E Commerce Post Pandemic: How has COVID-19 Affected Online Consumer Behaviour?

Maisie Franklin

Maisie Franklin

February 20, 2024

6 mins read

It is safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic will be a defining event of 2020. The New Normal, lockdown and global pandemic have all become new buzzwords in our everyday language.

As the world was forced to stop and slow down during the past year of lockdown it has been a pivotal time for most people who have adopted new hobbies, new ways of working and new online behaviours. In this blog post, I have specifically investigated E Commerce post pandemic. I explore how COVID-19 has affected online consumer behaviour and whether the changes are set to continue.

Seed & The COVID-19 Pandemic: Our Experience So Far. 

Whilst writing this, restrictions are easing, we are in the midst of May, and on the road to a lockdown free way of living (hopefully!). In Brighton, the streets have become more lively, the seagulls have more people to steal food from and people are slowly returning back to normality within offices.

As a Search Specialist Digital Marketing Agency in Brighton, we work with a range of different businesses from e-commerce to lead generation in a multitude of different sectors. Most businesses (including Seed) have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have had to pivot strategies for our clients in order to adhere to new buying behaviours online. Within this time, we have seen the e-commerce traffic and revenue boom as users were reliant on online to purchase all products. Due to this, for companies who heavily rely on revenue from their online platforms – this has helped businesses we work with scale and grow considerably during the past year.

So, will this trend continue on the upwards trajectory? Will people continue to adopt the same buying patterns and behaviours, post pandemic?


A Round Up of Key Facts In Relation to E Commerce Post Pandemic and Online Consumer Behaviour.

A recent report released by Shopify forecasted the way in which users intend to purchase post pandemic and behaviours they would like to keep.

Below is a quick summary of the key facts I found in regards to people’s buying behaviours using E Commerce post pandemic:

  1. Post pandemic E commerce online shopping is projected to be favoured by 75% of all UK consumers.
  2. 51% of consumers are expected to shop locally more often post-pandemic than they did before
  3. Cash is on the decline with demand for contactless payment options increasing rapidly, something that 70% of consumers indicated is important for them

How Have We Turned These Findings Into Actionable Insights For Our Clients?

As a fast moving digital agency, we change with time. So, when we were confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic, we shifted our focus, pivoted our strategies and became engulfed with the new wave of buying behaviours.

Below are some things that we learnt, whilst going through this journey with our clients!

1. A Strong Online Presence Is Key

Stat: E commerce, post pandemic is projected to be favoured by 75% of all UK consumers.  

As mentioned throughout this blog, we have seen the E commerce industry boom. A recent survey by Search Engine Online found that people are spending on average 10 – 30% more online than previously. This has forced businesses to adapt.

Retail shops that before didn’t have an online presence have been forced to create an online space for consumers to purchase in order to keep up with the changes and competitors, during the pandemic.

During this time at Seed, we have worked with our clients to ensure they have a strong presence online in order to stay ahead of the curve. Whether this is recommending a CMS to use or providing SEO or PPC services – we have supported our clients through the shift in buyer behaviours.

To gain visibility across SERPs and increase website presence it is now vital to market your website, with niche targeting and specialised content. Something that we love getting involved in at Seed!


2. A Seamless User Experience Should Be Non-Negotiable

As a nation of online shoppers, we all expect a seamless experience – one that matches the ease of buying in-store. With online shopping sometimes being less about brand loyalty, and more about price competitiveness, it is important to provide the best experience online – so that a new customer returns. This relies on an investment in user experience and usability to offer a competitive advantage and increase your market share.

Does your website offer the best user experience that it should?


3. Audience Personas May Have Changed

Retail businesses are seeing shifts from the balance between new customers and returning customers, with the rise in online shopping.

What may have been your target audience before the pandemic could have slightly shifted in-line with new behaviours. So, how does this change the way businesses should market products and services? This understanding of any new audiences for your business is key for growth in the immediate future and beyond, so you can tailor your strategies.


4. Local SEO Should Be At The Forefront of The Strategy

Stat: 51% of consumers are expected to shop locally, more often post-pandemic than they did before

The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on all businesses – but it is no secret that smaller businesses and self-employed people were unfortunately affected dramatically. In a recent white paper by Simple Business, it revealed that 67% of SMEs were forced to stop trading at some point during the pandemic. This impact sparked a new wave and respect for smaller businesses within the UK where many consumers turned to support them instead of larger corporations.

As stated, 51% of consumers expect to continue to support and shop locally more often post-pandemic. If you are a smaller business as well as an online presence, it is key to ensure your local SEO is up to scratch!

Local SEO allows you to market your business online, to a local audience, using optimisation techniques. Whether a consumer is checking stock levels for a product, or needs a product that is within walking / driving distance – local SEO could be the key to help your business thrive.

During the pandemic, we have worked with our clients to ensure that their local SEO is strong, optimising such tactics like Google My Business.


What Can We Learn From The COVID-19 Pandemic? 

Along with prioritising the time to unwind when needed, and how to make a banana bread – there are lots of things that we can learn from the Covid-19 pandemic. With online shopping becoming the forefront of buyer behaviours, it is now more important than ever for your business to occupy the space online.

If your business is looking for a post-pandemic strategy, whether that be SEO, Content or Paid services – please get in touch with our friendly team on 01273 286616 or email us at enquiries@helloseed.co.uk.

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