The Covid pandemic has resulted in unprecedented levels of online shopping. In Italy, Canada, and the US, the rate of year-on-year growth during the month of December was around 50%. Other European markets had high increases in online shopping as well. 

Unfortunately, lockdowns and restrictions are still underway in many important markets around the world. Due to restrictions, a large part of the demand for products has moved online and it is important for merchants to be able to intercept these growing market opportunities.

In this article, we present some insightful statistics that showcase the boom of ecommerce shopping as well as actionable ways to capitalize on the opportunities now and through the remainder of 2021. 

Statistics that illustrate the increase in Covid online shopping 

When comparing the entire year of 2019 to 2020, the US experienced a year-on-year growth of 32.4%. And when analyzing December 2020 against December 2019, year-on-year growth was 46.8%.

This reveals the intensity of winter lockdowns in December in the United States, as well as shoppers’ discomfort about indoor crowds. 

Italy had the highest rate of year-on-year growth for the month of December (54.6%), with Canada coming in second (52.0%).

As we can see, the countries with the highest Covid rates and restrictions experienced the highest levels of online shopping.

December 2020 growth of online shopping due to Covid

Much of this growth was capitalized on by massive online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Zalando and others.

However, small and medium sized ecommerce companies have the opportunity to experience growth as well. Below are several ways to capture the surge of online shopping due to Covid. 

7 ways to capture the surge in online shopping as an ecommerce brand

As restrictions continue into 2021 for many important ecommerce markets, your brand can serve the influx of online shoppers.

To do so, you’ll need a killer combination of smart advertising spend, trend-watching, and a better customer experience. Let’s explore methods for improving each. 

1. Boost visibility of your top-selling products

To attract new shoppers to your brand, you should focus on what’s already working. What are your top-selling products?

These are the products you should prioritize on your website, with your paid advertising, and with your influencer marketing campaigns.

Piquadro uses the home page of their website to send traffic straight to their most popular backpack for men.

Piquadro backpack

You might also choose to focus more of your marketing efforts on your most profitable product, or the one that leads to the highest amount of repeat purchases from customers. 

2. Use current trends to your advantage

Now is the time to hop on trends. What does your target audience truly want? 

When you use trends, you can lower your customer acquisition costs because you’re satisfying existing demand and interest, rather than attempting to drum up audience excitement from scratch.

Pinterest search trends

With Pinterest Trends, you can view top pinning and searching trends for three key markets: the US, the UK, and Canada.

For more trend watching, make a list of the top 50 influencers that your target audience follows, and see what sort of products and topics they’re posting about. 

When you find a trend that matches your product offerings, use it as inspiration for a social media ad campaign, influencer marketing campaign, or press outreach.

3. Invest more of your paid advertising budget in search

Before the pandemic, you might have allocated more of your paid advertising to social media PPC rather than paid search in an attempt to get in front of new audiences that weren’t actively searching your products.

Because of the influx of online shopping due to Covid, there have been higher search volumes for products, inspiration, and other shopping-related queries. Use this to your advantage and make sure you’re setting aside enough of your marketing budget to capture traffic from searches that are perfect for your business.

4. Target your most profitable metro regions

The city dwellers in your audience could be experiencing the most advanced restrictions, due to higher population densities which tend to cause higher case incidents. Of course, this depends on the markets you sell in. 

Location-based targeting can be applied to both social media ads and Google search ads to help you increase sales. For example, if there are metros that are undergoing more strict lockdowns, you can include this location criteria so that only people searching for your products in certain cities will see your ads. 

los angeles metro
milan metro

5. Offer better shipping options

In order to capture more online shopping traffic, you need better shipping options. 

Perhaps you can offer free shipping for key markets when the cart order value is over a certain amount. And you might also want to include expedited options, in case your customer needs the product as soon as possible.

delivery options

With ShippyPro, you can integrate your checkout with multiple carriers to get plenty of options with accurate rates. This can help boost your checkout conversion rates.

6. Be more generous with your return policy

A more generous return policy can also help boost your conversion rates. Large online retailers have trained customers to expect free or low-cost, flat-rate returns.

You might have stalled on offering a generous return policy for fear of the operational backlash. But when you use ShippyPro’s Easy Return feature, you can enable automatic return initiation and label printing. 

With ShippyPro, you can create automated rules to allow and disallow returns. Then simply copy and paste the HTML code for the returns portal and add it to your own website.

Ecommerce return portal

7. Create and optimize a loyalty programme

Revolve launched it’s loyalty programme in March of 2020 in order to supercharge its already impressive rates of customer retention.

To further strengthen its already deep relationship with high-spending millennials and Gen Z customers, the digitally native fashion retailer took a left-brained approach when designing its loyalty program. Data shows that REVOLVE garners a high customer lifetime value — 92 percent of customers browse the site once a month or more, and nearly half make purchases while visiting. Repeat customers are the lifeblood of REVOLVE’s business, generating 71 percent of total orders and accounting for 74 percent of the brand’s total net sales in 2019. – Tom Caporaso

The more that customers spend, the higher points per dollar they’re able to receive, in order to rack up generous rewards. 

Revolve loyalty programme
Revolve loyalty programme details

Manage shipments with ShippyPro

Growing your ecommerce business isn’t just about marketing and PR.

You also need to create a superior customer experience when it comes to shipping and returns. With ShippyPro, you can easily offer multiple shipping options as well as free or affordable returns in order to convert more online shoppers.

Start your free 30 days trial today.