Here’s How Commerce Has Changed Since the COVID-19 Pandemic

It seems like the world of commerce has changed overnight.

With so many people choosing to work and stay at home to mitigate health risks associated with the Novel Coronavirus, its no surprise that many of them have been turning to e-commerce to get their necessities like food & beverage and groceries (and, you know, the occasional splurge).

In fact, you would be surprised to find out how commerce has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic was announced.


Shopping behaviour has changed significantly since March this year. The biggest development is none other than the explosion of eCommerce.

Statista has reported that eCommerce revenue amounts to US$2,784m which is a 19.1% year on year increase. The bulk of the revenue lies in electronics and media.

Countless renowned brick & mortar businesses have also made the move to go online. Similarly, businesses that are already online have been ramping up their digital efforts during this period and stick it out as best they can.

Cart abandonment statistics have changed significantly since 2019 as well.

Even Google, the digital giant itself, has also made significant changes to appeal to users and do its part to combat the virus.

But what behavioural patterns have emerged to address the changing shopping behaviour?

Let’s take a deeper look at how how commerce has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic and how you can respond to these developments.

How Commerce Has Changed Since the COVID-19 Pandemic

how commerce has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic - online shopping

Internet usage has boomed because more people are choosing to stay at home.

People are shopping more online. That’s a given.

But how have brands adjusted to this?

Let’s take a look

1. Solution Strategies

These days, digital commerce is not just about buying and selling products & services. Instead, it it about buying and selling solutions. 

During these unprecedented times, there is a lot of fear and uncertainty in the air. Many B2C and B2B platforms have moved from product and brand strategies to a solution strategy. These solution strategies focus on delivering products & services without the need for a customer to leave his premises.

One example you might have seen or used is food delivery services. Mothership reported that Grab has seen a rise of 20% in food orders. Likewise, Channel News Asia also shared that Deliveroo has onboarded approximately 100 new restaurants. This way, customers can still enjoy hearty meals without having to leave their houses!

Some restaurants have even gone the extra mile by providing islandwide delivery.

Check out this example from local zi char restaurant Empress Porridge:

2. Support Marketing

During this challenging time, it is important for brands to lift their customers’ spirits.

Many brands have been channeling this aspect of support marketing with encouraging and uplifting content. Simple messages like checking in on their customers could go a long way in cheering a customer up and also building connections.

Some content topics we’ve noticed include:

  • How to work from home productively
  • Easy home recipes
  • How to stay fit without the gym
  • Best telecommuting platforms
  • How to enhance house-based learning

We’ve gotten one email from LinkedIn which perfectly encapsulates this idea of support marketing:

Example of EDM

3. Live-Streaming

Live-streaming isn’t exactly new. But it has somehow boomed over the past couple of weeks.

And its no wonder why – since mass gatherings and other group events are prohibited, organisers have opted to live-stream their content.

Even Korean boyband BTS livestreamed their performance on The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Source: The Late Late Show with James Corden

Pop star Dua Lipa also live-streamed a performance and included her backup dancers!

Source: The Late Late Show with James Corden

As far as commerce is concerned, brands have been jumping on the live-streaming trend by hosting launch parties and more. See this example by Xiaomi about their Mi10 Series below:

Source: Xiaomi

Here’s How You Can Respond to These Changes

The world is pretty unpredictable right now.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy you can capitalise in spite of how commerce has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there are some ways you can help your organisation tide over this difficult period.

Now that you understand how commerce has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s take a look at how your business can respond.

1. Don’t Just Sell… Help 

Sure, a good business exists to make profits.

But a great business contributes to the society.

Your business does not be in healthcare to lend a helping hand. The idea of “Help” in this context comes in many forms.

For instance, you could help customers who are facing budget difficulties by offering promotions or discounts on selected services.

You could also try looking into crafting helpful content on your website and share some joy during this gloomy period. Remind them that hey, we are all human and we could all take this opportunity to encourage one another.

Another way you could help is to advise your customers about how they can keep themselves safe.

2. Outsource if You Need To

how commerce has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic - outsource if you need to

If it is not within your capabilities, you might need to look into outsourcing certain services to a third-party. For instance, if your restaurant is unable to do islandwide delivery, get in touch with food delivery providers to do so.

3. Use Content that Works During the Pandemic

Every digital marketer knows that content is key.

But context is queen.

Whether long-form blog articles, emails, ad texts or even press releases, use uplifting language and send encouraging messages.

Use ideas that are relevant like building vitality, practicing good hygiene, working from home productively and how to be socially responsible during this time.

Try to stick to a positive but considerate tone.

4. Make Use of Online Resources

Use online resources to understand how commerce has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic

Google, Facebook and other digital giants have teamed up to offer resources and functions such as real-time updates and statistics and free Facebook templates. Use these tools to communicate accurate and helpful information to your target audience.

Navigating Through Uncertainty

During these unprecedented times, it is important to be adaptable and, more importantly, remain calm.

Now that you understand how commerce has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, do your best as a business to use this time to support your customers proactively. Give them the reassurance and solutions they need. Make sure you give your customers a convenient web experience so that they can get the information they need as quickly as possible.