Like much of the world, our industry is holding onto the hope that COVID-19 might not linger too much longer. But with that, we must also ask: what if this “new normal” does stick around – and how should we plan for and cope with it?
The rapid shift early in the year to a new and relatively disruptive model has created a lot of new opportunities, though much of it is regarded as temporary. Flattening business continues to dominate physical consumer entities such as retail and restaurants. Still, spending, both from consumers and businesses, is up on the year. This is mostly thanks to a shifting spend perspective. For example, though entertainment spending is down by just over 7 percent, the purchase of goods is up by 7 percent.
The bigger picture here is how consumers, again both businesses and individuals, are approaching the familiarity of the new market. E-commerce as a share of retail sales is now over 15 percent, nearly double what it was just three years ago. This is an important figure for two reasons. The first is that it shows confidence in online spending. The second is that it shows there is far from total online dominance in the retail world. Physical retail spending, while anticipated to be lower this holiday season, still very much exists.
Companies most notable for success in the present climate are those who have found a balance between the two worlds. No, this is not just limited to major companies. Small businesses that shifted to a hybrid e-commerce model over the past ten months have seen some of the biggest returns. While some have worked out plans to incentivize customers, when applicable, to return to the store, the shift has meant an understanding that e-commerce will not ever go away for those who have adopted it as part of their revenue stream.
At AIM, we are proud of our industry-exclusive technology and e-commerce integration tools. For years we have discussed with distributors the idea of “touchpoints”, or points of activity that lead to a sale. Generally, it takes 7 touchpoints in order to enter a buyer’s consciousness. This brings with it a serious challenge in our physically disconnected world. But online, the touchpoints are less exclusive, far more various, and most importantly, they are more familiar. This is to say that the atmosphere surrounding the online sales boom, albeit somewhat forced this year, has created opportunities like never before.
If you would like to learn more about how AIM can help you capitalize with your online business or want to see how AIM’s tools can help you reach more touchpoints, feel free to contact a member of the ACS team today.