stop for a moment and think about how things will be during that time. I have been talking about the surge of e-commerce or e-tailing all throughout this article. What do you think will happen after the pandemic? I bet e-commerce will be more widespread than it was before the pandemic. The boost the industry has received as a result of COVID-19 will linger on and be sustained post the pandemic. I am confident that all this will be inevitable and as such you must rightly position yourself now. You must either enter the e-commerce space now whilst the barriers to entry are somewhat relaxed or try to enter later when most players would have established themselves. Be smart, be wise!

So this is a great time to shine in the e-commerce sector. The glow will remain for a quite a while to come so do not take this lightly. Do not just think that this is just for developed nations. I specifically wrote this article with Zimbabwe in mind though I referenced global examples. Do not let the wave pass by, ride on it.