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COVID-19 and the Evolving eCommerce Landscape

Richard ClaytonRichard Clayton
May 29, 2020

Amidst the unprecedented spike in online transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the eCommerce industry is going through profound changes. While some of these changes are a direct result of the pandemic, others have long been in development and were accelerated as billions of people worldwide were forced into quarantine.

Here, we’ll be covering five of the most dominant trends and technologies in eCommerce that cross-border sellers should know about going forward. Note that while other well-known trends, such as mobile optimization and free shipping, should still factor into your business strategy, the points outlined below highlight where the eCommerce industry is heading during the COVID-19 era.

Shifting Consumer Trends Amidst a Volatile Global Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent nearly half of the world’s population into quarantine, resulting in a huge spike in eCommerce orders as people are forced to shop for groceries and other necessities online. Now, with near record levels of unemployment in the US and other countries, we’re seeing how the economic fallout of the pandemic is impacting consumer purchasing habits.

For Gen Z and Millenials in the US, the pandemic has dramatically impacted their shopping habits, with around 40% reporting that they’ve cut back on spending. When looking at the product categories being purchased by all age groups, groceries, household items and health products are the clear winners.

So, what does this mean for cross-border sellers going forward? To help ensure your business remains viable, it’s important to diversify your product line to match the needs of your target demographics. People have less money for discretionary spending, meaning it will be important to stock items that can be deemed highly useful or essential for consumers. With luxury and recreational purchases on the decline, now is the time to explore new product lines.

Visual eCommerce and the Rise of 3D Imaging and Augmented Reality Shopping

augmented reality

While visual eCommerce – the use of 3D and augmented reality to showcase products – is not a new application, the technology has taken on a new importance as more and more brick and mortar stores are either closing or shifting their businesses online. In addition, technological advancements have made visual eCommerce a highly valuable tool for consumers who are confined to their homes, but are still interested in buying a new couch, lamp or pair of pants.

Major global retailers have released augmented reality apps allowing customers to visualize how a piece of furniture would fit into their living room or which shade of lipstick would look best on them. With the technology developing at a break-neck pace, now is the time to check how it can be used to help develop your store, reach new audiences and increase sales.

Multichannel Selling and the Diversification of Revenue Streams

Multichannel selling has long been known as a great way to reach new customers, expand your brand and increase sales. With the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacting global marketplaces, the concept has become a necessity for cross-border sellers looking to secure their businesses and protect their revenue streams.

In addition to ensuring that you have many potential sources of income, even when a global event has impacted one or more of your sales channels, multichannel selling is your best option for reaching discerning customers who research their purchases and shop around on various marketplaces.

One note: When planning which sales channels you’d like to take advantage of, don’t forget about your personal website, which could provide a number of benefits that can’t be found when selling on marketplaces.

  • Brand building – Your website is the one place where you can customize your brand through such things as design, logo and product presentation.
  • User experience – When someone purchases one of your products through a marketplace, they associate their experience with that marketplace. Conversely, when they shop through your website, they associate their experience with your brand. Providing a positive user experience on your site is a great way to build a loyal customer base that can lead to repeat business.
  • Customizable sales – While marketplaces often have strict rules for how you’re able to sell, your website allows you to customize everything from sales, shipping policies and returns, giving you more freedom to run your business as you see fit.

Brand Adaptation to Voice Commerce

voice commerce

Voice commerce in the eCommerce sphere refers to any conversation or transaction between a customer and voice recognition technology, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. The technology has gained massive popularity in recent years and is set to accelerate further as more and more people choose to avoid brick and mortar stores in favor of shopping from home.

While voice shopping isn’t often considered a tool for researching products – it’s more frequently used for small purchases or those from a preset shopping list – the technology is constantly developing, making it imperative to consider how it will impact your sales and customer support. Tailoring your product names and descriptions to make them easier to vocalize is a great start to taking advantage of what is likely to soon become a fixture of eCommerce.

Expanding Marketing Efforts in New Social Media Channels

Social media marketing is a well-documented way to reach new customer and increase your eCommerce sales. This is now more relevant than ever, with consumers avoiding physical stores, instead choosing to research products and shop from the comfort of their homes. While Facebook and Instagram marketing should still be integral parts of your marketing strategy, new social media channels are opening rapidly, potentially giving you access to younger consumer demographics.

This is particularly true for TikTok, which last year unveiled a new feature allowing users to include in their bio or post a link to their store that would open within the app. This gave users the ability to shop without exiting TikTok. Recently, TikTok’s ‘Small Gestures’ features allows users to send small free gifts to others on the platform. As TikTok, and other platforms, continue to look for effective ways to monetize their platform, it’s important to keep an eye on any new features that can help you expand your business.

Adapting to the COVID-19 Era with Payoneer

As one of the leading cross-border payment providers, Payoneer enables you to effectively tailor your global eCommerce business to meet the needs of the COVID-19 era. This includes an innovative platform where you can manage all your marketplace and website payments, allowing you to expand to new sales channels with ease. Ready to learn more?



The content provided in this article including any information relating to pricing, fees, and other charges is accurate and valid only as of the date it was published. In addition, changes in applicable regulations, policies, market conditions, or other relevant factors may impact the accuracy of the mentioned pricing and fees and other associated details. Accordingly, it is further clarified that any information regarding pricing, fees and other charges is subject to changes, and it is your responsibility to ensure you are viewing the most up to date content applicable to you. Payoneer will provide the most up to date and accurate information relating to pricing and fees as part of the account registration process. Registered customers can view this information via their online account.

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