COVID-19 and the rise of e-commerce

We are all coming to terms with the fact that COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon. Changes in consumer habits have taken place on a massive scale due to lockdown and social distancing degrees. Trends of cocooning at home, working remotely and spending less time travelling has intensified as consumers spend more time and money from the comfort of their home.

While we have seen many companies’ doors close down due to low foot traffic and sales, we have also witnessed many companies taking the opportunity to pivot their businesses and start an online shop.


New preferences for shopping online (especially locally) have become more popular than ever, within all age groups, all in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. Having no choice but to use this ‘new’ form of shopping, we see older generations embracing eCommerce whereas previously they were completely against shopping online.

Consumers are more comfortable buying online, it’s safer and there is a sense of supporting local companies via eCommerce. When COVID-19 initially hit we saw more consumers fall victim to fear-mongering and bulk/panic buying online. Many businesses, unfortunately, took advantage of the fact and we saw an incremental increase in the prices of goods.

Not only have we seen a rise in the sale of products and groceries through eCommerce but other forms of eCommerce have also benefited hugely due to COVID-19’s impact. These include online learning and subscription-based platforms which have seen an increase with people wanting to enrol in new courses, learn new skills or become part of online communities.

What has been amazing to see is how delivery companies have also adapted to COVID-19, putting in place various steps and measures to ensure hygiene and safe delivery. This all plays an important role in the reason why eCommerce is thriving and we believe will be for the foreseeable future.

Many future plans for eCommerce have been expedited by the pandemic and forced business owners to consider and launch eCommerce stores much sooner than expected, at the same time massively benefiting from the adoption of eCommerce by the consumers.

Companies with existing online stores have also taken this opportunity to implement new features and enhancements to their eCommerce shops, due to the surge in demand. These include new product categories, product ranges, vouchers and discount codes, additional payment methods, improved order tracking, live chat facilities and cart abandonment functionality.


An online shop is not enough, you need traffic to your eCommerce website, which is essentially your prospective customers. However traffic itself isn’t enough, what you need are sales and conversions.

Loads of traffic without sales is pointless, a waste of marketing budget and digital marketing efforts. Highly specialised online campaigns to reach out and grab your ideal customer is what is going to be the key to converting traffic into sales.

Clever online marketing strategies are needed and results driven campaigns need to be launched and target serious buyers (not your everyday window shoppers).

Many companies boast about their huge traffic number but what you should actually be interested in are sales and conversions. Traffic is simply a vanity metric without being backed up by the sales statistics.


COVID-19 will permanently reshape eCommerce as we know it, separating the winners from the rest.

Since the rise of the pandemic, we have definitely seen a rise in clients wanting to go the eCommerce route and appointing us to develop, launch and market their online shops. Numerous companies are pivoting their business and readjusting their operations to adapt to fulfilling the world of eCommerce and moving away from traditional brick and mortar type operations.

When wanting to launch an online shop, we understand that there are so many factors to take into account and choosing the right solution is a daunting task. Don’t worry we’ve helped many clients through the entire process from building and launching their eCommerce store, to designing and running highly successful results driven digital marketing campaigns.

If you are looking to take advantage of this surge in eCommerce, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Contact us for more information.

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Having been established in 2005, in Cape Town, South Africa, Elemental is primarily focused on providing web development services and digital marketing campaigns.