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It is now safe to say that the post-pandemic world will look very different, at least for e-commerce. Due to social distancing and worldwide lockdowns, people were forced to adjust their shopping habits to the ongoing health crisis and rather spend their money online. As a result, global e-commerce sales have started accelerating at impressive rates, which created the perfect conditions for Shopify vendors to get the best out of this challenging year.

The survey conducted by the HelpCenter app team reveals that nearly 74% of Shopify store owners have experienced either a boost in sales or have not recorded any major changes. The former, which adds up to more than one-third of all respondents, were able to increase their revenue by at least 40% since the outbreak of COVID-19. Moreover, when asked about their next year’s projections, more than 80% of surveyed Shopify vendors admit that they expect their sales to grow or even boom in 2021.

Amongst the respondents who managed to drive business growth during the pandemic, 22.4% report an increase in revenue of up to 60%. The results of the survey also revealed that a smaller percentage of Shopify vendors – 5.12% – experienced no lower than 80% revenue growth while 12.1% report an increase of more than a whopping 100%.

On the flip side, this chaotic year was not easy on everyone and some losses were definitely inevitable. Nearly 27% of surveyed online business owners admit that 2020 was challenging and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has made a negative impact on their Shopify stores. Almost 5 out of 10 of those who experienced a decline in revenue report a decrease from 20% to 60%.

This survey was conducted over a period of December 1, 2020 - December 10, 2020. It was aimed at collecting data from Shopify store owners to find out their personal experiences during the COVID-19 crisis and learn its impact on their online businesses. The results are provided based on the answers from 160 Shopify vendors.

Changing shopping habits encourage businesses to step up

Although it is difficult to predict when everything will get back to normal, one thing that has significantly changed during the pandemic and, likely, for good, is consumer habits. Not only that, with an increased demand for online shopping, more time on their hands due to recurring quarantine in some parts of the world, and basically unlimited access to any relevant information, customers are not lowering their expectations for businesses. It is actually the opposite – as the challenges continue to raise, customer expectations follow.

This coronavirus situation will hopefully ease over time, but the impact it has already made on the way companies operate is predicted to continue in the foreseeable future, Shopify reports. However, it is expected that customer behavior might vary depending on the current experiences they have with brands. One thing is clear – as the competition continues to grow, customers now have an even bigger number of possible choices. They are taking their time to do their research and discover businesses that are ready to meet their needs.

The COVID-19 crisis has boosted customers’ expectations for convenience, business transparency, and “quick reflexes,” to say the least. It means that everything, starting with the first seconds at the online store (mobile-responsiveness as the sales generated via smartphone purchases continue to grow, website load time, easy navigation, etc.) to timely home delivery is expected to run as smoothly as possible. Not to mention the desire for top-notch product pages, more mobile payment options, uninterrupted checkout process, good overall communication, and excellent customer service, which is actually becoming one of the differentiating factors between e-commerce businesses as the competition is getting fiercer almost on a daily basis.

There was probably no other time when consumers have been more demanding than during this COVID-19 pandemic. Shopping online is no longer just on their wishlist, they actually expect it and look for the best possible fulfillment of this process.

E-commerce business owners should be willing to put additional efforts and resources into it if they want to succeed, keep ahead of the competition, meet customers at their own terms, and leave this crisis stronger than they started.