DIRECT MEDIA United Solutions
Written by: Milica Vještica Pažin, Digital Specialist, DIRECT MEDIA United Solutions
Consumers’ distrust, as one of the crucial stumbling blocks for e-commerce, seems to have been overcome easily during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the distribution remains a challenge.
Closing of retail facilities and isolation of consumers, significantly affected the buyers’ behaviour, as, over this period, they have been turning to online shopping more than ever before. Even e-commerce giants, such as China, have been recording an increase in online shopping during the pandemic, with 50% of Chinese consumers saying they shopped more often online for the products they would have normally purchased in stores. In Italy e-commerce increased by 31%, and, in the USA, the applications for the ordering of groceries recorded an increase of installations by as much as 218% daily.
Everything that can be bought online is simply growing. The number of Netflix subscribers will double the number estimated early this year. An increase of 3.8%, instead of forecasted 1.6%.
Online shopping in Serbia is growing – the sentence that has been heard quite often over the last few years and, especially, over the last few days, is also quite accurate, with certain reservations. On the e-commerce map of the world, there are no data on the Serbian market.
According to the analysis of the data available to our agency, e-commerce in Serbia has grown three or four times since the pandemic began. Indeed, everything indicates that online shopping was on the path of development, but from this standpoint it seems it was not developing fast enough. With the expected growth of online shopping during the epidemic in Serbia, there was a simultaneous decline in that type of shopping due to lack of logistics to satisfy the demand. The upward and downward trend can be easily observed on the following graph that we have created based on Google Analytics data.
The situation in the region is similar to the situation in Serbia. The participants of the first Direct Talks webinar from Podgorica, Priština, Tirana, Skoplje and Belgrade agreed that e-commerce is experiencing the necessary boom. Thus in Montenegro, the buzz word over the last weeks is PODO (purchase online delivery offline), while according to the words of our colleagues from Tirana, the Albanian retailers excelled in handling distribution. All retailers promptly set up communication technology and turned to online shopping which can function even via WhatsApp application. They adapted to online distributors, i.e. courier services in very short time, and the deliveries now take place the same day in four or five hours.
What has been stated above points put the equal importance of every participant in the market in the whole chain of online shopping. Equivalently important digital ecosystem members for the e-commerce development are small and large shops, logistics – courier services, payment institutions, companies developing solutions for online payment, marketing agencies, as well as media companies.
The good news is that the situation regarding the coronavirus has shortened the whole process, at least when it comes to the awareness on this issue, as the retailers and shops have become aware not only of importance of having online sale in emergencies such as this one, but also of the necessity for that type of sale to function expeditiously. Besides, although the consumers are now more aware of the e-commerce importance, they too will need to educate themselves on how to shop and from whom.
Despite all shortcomings, I believe that it is now the full potential and the necessity of online shopping have been recognized, as this is when we cannot go out and do our shopping in the way we used to it, due to the safety reasons concerning both ours and health of other people.
As much as the current situation regarding coronavirus is uncertain and not at all simple, there is a bright future ahead of e-commerce, and, consequently, ahead of the whole digital ecosystem when it comes to shopping online.