More data emerged this week showing how dramatically the pandemic has impacted how small businesses operate. The digital marketing services platform Spotzer published a blog post showing that the company has built 133% more eCommerce sites year to date in 2020 vs all of 2019. Between March and August this year, Spotzer reports requests for eCommerce websites grew 180% vs the same span last year.
This data, while dramatic, isn’t particularly surprising.
We all know the story. As the pandemic led to shutdowns and shelter at home orders, consumers moved dramatically to eCommerce. An IBM study suggests that consumer eCommerce adoptions accelerated five years past pre-COVID predictions. Perhaps the best illustration of the COVID acceleration everyone keeps talking about. Naturally, small businesses had no choice but to follow in order to have a chance of hanging onto their customers.
“We did think that there would be a big increase, not just with e-commerce but also with websites and booking tools for takeaway services for businesses that would not have traditionally considered e-commerce,” Spotzer CEO Peter told Localogy Insider.
Localogy’s Modern Commerce Monitor™ quantified this phenomenon in its Wave V-III, conducted in July. We found that nearly half, 44%, of SMBs had invested in enhancing their online selling capabilities in response to the pandemic.
So we dug a little deeper and found SMBs had pursued online selling through a variety of channels. Launching a presence on an online marketplace like Amazon or Etsy being the most common. Fewer chose to build their own online stories using platforms like Shopify.
Urmson’s observations gibe with the MCM findings.
“Businesses are paying more attention to their websites and e-commerce needs,” he told Localogy Insider. “They are very attentive to content and services. Our inbound customer care call volumes have increased significantly as businesses are paying more attention to their digital products and want to make sure they can be easily found and connected with. We see our role is to support them in difficult times and provide great service with great products to reduce their stress levels.”
Building a Store Isn’t the Same as Selling
While the small business rush to eCommerce is well documented, it is, again, not surprising. Spotzer’s dramatic growth in eCommerce website sales is yet another point of validation. What we don’t yet fully understand is how successful small businesses have been in generating eCommerce revenue.
Urmson told us that even as lockdowns have eased, eCommerce volumes on Spotzer’s eCommerce stores suggest there is traction for SMEs. And it also points to a permanent shift. Some of this may be related to the widespread view that the pandemic is far from over.
“The order volumes are just increasing month after month,” Peter told us. “We believe that businesses have now changed at how they look at doing business on a permanent basis. Second and third waves have made people risk-averse and so they want to make sure they can continue to do business through digital services.”
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