A year ago, everyone's life changed. The digital world economy has also undergone major changes to keep up with this new reality. The context of the last twelve months has had a significant impact on e-commerce, mainly due to the exponential growth in demand. This migration trend from consumers to online platforms has forced even large retailers, such as Amazon, to adjust to the “new normal”. But will touch on that later.
Article by Rui Francisco | Reading time 7 minutes
First, we must understand the engine that led to this disruptive change. We must realize that all of this is customer-driven. It was the pandemic that forced people to stay home. With the limitations on going out, they started looking for solutions for retail purchases online, from supermarket goods to bread machines and prepared meals.
There was an increase in both penetration and frequency: an increase in new customers and in the consumption of those who already bought on digital platforms. On the side of new customers, it is interesting to note that the profile of the online consumer has also evolved. Before the pandemic, the typical e-commerce customer had a young profile, lived in urban centers, and had above-average earnings. With COVID, we started to see new demographic segments joining online shopping: older people and living outside urban centers.
And businesses that were out of e-commerce realized that if customers are buying online more often, then businesses must be there too. If you find that in your industry people buy more and more online, and if your competitors already sell online and your company does not, then maybe it is time to start your e-commerce strategy.
Even giants like Amazon have had to adapt to the new context brought about by the pandemic.
The increase in demand and traffic on e-commerce sites was so significant and so abrupt, that many online retailers harmed the quality of the delivery service, being forced to take steps so that they could continue with operations, such as queuing up on their websites or prioritize product categories. In the case of Amazon, priority was given to cleaning products, health products, and food, over categories such as toys. The date of Amazon's main sales event, Prime Day, was also changed from July to the end of the year, to provide an opportunity to recover the levels of logistical services.
And so, we come to the recent news that Amazon has launched a Portuguese version of its website based in Spain. Why? I am sure that, in the last 12 months, they have seen a strong growth in traffic originating in Portugal. Realizing the opportunity provided by the increase in demand, it made perfect sense to adopt a simple and easy measure: translating the website from Spanish to Portuguese and leveraging all the logistics already based in the neighboring country. If we think about geography, Portugal it’s a very close market: easily and quickly, with warehouses in Spain, the Portuguese market is served.
The launch of a Portuguese version of the Amazon website presents an opportunity for Portuguese companies, as the service of this e-commerce giant is evolving to better serve customers based in Portugal.
What lessons can we learn?
As everyone waits for the end of the second confinement, a question hangs in the air: will people continue to buy online on a large scale after the end of the pandemic? We do not know how much of the new demand generated online will be, because this behavior will depend on many factors and the entire macro context.
However, there is something we know about e-commerce: it is a shopping experience that tends to become a habit. If the first online purchases provide a good customer experience, the customer will likely gain confidence and buy online again, surrendering to this convenience. Therefore, in a post-pandemic world, the doors to the continued expansion of e-commerce seem to be open.
So, take note of behaviors like Amazon's as an example and think of the simple actions you can take to add value to your customer's experience. Sometimes a simple change, such as the translation of a website, is enough to increase the customer base and attract new market segments. Because, at the end of the day, it is the behavior of consumers that dictates the success of companies. You must serve them well, even in the online world.