Coronavirus Update: Retailers Respond and Consumer Behavior Trends Evolve

UPDATED April 30 at 3:45 PM EDT

It has been approximately three months since COVID-19 reached the United States. And since then, brands and retailers have been forced to embrace e-commerce more than ever before. Those already on Amazon or with an e-commerce presence have had to quickly adjust. And daily operations for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have changed almost overnight. Continue reading for how brands, retailers, and consumers have responded to unprecedented changes.

Retailer Response to COVID-19

According to Kimberly Becker, senior research director with Gartner, retailers already integrated with e-commerce and shopping technology will recover more quickly from the impacts of COVID-19. But businesses that usually rely on in-store traffic have had to get creative and embrace a more omnichannel-driven strategy. 

Now it’s unavoidable for these brands and retailers to focus on and develop or expand a direct-to-consumer model. Brands that sold products through major brick-and-mortar retailers before the coronavirus outbreak have begun to embrace Amazon to salvage their sales. 

Prime Popularity Increases

It’s more important now than ever before to ensure products are Prime eligible on Amazon. Even with delayed shipments due to COVID-19, Prime membership has grown in the US market. In fact, there are now reportedly 118 million Prime members compared to the 112 million Prime members cited in January.

Consumer Behavior Trends 

Shoppers have flocked to Amazon and other marketplaces to shop for products they normally buy in-store. Some popular categories include grocery, baby products, cleaning supplies, and more. 

It’s important for brands to recognize these shifts in consumer behavior and the subsequent effects on Amazon. Even after stay-at-home orders have been lifted, we expect many consumers to continue doing much more of their shopping online. Some may be hesitant to visit physical retail locations right away, while others may adopt the habit of more frequent online purchasing and continue due to increased comfortability with the process thereafter. But online shopping has also become more streamlined and routine during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Adjustments to Prime Day Preparation 

Amazon has yet to officially announce whether Prime Day is delayed. However, there are rampant rumors and speculation that the event will be pushed to August, at the earliest. This uncertainty has left brands to plan as usual while they wait for a formal communication from Amazon. 

Some of our clients have been unable to submit deals, receiving error messages like the following: 

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However, as of mid-day on April 30, our team was made aware Amazon is now accepting submissions for Prime Day. The deadline is June 5.

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Meanwhile, since there isn’t currently an official date (or even month) for Prime Day, planning for inventory and advertising budget has been more difficult. 

We understand brands are in a stressful position as COVID-19 continues to impact business operations and projections. If you could use the support of a strategic partner, we’re here for you. Please feel free to schedule a free consultation or reach out with any questions. 

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Hannah West

Hannah West