Shopping in the time of Covid:
who won and who will win?
In just three months, in many ways, we have jumped ahead ten years: I think there has been a disruptive change in the way we shop. Not being able to go out, we all found ourselves shopping from home and even buying anything online. It was a primary need, not a luxury. It was a necessity to try it out.
Many people did this for the first time, discovering a new and fascinating world. But who profited from it? All for the benefit of online shopping leaders like Amazon? I don’t think so. I think instead that the Pandemic has created some problems for Amazon, if not in the short term, then in a few months. Because it awoke the traditional Retail, the sleeping giant, who was waiting to invest heavily in online shopping.
Given the problems that Amazon had during the lock down, with deliveries for some products moved to a month when we were used to having our orders at home in a few hours, we were forced to look elsewhere. We visited and discovered much more specialized sites, where we realized that the offering can be more comprehensive and you can pay a few euros more for a new shopping experience and surprisingly good service.
Companies that didn’t engage in the e-commerce business seriously, had to equip themselves. Traditional retail realized that without a 24-hour online channel, and with closed stores, they were in danger of extinction. As the emergency partially subsided, once you could return to stores, both retailer and customer realized that the shopping experience had changed dramatically. You have to queue outside the store, you can’t be slow because there are people outside waiting, the dressing rooms have to be sanitized after each step, often with distrust and prudence on the part of the customer.
Then maybe it’s better to buy online and discover that there’s not only Amazon in the wonderful world of online shopping. Many have overcome the laziness of opening a new account, re-entering credit cards, trusting a new player: Amazon is too convenient, from desire to purchase in less than 5 minutes. And in just a few hours, the product is delivered. Now that we’ve broken the ice, we’ve all discovered that there are many other stores on the net … and many have great products and amazing service.
For those who still do not trust buying online, there are also alternative ways: Yamamay, for example, invites customers to call, buying with the help of a personal shopper, ordering and receiving everything at home, without going to the store. If what you ordered doesn’t fit, you can return it.
Large-scale retail started some time ago with click & collect, but the pandemic has also given an incredible boost to this formula. You shop online and pick it up from the store, a McDrive of shopping, with the advantage of finding everything ready and not being forced to walk between one mask and another through the shelves.
The Pandemic has provided great opportunities for large food delivery companies such as Glovo and Deliveroo, who have worked in the cities like never before, delivering anything at home. The demand was extremely high and they equipped themselves accordingly: home deliveries of food from restaurants, stationary, packages and clothes deliveries… with a bike courier that you can follow on your smartphone. They started with food but now they deliver anything to support the stores. All this will create intense competition for Amazon, because people will come to appreciate the specialized offer of local stores and this will offer them a huge chance to take revenge.
Amazon has shown the world the way, the Pandemic has forced everyone, even my greengrocer, to follow its example and it may be that something has changed …
Article written by Andrea Verri, CEO & Founder of Amilon