The Impact of a Global Pandemic on Online Business and Marketing

Posted on 4 min.

The global pandemic is proving to be something quite new and unprecedented. Sure, it’s not the first pandemic that the planet is facing but it is the first major pandemic in recent history that has introduced so much change to the world as we know it. People’s behaviour, the global economy and even the global news reporting patterns are wildly different than what they were in the past. Wherever you turn, you will hear something new about the COVID-19 and face masks, instead of being a surgeon’s accessory, have turned into a mandatory part of the appeal. Here are some impacts that the global pandemic has on online businesses and marketing.

1.    Shopping behaviour

The first thing worth mentioning is the impact of the pandemic on shopping behaviour. First of all, you have panic buying, which is a much more extreme form of impulse buying. Due to the fact that, in March and April, people bought huge quantities of flour and toilet paper, the store shelves were virtually empty. This is why whenever there’s a rumour of a new lockdown, people rush to stores in order to buy these items. Now, online buying is even more prominent in this field for several reasons, first, it’s safer in the pandemic. Second, online suppliers seem to be better stocked.Another impact on shopping behaviour comes from economic uncertainty. People are losing their jobs and are unable to cover their rent. Even those who can pay their rent, at the moment, could be unsure of whether they’ll be able to do so in the future. This is why a lot of people are reluctant to buy items they see as luxury or unnecessary. Also, due to the severe impact on the global economy, the purchasing power all over the world is rapidly going down. This impacts online shopping behaviour quite a bit.

2.    Online sales are growing

Numerous statistics indicate that online sales and delivery businesses are booming in these trying times. First of all, the general perception of this form of retail is that it’s so much safer. First of all, you’re only in touch with the person doing delivery and they are taking all the steps of precaution necessary. Compare this to buying in a crowded mall and you will see the difference. Still, this is just one of the reasons why people buy online.

Other than this, you need to understand that in a lot of countries with an active lockdown, this is the only reason to get resupplied. The government itself has prevented the work of so many retail centres and stores but online businesses (along with their delivery services) are still quite active. The same goes for restaurants. Sure, a restaurant may not be able to open for guests but it may still offer delivery services. The food industry is always a priority and there is no way for a lockdown to further restrict or prohibit it.

3.    Logistics problems and cargo standards

Another thing important to keep in mind is the problem of logistics. The crucial matter here is that the majority of businesses still depend on global trade. Their suppliers are abroad and with different countries having different levels of alertness, these things are definitely not simple. The key thing you need to understand is that getting a reliable freight quote is more important now than it ever was in the past. It is also pivotal that one finds a freighting company that can pass all the regulations.

Some of these rules, laws and pandemic measures involve the total number of ships that a harbour can receive in a day. Therefore, the efficiency of freight may be seriously impacted. Fortunately, with the right cargo company, one can easily optimize the cost of their import/export, thus still operating in a positive net balance.

4.    Digital marketing and the pandemic

The relationship between the pandemic and the state of digital marketing is a complex and nuanced one. First of all, people determine their digital budget according to their average annual revenue. So, they set aside 10-50% of their average annual revenue on marketing (depending on the competitiveness of the industry). Nowadays, the majority of businesses are struggling financially, which leaves little room for major marketing investments. Still, some businesses will survive and it’s safe to bet that marketing will be the determiner. So, despite the current situation, the majority of entrepreneurs still plan to spend big on digital marketing.

There is another thing that is giving digital marketing a sizable edge. Traditional forms of marketing like printed materials are no longer deemed as safe. Imagine an area that is heavily afflicted by COVID-19. Now, imagine a square where a person is distributing brochures of a certain company. Not only is this unsafe and unwise but it may also make a lot of people develop a negative sentiment toward it. Sadly, this is the case with the majority of promotional merchandise nowadays.

In conclusion

Finally, while things are hardly ideal, both online enterprises and digital marketing seem to be more resilient to this situation. In the end, you need to understand the fact that the impact of a global pandemic keeps growing, expanding and evolving. In other words, the pandemic is far from over. Still, if all the projections are accurate, the position of online businesses and digital marketing seems to be in a solid spot.