How Is Coronavirus Affecting E-Commerce and Digital Marketing?

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How Is Coronavirus Affecting E-Commerce and Digital Marketing?


The behavior of customers in the past few weeks have changed drastically. All the previous research and analysis has suddenly become unreliable. The customer’s priority has gone through unexpected shifts throwing the entire business world off-balance.

As the number of people affected by CoronaVirus is increasing every day, we cannot deny the blatant truth that’s staring right at us. Many businesses have been severely hit with their sales reducing by 50% or more. However, all bad things come with a silver lining and this silver lining happens to be for e-commerce businesses and digital marketing agencies. 

Here is how e-commerce businesses and digital marketing agencies are faring due to the shifts in customer behavior.

What Are the Noticeable Changes in E-Commerce Businesses due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

During the CoronaVirus scare that’s taking over the world, more and more e-commerce businesses have registered noticeable differences since the pandemic has set in.

1. Increasing Activity of Digital Grocery Shopping

According to a recently conducted survey about consumer activity for shopping for groceries digitally, there is a noticeable spike in the last month. You can clearly see that in the first week of March, 11% of US adults shopped online more while it increased to 16% in the second week, 30% in the third week and ended with a 37% increase in the fourth week of March.

Since many countries are under total lock-down and the number of CoronaVirus victims is increasing, there is a common fear of getting infected with the virus. This makes people look for alternate options through which they can get the essential things they need without stepping outside their homes. 

E-commerce companies selling groceries online have registered a massive surge in the orders, so much in fact that many have to shut down accepting orders for a few days to get back on track. So, as far as the e-commerce websites selling groceries are concerned, these past few weeks have brought in unimaginably more sales and an increased number of new users.

2. Supply Chains Getting Strained

While on the one hand, the orders are pouring in for e-commerce businesses, they are struggling to keep their supply chain adequate to meet the increase in demand. Since the movements of people are restricted due to the lock-down and many employees who are working in the field are reluctant to put their lives in danger, there is a huge deficiency of qualified employees.

There is a shortage of people manning the warehouses, carrying out the orders and delivering products. This leads to a wide gap in the supply chain.

3. Delays in Deliveries and Transport Issues

Another problem that is becoming quite common among e-commerce businesses is delayed shipping. Some e-commerce service providers, like Amazon, are turning down orders that don’t come under essential goods to ensure that they put the entire workforce they have to proper use.

Even with e-commerce service providers trying their best to offer fast turnaround times, there is a significant delay in the deliveries. With consumers getting accustomed to Amazon Prime’s two-day delivery services, this delay in delivery is causing unrest among customers waiting for the orders to arrive.

4. Increase in Customer Service Interactions

When people depend on the e-commerce companies to deliver essential items and add to it the delays in deliveries, the calls to customer service will obviously increase. In fact, 42% of companies are afraid that customer confidence in their services may decrease which could have an impact on their revenue, according to a recent survey of US retailers by Digital Commerce 360.

Many people are getting anxious when they don’t get their order delivered on the expected date as they aren’t left with many alternate options. Therefore, customer service channels are filled with a high number of customers inquiring about orders which which is creating massive backlogs in customer service responses. In fact, many e-commerce websites of small business are crashing due to the sudden increase in traffic. During such times, it’s important to have a strong e-commerce website design running on a robust platform to prevent these headaches for you and your customers. You can talk to our e-commerce experts at YellowFin Digital to strengthen your e-commerce website design to prevents these problems.

How Has the CoronaVirus Influenced Digital Marketing?

With the approach of people towards businesses changing, companies are more aware than ever in the marketing strategies they employ. COVID-19 has made a profound impact on digital marketing across numerous industries and is forcing marketers to reconsider their existing strategies. Let’s have a look:

1. Businesses Getting a Wakeup Call Towards Digital Marketing 

Since the traditional form of marketing is taking a hit, there is no other way but to turn towards digital marketing to connect with current and potential customers. Companies which previously didn’t give thought to digital marketing are now taking a hard look at it. 

Many businesses are leaning towards different innovative strategies of digital marketing. You can see significant growth in the efforts to increase organic traffic by offering innovative content in the hopes of staying in front of potential customers.

2. Reconsidering Online Ad Expenditure

In a recent survey conducted by Digiday towards the end of March 2020, 73% of companies are pausing their marketing spend in the wake of coronavirus.

In fact, digital ad spend is down by 33%, according to a survey published by IAB on March 27, 2020. This is attributed to the reduction in the marketing expenditure, which is again affected by the revenue the company brings in. Another reason is that businesses are unsure of how customers think. Advertisements are generally for promoting products or services and with our world in an uncertain state, marketing products outright may bring negative responses from customers.

So, companies are sticking to good old organic content which gives more space to innovate and create better pieces that show the business in the best light.

3. Changes in the Messages Sent Through Digital Marketing

As we touched upon in previous point, companies are in no position to toot their own horn about their products. They must be cause and take a bit more sensitive approach in these times when people are worried about a lot of the basics of life. 

This is why many marketers have changed the messages that get conveyed through their marketing. There is a 42% increase in mission-based marketing and a 41% increase in cause-based marketing, according to a recent IAB survey.

Businesses are more careful than ever in the way they are perceived and are showing their support towards the community in these hard times through their well thought out marketing strategies. 

4. Increase in Social Media Marketing

According to a survey conducted by the Global Web Index in March 2020, almost 45% of people are spending more time on social media. Since many are working from home or taking a break from work to stay safe at home, they tend to spend more time on their social media accounts. So, many companies are focusing more on social media marketing to interact with their audience directly. 

There is also jump in influencer marketing on social media. Companies that are investing in social media marketing now are particular about the type of image they are portraying to their target customers. Creative and user-centric content is what people prefer right now and businesses are concentrating more on creating non-promotional content. 

The world of e-commerce business and digital marketing is going through a major change in the wake of the CoronaVirus. Companies have to adapt to a customer-focused approach and keep in mind that this too shall pass. But the behavior of the companies during this period won’t be forgotten. So, be it a digital marketing agency or an e-commerce business, companies have to tread carefully by keeping being sensitive to current mindset of their customers.