It’s no surprise that rapid improvements in technologies have benefitted ecommerce. But the sudden boom in online sales this past year was like nothing ever seen before.
As of April 2020, ecommerce orders in the United States and Canada saw a 129% increase in year-over-year growth.
Many businesses of all sizes shifted their focus to online sales as people were forced to stay at home during the pandemic. However, trends indicate that this may be more than a temporary change—almost 50% of consumers surveyed by Shopify said that they would do more online shopping after the pandemic than they had done before.
Why is Ecommerce Booming?
Aside from the obvious fact that many consumers across the globe have been subjected to lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, a few other factors have caused the rapid growth in ecommerce over the past year.
The greatest reason ecommerce has taken off is its convenience. From the comfort of their homes, consumers can search for whatever they are looking for and purchase it with the press of a button.
It is no wonder, then, that 42% of Americans bought groceries online in 2020 (almost double the number of people from 2018). Online shopping requires very little time or effort, meaning that those valuable resources can be devoted to other things.
The question, then, is how does this new consumer behavior impact in-person businesses? More importantly, where does this leave direct sales companies?
3 Emerging Trends in Ecommerce That Will Impact Direct Sales
Direct sales face a very unique challenge in these ecommerce-centered times, as these companies typically rely on in-person interactions to make sales.
Yet, there are things to be learned from the growth in ecommerce.
With ecommerce booming, direct sales will have to adapt. In some ways, we will have to shift tactics to address new consumer behaviors.
Yet, at the same time, direct sales presents a unique shopping experience that is convenient and personalized, and that is going to give it a natural advantage over online shopping.
Let’s dive into some of these emerging ecommerce trends to understand the impact they have on direct sales:
1. Everything is Going Digital
Yes, everything. Fashions shows, concerts, marketplaces, classes, newspapers—from digital communications to digital experiences, everything is online.
As more and more businesses move online, it becomes increasingly important for all companies to have a digital presence.
Social media has become the new marketplace. While digital advertising costs have gone up due to the amount of competition, a growing number of companies are also partnering with influencers to create sponsored content. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner make as much as $1.2 million per post to share products with their followers.
It seems that both advertisements and experiences are moving online for the time being.
Direct sales will need to follow suit. Instead of going door-to-door, salespersons will have to reach out to contacts online.
The popularity of social media advertising indicates that consumers may also be more interested in sales content that appears in their own feeds. Direct sales should try to take advantage of this by posting content that brings the customer to the seller, instead of the other way around.
When it comes to experiences, direct sales that use a party format for selling products can (and did) host events online via video call or on event pages.
Take Alex Funk, for example: As a Vector Branch Manager in Minnesota, he had to quickly adapt his sales (and fitness) tactics to overcome new barriers when COVID hit, and managed to make massive progress. It’s all about changing the approach but keeping the mission the same.
2. Convenience is King
As mentioned earlier, the convenience of online shopping has been one of the greatest driving forces of the ecommerce boom.
However, research indicates that this convenience alone is no longer enough. In fact, the sheer volume of packages being delivered daily has made it virtually impossible to maintain that level of convenience. Mail delays and overburdened courier companies can no longer keep up with all of the shipments (although the number of online orders is expected to drop somewhat after the outbreak).
Here, direct sales may have an advantage. As restrictions are lifted, consumers will still be looking for more convenient sales experiences. And what’s more convenient than a salesperson who shops alongside you and tells you everything you want to know? Direct sales require no work on the consumer’s part, aside from making the decision to buy something.
3. Craving a Personal Touch
With isolation and digital experiences dominating their lives, consumer behaviors now demonstrate a strong desire for personal interactions.
Digital consumers want customized shopping experiences because they can no longer speak to a store employee to get assistance or recommendations. People also miss being able to interact face-to-face. A study of psychological effects of the pandemic on young adults found that 65% experienced increased loneliness.
Once such interactions are allowed to take place again, direct sales may benefit from this. In-person sales are becoming more unique, and that may actually help companies and individuals in direct sales to stand apart from the crowd.
What direct sales can offer that ecommerce can’t is a sales experience uniquely tailored to the individual.
Using cookies and behavior trackers, online retailers are trying to create an experience that comes closer every day. But technology can never truly replace a human being.
What the Ecommerce Boom Means for Direct Sales
When it comes to direct sales, the rapid growth of ecommerce indicates a very real need for a digital presence. Everyone in direct sales, from the larger companies to the individual salespersons, must find a way to make themselves more visible and accessible online. That is where potential customers can be found. That is also where the competition is hoping to find a foothold.
However, as digital fatigue sets in, direct sales will likely find an opportunity to meet customers’ desires for convenience and personal interaction. By taking advantage of this, direct sales can set itself apart from the abundance of digital-first companies and attract customers with a more unique sales experience.
Offer a Better Shopping Experience with Direct Sales
Ecommerce is booming, but direct sales aren’t dead. In fact, these personal interactions have the potential to meet consumer needs in a unique way.
Are you ready to try direct sales? Learn more about opportunities with Vector Marketing.