The Covid-19 pandemic did no favors for certain corners of the retail market, especially brick-and-mortar stores that were already facing stiff competition from online retailers. However, it also paved the way for innovation from companies willing to enhance their online shopping presence.
According to an Entrepreneur article, “the crisis is opening up opportunities for retail to evolve. It has disrupted when, where, and how people shop, creating space to rebuild and reimagine relationships with customers. Three-quarters of consumers have tried a new shopping brand or method since the pandemic started, and most plan to continue it going forward.”
“As companies try to navigate this new landscape, many business leaders are placing their hope in online shopping to help them reach customers in the era of social distancing,” the article added further. “But is e-commerce enough to rescue retail? My years of research on shopping and customer experience suggest that digital technologies alone are not the savior of retail some have made them out to be. Companies must integrate the digital, physical, and social aspects of shopping to satisfy the majority of their customers.”
Certain retailers have actually benefited from Covid-19, such as grocery stores. With social distancing measures in place, grocery stores have shifted more of their products to online availability.
“A digital presence has certainly been a boon for retailers in recent months,” the article added. “Online grocery sales surged to $7.2 billion a month this summer, up from $1.6 billion last summer. Consumers have eagerly experimented with new shopping methods like curbside pickup and delivery apps. These adaptations build on existing trends, as retailers have been moving further into the digital realm for years. Yet my research suggests that, for many customers, digital can never fully replace the social and physical aspects of shopping.”
As more companies adapt to the new normal in retail, this could help exchange-traded funds (ETFs) like the Global X E-commerce ETF (EBIZ). EBIZ seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Solactive E-commerce Index.
The fund invests at least 80% of its total assets in the securities of the underlying index. The index is designed to provide exposure to exchange-listed companies that are positioned to benefit from the increased adoption of e-commerce as a distribution model, including but not limited to companies whose principal business is in operating e-commerce platforms, providing e-commerce software and services, and/or selling goods and services online.