COVID-19 Accelerated the Impending Retail Apocalypse According to Maropost CEO

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( — June 4, 2020) — After the U.S. announced the extension of federal social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the retail economy, as we knew it, had come to a complete standstill.

Even Apple, according to The Verge, had announced the temporary closure of all of its retail stores “outside of Greater China” until March 27th — only to recount that statement a couple of days later to inform the public that it will be closing its doors indefinitely to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, we’re beginning to see big online retailers like Amazon announcing that it’s struggling to keep up with the current consumer demand.

So much so that they’ve posted warnings all over their site informing their customers that they will be delaying the delivery of all non-essential items (or, in some cases, blocking their delivery altogether.)

On March 16th, Amazon had even announced that they have filled over 100,000 new jobs, and are expecting to add another 75,000 more in order to make up for the rise in demand.

This marks the very beginning of this dramatic shift towards online shopping during the COVID-19 crisis. But, of course, this shift to online retailers is not necessarily a surprise.

Ross Andrew Paquette, CEO of Maropost, a tech company that is highly regarded as one of the digital marketing industry’s most leading innovators, summarizes the situation succinctly in an interview with Thrive Global. By saying the following…

“I am certain that COVID-19 will only accelerate the retail apocalypse — the already dramatic shift to online shopping that has already gone up to nearly 100% during this period. It’s making almost everyone more comfortable with making all of their purchases online.”

Online shopping has been on the fast track for years, of course, but we’ve never seen growth quite this big.

Based on a Statistica survey that observed the trends of eCommerce from 2017 to 2019, we can expect to have 300 million online shoppers by 2023 in the US alone — that’s roughly 91% of the country’s entire population. That same survey also calculated that eCommerce sales are expected to surpass $740 billion in the same year.

At the time the survey was done, the majority of online shoppers (at least 59%) had bought clothing items.

COVID-19 has flipped this all around the world, with the most in-demand consumer items, according to Visual Income, focusing on what the general public considers as necessities while they participate in social distancing. A lot of which had been primarily purchased from regular retail shops prior to COVID-19.

This summarizes most of the relevant shifts in the current global economy. Or so, according to the widespread media. However, there are other things going on behind the scenes that could eventually affect how buyers will be purchasing items in the future.

Specifically, in the realm of cloud computing and the impending risks thereof, as COVID-19 continues to make its havoc all over the world.

More on that below.

The Truth Behind Online Retailers

There is no denying that COVID-19 has greatly affected the way consumers are shopping in 2020. And, all evidence points to online retailers winning over retail shops in this particular fight.

However, there are a couple of things going on behind the scenes that may keep this shift from becoming permanent. Especially, as the correlation between the sudden influx of customers, and the instability of cloud infrastructure, becomes more evident.

A lot of the online retailers of today are heavily reliant on something called cloud computing. By using the cloud, their efficiency and flexibility as an online business grow.

However, as online retailers rush to make the relevant changes in their cloud infrastructure to support the sudden increase in online shoppers, there are rising security concerns in a large number of employed IT professionals. In fact, 84% are concerned that they have already been hacked, and they just don’t know it yet, according to Security Magazine.

Instability in a retailer’s cloud infrastructure can result in the increased risk of security breaches — which can cause data to be leaked.

Econotimes reports that marketing automation platforms like Maropost, the tech company that we had mentioned in the beginning, face increased risk at this time. In fact, Maropost had actually dealt with a log file exposure scare not three weeks ago — after investing quite heavily in the maintenance of their cloud infrastructure.

In Maropost’s case, according to their founder, Ross Andrew Paquette, it had truly been nothing but a scare — no information was leaked on any of their customers.

However, according to this article on Hibbox, which specifically talks about how the ‘Coronavirus Global Pandemic Increases Risk of Data Breaches in 2020’ Maropost’s fortune, in this case, may truly be an outlier. So…

There is still a very big chance that a major data breach will happen to another company.

Should one occur, all the customers of these online retailers are subject to increased risk of cyber threats like identity theft, financial fraud, and phishing scams — all of which have already seen a dramatic increase because of COVID-19.

Especially the risk of phishing scams, which involve using fear and scare tactics to rob people of their money or their personal information.

This has been the newest stratagem of many cyber criminals that want to profit from the panic and desperation caused by the novel coronavirus, according to Google, who released a report warning its users to stay alert during this time, as over $12 million have already been stolen from misguided Americans because of these phishing scams

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Photo by Heidi Fin on Unsplash