2021 arrived with high hopes and dreams, thanks to the arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccines in Ireland. We still have a long way to go between now and getting back to our routines, but while the Government juggles the vaccine rollout and dealing with new cases and potential lockdowns, all businesses should review their strategies to make sure they survive in a post-COVID-19 economy.
The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption in all areas of life, especially in online shopping. The Tipping Point report found that Irish consumers will only return to shop in physical stores with confidence when COVID is mostly behind us, and social distancing is no longer necessary. The report also reveals that 48% of all Irish consumers will do most of their shopping in physical stores, but the remaining 52% will do all their shopping online or only go to physical stores for urgent necessities. Think With Google report reveals that since the beginning of last March, search interest in “online shopping” and “how to buy online” has doubled worldwide. Google’s mobility report also shows that footfall in physical shops will be slow to return to pre-pandemic levels in Ireland, and for quite some time. The report showed a 61% drop in people visiting recreation places such as restaurants, cafés, shopping centres, libraries and cinemas in January 2021, compared with previous years.
We can’t predict how the economy will recover after COVID-19 — but we have to start our preparations now. Digitalisation was important before the pandemic, but it’s now the difference between success and failure.
Thinking ahead, we’ve selected some trends that’ll help you boost your eCommerce and business strategy in 2021.
As we discussed in this webinar for the Design & Craft Council of Ireland, social media is becoming a top channel for purchase. A recent report shows that almost half of Irish adults use social media every day. The figure rises to nearly four out of every five adults aged 15-34. These consumers find it easier to discover and buy products whilst navigating online, and social media can help you make their path to purchase seamless.
‘Social Commerce’ is simply selling products through your social media platforms, rather than driving traffic to your website, where people will be able to finalise the purchase. Hootsuite reports that it’s already an $89.4 billion market — expected to rocket to a staggering $600 billion in the next seven years! Remember the revolution in online commerce when Amazon launched? This is starting to take off right now on socials. Apart from Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest is also offering social commerce solutions. If you don’t have a social shop yet, get on it right away and learn more about these platforms and its possibilities. You need to provide a simple way for your fans and followers to buy your products.
Undoubtedly, this will be a challenging year, with no end of the pandemic in sight. One bright side is that technology will evolve to tackle new demands from customers worldwide. To keep up to date on the latest digital developments, watch this space! Matrix’s specialists are working hard to offer you advice, guidance and to help you navigate the whole area of eCommerce. Stay tuned!
By Rakky Curvelo
By Conor McCaffrey