The new norm: Commerce in the age of Covid-19

The new norm: Commerce in the age of Covid-19

The new norm: Commerce in the age of Covid-19

We are living in unprecedented circumstances. Covid-19 has held our work and social lives at hostage. Most importantly, experts believe that our lives may not revert to the way they were just a few months ago – Covid-19 is most likely to cause long-term disruption to businesses, and will probably impose a new normal in many aspects of our lives.
The retail, shopping and digital commerce industry has gone through waves of changes through the last few months. Some changes are likely to be short-term and will revert to pre-Covid status… some changes are expected to result in long-term changes to establish a new norm.
The lockdown and movement restrictions have of course meant that customers cannot go out to shops and retail outlets – at least not often, if they can go at all. Instead, online sales have sky-rocketed for categories like groceries, household essentials, health and wellness products, and cleaning and hygiene products. On the other hand, categories like luxury goods, designer apparel and high-end electronics have taken a severe beating.


According to Covid-19 Commerce Insight: US retailers reported YoY revenue growth numbers in mid-April (+68%) surpassed those of early January (+49%). This is a good sign for the industry and an indicator that the average ticket value increased compared to earlier in the quarter.

Retail industry in flux
The retail industry will have to adapt to the changing circumstances posed by Covid-19. Depending on how the situation has affected the category of each business. As customers go through this tough phase, the best that businesses can do is support them in every way possible so as to emerge out of the situation with increased loyalty from these customers.
This may involve offering services that help customers overcome the impact of lockdown – such as different ways of ordering products and paying online, having them door-delivered with contactless or safe deliveries, fixing supply chain challenges and managing inventory of high-demand products etc. On the other hand, businesses will also have to adapt to long-term changes in shopping behaviors that will continue even after restrictions on movement and travel have been lifted.
Online – the new normal
Most e-commerce experts believe that those customers who have been forced to shop online due to the pandemic are likely to get into the habit of ordering online. Brick-and-mortar businesses that have till now resisted going online will have no option but to start e-commerce operations. Those that have existing web stores should use this time to roll out in different geographies to expand to more categories. With shopping going online, geographical boundaries are no longer a restriction when it comes to reaching out to an audience.



According to a survey done by Engine Group in March 2020, up to 42% of people surveyed said they have either increased their online shopping or thought of doing so in March 2020 in response to Coronavirus.


How can businesses prepare for the new normal?
  1. Reach out to customers with a online catalog of products with well-managed inventory updated on real-time basis
  2. Offer discounts and freebies to encourage customers to order during this period
  3. Make available safe delivery options such as contactless deliveries or pickups outside residential gates.
  4. Follow best practices established specifically for deliveries during the pandemic such as marking packages as safe (not touched by hand) or requiring sanitization (may have been handled by human hands and could be contaminated).
  5. Make sure your web store is mobile-optimized as the majority of shoppers are completing e-commerce transactions on mobile devices.
  6. Online ordering is being used extensively by those who are most at risk from the virus – which means a large number of older people, those with disabilities or those who are ailing. Make sure that your selection of products, the UX of your web store and the customer support you offer is well-aligned to these audiences.
  7. Offer shopping bots and live online to help customers complete their purchases.
  8. Roll out your web store to new geographies and fix logistics and deliveries to more locations
As you can see from the above points, all of these would require changes in various aspects such as planning, purchasing, inventory management, logistics and last-mile delivery.



According to a report by QuantumMetric in their COVID-19 Online Sales Impact Data: Online conversion rates increased 8.8% in February 2020, compared to February 2019 reflecting a level of shopping urgency typically seen during Cyber Mondays.

Digital Commerce Technologies & Accelerators
Businesses will need to re-strategize and make digital commerce a major part of their ongoing operations.
They will require robust technology with fast implementation cycles, flexible architecture and quicker time-to-value, in order to cope with these changes and still remain competitive. Even if this calls for capital expenditure, businesses will need to consider it as investment that is essential for business continuity.
Sapours RetailCX is a customized solution to simplify and speed up deployment of a
 modern e-storefront for your retail or F&B business
RetailCX is based on SAP Spartacus and relies on headless commerce capabilities to deliver PWA quickly and also facilitates quicker and easier daily updates to maintain better business agility.
  1. Faster development time helps cut development costs and go-live almost 40 percent quicker than traditional development
  2. Allows retailers to respond rapidly to changes in customer behavior or industry landscape
  3. Does not tie the retailer down to front-end limitations of any e-commerce platform or legacy system and allows for front-end to be changed independently
Want to discover how we can help you deliver a tailored online shopping experience to your customers?  



Vipin Killedar
Co-Founder and Director (Commerce)
Over 12 years of cross-cultural experience handling Technology and Systems across industries such as Retail, E-commerce, IT consulting and Logistics, and leading towards Digital Transformation.

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