The online shopping basket has increased tremendously since the break out of COVID -19 and its restrictive protocols. Many people now seeing the constraints on time and movement especially have resulted in online channels to get whatever they need. In doing so, demands online for new categories of products have emerged; forcing online retailers to meet those demands. This has been the trend all over the world.
It is also believed that as we spend more time now at home most people have now come to realize some basic essentials they need at home and are turning to the online retailers to come to their rescue.
Space here in Ghana has also seen lots of new entrants who see it as an essential channel to integrate into their businesses if they really want to survive the times.
High online orders
It is obvious that all over the world there was a surge in online demands for various products and services. For example, in the US it was reported that the year-on-year in April was about 68% in revenue growth. Exponential growths in online retail revenue have also been reported for China and India and countries in Europe.
Here in Ghana we also had our share of the surge in demand for various products online.
For existing online retailers, we have seen circumstances changing, customers want their products delivered as early as possible. We are being pushed to forego our existing shipping policies and change them to suit the new demands. Customers are willing to pay a little more to get their products quicker. In fact, with essential products and meals being in high demand online today, we can’t afford to delay deliveries citing the usual excuses. This is really stretching our logistics and supply chains. Our partner courier service providers have come under a lot of pressure from us as customers keep calling to track their orders. Should we do the deliveries ourselves this time?
There is clear evidence of s surge in the online retail activities during this COVID-19 period. You have more customers shifting online to search and make orders. Then you have more retailers also moving online.
There is a greater possibility as many people test and see online channels as good as visiting the malls or Makola or Tudu, many will pick on this new habit and prefer online shopping even after COVID-19. Saving time for essential things will become a great fit for many as we have all seen the need to be at home and spend more time with our loved ones. This offers a great opportunity for online retailers to satisfy customers now, in order to retain them as future customers.
New Online Categories
As an online retailer myself and being an active player in the space, I have noticed with keen interest what the COVID-19 situation has done to the industry. Aside from having a new crop of customers making more demands, another major trend is the shift in the categories online retailers are now dealing in.
As an industry that requires retailers to be responsive to the demand of customers, category volumes are shifting drastically. Online retail here in Ghana, which used to be the preserve of mainly electronic products, phones, computers and their accessories now have to accommodate almost anything sellable.
During the Covid-19 lockdowns, there was a significant drop in the demand for things like big electronic products. However, the demand for blenders, juicers, kettles, microwaves saw some marginal increases. This could be attributed to the fact that most families staying at home had to do lots of cooking as we were in lockdown.
Demand for Groceries was high during the lockdown period. This really challenged most of us in the space who, all of a sudden had to shift attention to the demand from customers. In fact, most of us couldn’t fulfil the huge amount of demands that came in. We didn’t have enough stock to supply in most cases. The suppliers have also shut their businesses and were at home. We did the best we could though.
Another category that was also in high demand what I term as pharma. Under this category, people were demanding things like sanitizers, disinfectants, hand gloves and nose masks. In fact for the fear of being mistaken as a potential COVID-19 patient, people stayed at home and were searching online for over the counter drugs to fight common flu and cough.
We also had a high demand for cooked food. Restaurants and food entrepreneurs who quickly launched online also had a fair share of the demand.
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