How online retail saves lives during a pandemic

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( — April 6, 2020) —

The challenges that COVID-19 has presented to cities around the world is immense. Lockdowns have brought a new normal that has never been experienced before. Every citizen, employee, and business owner is trying to readjust how they perform daily activities. Remote working doesn’t mean that people are not making purchases. Although physical visits to stores are almost disappearing, it is necessary to buy things from your retailers.


There are many industries that are involved with making this a real possibility that you may haven’t considered before. Machinery companies, for example, are instrumental to this process of ensuring that products are in supply. These machines actually serve to move inventory on a massive scale so that they can be ordered by consumers, who are safe at home. The fact that these machines can be manned remotely is how innovation is benefitting us during this time of lockdown and quarantine.


They don’t require operators to be within close contact with other staff so that they can maintain their own safety. At the same time, this work is paramount to make sure that people across the country can buy the essentials that they require for their homes and even business activities. The Harvard Business Review states that preparedness includes thinking about supply chains and distribution.


In some instances, consumers will be purchasing more than they would normally. Instead of visiting diverse store locations, they will be shopping online and placing orders. Supply chain operations are still essential to retailers but with a different focus altogether. Online retail is positioned to save lives during this pandemic because some of the things being purchased are extremely essential. Consumers, healthcare facilities, and various organizations are ordering products online, as well.


Adapting to the Situation


Bloomberg reports that Americans seem to be adapting to our new lifestyles as it relates to eCommerce solutions. This ease of the new normal in this instance is happening quicker than experts thought. Overall during the month of March 2020, eCommerce sales were up 25%, which makes purchases of groceries into consideration. In fact, grocery store purchases are making up 8% of all eCommerce, right now.


Accommodating Purchases


Many of the top online retailers are working to better accommodate their customers, which includes increasing their workforce. Business Insider took a look at companies, such as Amazon that recently hired 100K additional delivery and fulfillment center positions. These are workers who will be relied upon for processing medicine, food products, and even household goods. Along with Amazon, Chegg and Chewy are among the retailers who have made it onto JPMorgan’s list of top stocks investors should buy.


Comparing Product Prices


Shopify’s Out of the Sandbox resource encourages consumers to continue the process of comparison shopping. This is something that most consumers are accustomed to doing on a regular basis. It is just as important now, if not more so because of price gouging. There are some retailers that will take this opportunity to increase their prices for key items and essential products. It may take a bit of research in order to find sales that are budget-friendly, but this is necessary with so many being out-of-work.


Taking Delivery into Consideration


Because numbers have increased so much for eCommerce product orders, it is a good idea to take delivery times into consideration. For some people, this means ordering the most important items before those that are not needed. Factoring in the time required and to ship them may vary. Even with expedited options, keep in mind there are potentially millions of other people who are shopping at the same time that you are.


Although retailers have had to adjust their business models in some cases, they are still meeting revenue objectives. Instead of focusing primarily on physical store locations, customer service, and stocking shelves, it has become more important to process orders and make deliveries. Retailers have become first responders in some cases, simply because of the products they are selling.