The resilience of many organizations and industries were put to the test amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In Singapore, the implementation of the Circuit Breaker in April and May 2020 declared that all non-essential businesses must temporarily cease to operate. As people were required to stay at home and minimize social interaction, the initial phase of the pandemic seemed bleak for the economy. However, as the situation prolonged, we began observing new habits and trends in purchasing and selling for businesses and consumers alike.
On the 7 th of June 2020, PM Lee addressed the nation, indicating that the situation is under control and we are slowly re-opening the country safely. However, he emphasized that our battle from the virus is far from over, and we will have to work toward adapting and redeveloping ourselves to safeguard our prosperity and employability.
Prior to COVID-19, e-commerce was already reforming the way consumers shop. When the pandemic hit its peak, it was the only way that stay-home shoppers could buy anything, as all the physical shops and malls were closed. Online marketplaces or e-commerce websites became the go-to for shopping and practically everything could be found online: retail, supplies, groceries, food, home-essentials, and much more, all of them offering deliveries to your doorstep.
Companies that already had an online presence had an advantage – to have a supply chain in place for the continuity of their operations was a strong head-start. What we observed is that many other local businesses slowly started adapting and by the second or third week of the Circuit Breaker, there was a huge surge in online activity. Merchants and even home businesses were taking on a digital front to remain relevant and competitive.
Pretty soon it became apparent that without e-commerce, you would gradually lose out. This leads us to the next large change in the commerce scape, which is consumer expectations. A recent study conducted by DHL for B2B and B2C sellers shows the most crucial aspects of achieving a successful e-commerce strategy. Delivery speed, delivery timings, return processes, and shipping are a prominent theme of significant importance.
As consumers purchase more online, they get more demanding with their expectations and begin to have less patience for delays and incompetent logistics. While a product with a high demand may initially sell well, the delivery process, return process (if necessary) and post-sale support plays a key part in customer retention. This is one of the most critical points of having an e-commerce business because nowadays reviews play a huge role in online shopping. It is only organic for a user to quickly browse the general reviews of the product and the quality of your service.
While these are the observable changes during COVID-19, the implications that they have will shape the dynamics of the classic buyer and seller, and also set a standard for how merchants must plan for an e-commerce strategy beyond the pandemic.
There are many different aspects that shape a successful e-commerce business. The whole process for the consumer begins the time they gain interest in your product, leading them to browse and gather reviews online. After their decision is made, they will commence on the purchasing process and finally receiving the item(s). Any bad experience in this whole process could be damaging to your reputation and affect customer loyalty.
While it is important to curate a positive experience throughout the whole process, a focus that can be easily overlooked is the importance of a formidable logistics arm. Once a customer hits the checkout button, it boils down to the efficiency of sending the product out. This involves collection, transportation, distribution or delivery and if necessary, return logistics. Any mistakes can be costly – for your operations and reputation. Now think about this, and multiply it by 100, or even 1000 orders! At DHL Express, we are avid supporters of this transition into ‘the e-commerce era’. Preparing for this transformation may not be an easy step to embrace, but a necessary one. We offer customizable e-commerce solutions along with various tools and portals to ensure that the third-party logistics (3PL) portion of your business is well taken care of.
Our focus is to drive businesses toward success by creating a process that automates a large portion of your operations. Begin your e-commerce journey today, and let DHL Express give you the edge you need, to take your business to the next level!