With over a year of on and off lockdowns, being told to stay at home to stay safe and seeing retail stores closing their doors for the foreseeable future, it’s no surprise that the eCommerce industry became a life savour for many. But how has this huge shift impacted consumers? What are their preferences and expectations now, in comparison to beforehand? 

We studied the recent Magento Commerce, The Shop Never Stops: Consumer Preferences Report to find out exactly how consumer habits changed during 2020 and what we can expect to see continuing on into 2021.

The Impact of Covid-19

From non-essential store closures to the government orders to stay at home, Covid-19 caused people to turn to online shopping whether they were used to it or not. With generations having to adapt to a new way of shopping, it was crucial for businesses to provide a seamless shopping experience for both new and existing customers.

“The majority (55%) of consumers say they now shop online more frequently than they did before the pandemic.”

As a result of Covid-19, many consumers are now spending more online than ever before, rely more on eCommerce than they have done previously and are finding themselves more likely to shop when a Click and Collect option is available. 

Image Source: Magento Commerce The Shop Never Stops: Consumer Preferences Report

A Rise in Consumer Expectations

With Covid-19 causing many people to change their ways and turn to online shopping, it’s brought with it a huge increase in consumer expectations. The Magento Commerce Consumer Preferences Report highlights that seven in ten consumers are likely to look elsewhere if they are unable to find the product they want quickly enough, with almost two thirds willing to abandon cart should the retailer not offer free delivery or free returns. 

These results instantly highlight just how willing consumers are to shop around and look elsewhere, potentially being drawn in by competitors, which is much easier to do online than it would be in a shopping centre. With consumers happily spending longer looking around for the best price or deal, now more than ever is the time for retailers to ensure they are offering the right product, at the right price. 

Consumers are now getting much savvier when it comes to shopping online, with many having clear expectations for every retailer, no matter how big or small. From a simple, stress-free checkout process to safe payment solutions, retailers should now be reviewing their online offering and content, as well as ensuring the buyer’s journey is simple and effective for every user.

Image Source: Magento Commerce The Shop Never Stops Consumer Preferences Report

Changes in Shopping Habits

Having to rely heavily on buying online has resulted in some key changes to shopping habits for many consumers. Those who previously avoided online shopping are now finding themselves shopping online more frequently and finding it an easier process than they initially thought., which in turn has resulted in many consumers spending more online too. Having access to everything you need without having to leave your home is both easy and practical, prompting many consumers to make additional purchases from the click of a button as opposed to physically going to a store. 

 

Image Source: Magento Commerce The Shop Never Stops Consumer Preferences Report

What Consumers Want NOW

Knowing that the eCommerce world is their oyster, consumers are now able to pick and choose who they want to shop with and why with many having key factors that contribute to their overall decision. 

Sustainability – It is becoming more and more critical for retailers to have strong environmental credentials and showcase that they are environmentally friendly. From efficient and recyclable packaging to environmentally friendly schemes such as Plant a Tree. 

Safety – With so many horror stories of unsafe shopping experiences, many consumers expect a safe and secure environment wherever they shop, ensuring their payment details are kept safe and at no risk of exposure. 

Savings  – Being able to browse the internet for the best deal is something that, as mentioned previously, many consumers are now willing to take the time to do. Consumers are now expecting to be able to save some money in any way they can, whether that’s through sales or an exclusive incentive, with 40% saying they are more likely to look for offers and deals now than before Covid-19. 

A Bespoke Experience – Consumers are looking for more when it comes to shopping online, with a bespoke experience helping to encourage repeat purchases for many. Offering key features such as a loyalty scheme, recommendations based on purchase history and personalised product recommendations will really help to make the consumer feel valued and therefore result in repeat custom. 

 

As a result of Covid-19, we have seen a huge shift in consumer preferences and shopping habits, helping retailers identify what changes they need to make to stay ahead of the game and provide the best possible experience to each individual customer. 

How have you adapted your online presence to meet the new demands and habits of consumers since 2020? If you’re looking to enhance your website or make key changes featured within this post, give us a call to speak to one of our team members who can help find the right solution for you and your business. 

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you enhance your eCommerce store.