Eye on Retail: COVID-19 has helped many online retailers

Two-thirds of B2C and B2B e-commerce companies have reported neutral or positive impact on their sales from COVID-19.

According to “The State of Commerce Experience,” a new study from Bloomreach and Forrester Consulting, 68% of B2C and B2B e-commerce respondents report their business has seen relatively no impact (22%), continues to grow as a result of a spike in online sales (40%) or seeing unprecedented growth (6%) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of the remaining 32% say they will need to downsize significantly and/or lay off employees (28%), with 2% saying their business will likely need to permanently close due to the cost of having to close stores and 2% saying their business will likely need to permanently close because they can’t produce what they need to.

The survey also tracked e-commerce respondents’ planned budget increases for the next 12 months, both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Some interesting changes occurred after the pandemic.

Top three budget increases next 12 months pre-COVID:

Third-party marketplaces 68%
Wholesale distribution 66%
Direct website 65%

Top three budget increases next 12 months post-COVID:
Direct website 64%
Mobile app 58%
Social media 52%

For consumer respondents, the top three channels to research a product/service are online marketplaces, a reseller’s direct website, and a brand’s direct website. When it comes to purchasing, consumers most frequently use a retailer/manufacturer’s direct site, online marketplaces, or a reseller’s direct site. Additionally, 65% of consumers research a product online before they go to a physical store. 

Whether researching or purchasing products, 72% of consumers report challenges from out-of-stocks to difficulty finding answers to questions. 

For the study, Forrester surveyed 640 consumers and B2B customers who make online purchases for their organizations and 320 digital experience and e-commerce decision makers at B2C and B2B businesses selling through their own online channels in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany in March 2020. As COVID-19 became a concern in April 2020, Forrester re-contacted 315 consumers and B2B customers and 50 businesses selling online who participated in the original survey to ask about changes in their behaviors and priorities.

(Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on our sister site