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E-commerce and the coronavirus

The whole world economy is feeling the business effects of the coronavirus – COVID-19. The answer to what is going on are the stock exchanges, which are experiencing rapid declines. In all this there is e-commerce, a strong and dynamically developing branch of the market. It is thanks to online technology that today Poles can: do grocery shopping, do official business, provide themselves with entertainment or use e-learning. Today, e-commerce is still doing well, as long as logistics and banks are in place, we can all make transactions online. As long as consumers have money and are not afraid of a possible recession (hardly anyone thinks about it) e-commerce will be fine, although the growth dynamics may decrease. What if we don’t overcome the pandemic as quickly as we would like and everything will be extended for another month.
 

Online Stores

The quieter ones who have managed to pass the digital transformation. The happier, those who have been in e-grocery and over the years have not been able to experience the predicted double-digit increases in e-commerce. Today is their time! It is now they can show themselves, let themselves be remembered by consumers. Online stores trading in food and home products have a chance which they will probably not have for another 10-15 years. The current situation may make buyers change their shopping habits.
 
Today, online stores have to meet the increased demand for products and thus the shortage of wholesalers. They also have to provide security for their employees, partly reorganize the companies, but at the same time give the possibility of shopping. One could say that online stores and all e-commerce is socially responsible today. We can also see that e-shops and online services surprise us with something new every day, e.g. by offering free grocery shopping supplies for people over 60 years old, giving donations etc. Apart from the cases of exorbitant prices and the willingness to take advantage of the situation excessively, the Polish business is working well and is able to unite with consumers.
 

Delivery services

Internet stores also seem to be at the mercy of parcel delivery companies in a way. Before Christmas, logistics companies are prepared to bum, today, when it comes to security, this is also a test for them.
 
Once again, we have an example of how great the Parcel Machines are. During an epidemic, when it is recommended to minimize contact, self-service Paczkomaty with a smartphone application, which enables contactless opening, is a complete solution in times of danger. In addition, inPost has introduced sending and receiving parcels at weekends (for an additional fee of less than 5 PLN), which means that customers can buy something on Saturday and pick it up on Sunday.
 
Maybe Italy is not the best example, but couriers deliver parcels there too. In an interview with a representative of DPD I received information that DPD is ready and will continue to deliver parcels. I heard comment that the couriers may introduce some additional security rules, expecting from the online stores confirmation that the addressee is not under quarantine. Although at the moment it is hard for me to imagine it in stores that send at least hundreds of orders a day. The Polish Post Office works, and the letter carriers also deliver and do not plan to stop their activities. Let’s remember, however, that in case of an extreme crisis situation, everything can change.

 

Payments

Another component of e-commerce, i.e. payments and another chance to change buyers’ habits. In Poland so far, even half of the transactions have been made on delivery. Today, when it is recommended not to pay in cash, and the use of cards and contactless payments, shoppers also want to switch to online payments. Couriers also strive to equip all drivers with terminals so that they do not accept cash, although it is still cash on delivery but additionally a good way to change their habits.

…another threat?
 

Let’s remember that if the crisis continues and consumers feel that their savings are melting away without knowing what the future holds, they will stop buying material goods, clothing, agd, rtv, etc. They will save and buy only the most needed products.
 

Writing this article, working from home, I wonder if the servers themselves and the Internet load are not a threat. For a long time it has been said that we have an excess of data on the network, today it is also a test for the whole infrastructure that compels you to read this article.
 

Marcin Rudzik
CEO at the Brand Active e-commerce agency, creator of the podcast "Merytorycznie o eCommerce", e-commerce mentor in AIP Incubators. He regularly appears at conferences and writes articles for industry magazines. A passionate firefighter in the Volunteer Fire Department.

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