The shift to online shopping has been kicked into overdrive since the outbreak of COVID-19 and will continue to accelerate as Melbourne faces the latest stage 4 lockdown restrictions with a significant impact on bricks and mortar retail businesses.

According to Stripe head of Australia and New Zealand, Mac Wang, e-commerce is playing a key role in ensuring the resilience of the industry.

“While we continue to be concerned for the economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the Australian economy, especially Melbourne-based businesses, a new cohort of bricks and mortar businesses will now be accelerating setting up their online presence,” he said.

“Being versed in the complexities of ecommerce is critical — from ensuring the right payment methods are offered, to checkout design, and overcoming cart abandonment, not to mention customer acquisition, shipping, and overall customer experience.

“The focus for many now may be spinning up in the short term, but with clear signs the ecommerce boom will continue post-lockdown, businesses need to shift more focus to scaling their online presence and build for a resilient tomorrow. This means leaning on technology to take the technical complexity out of the equation and ensure their online experience is frictionless.”

Weekly online orders double with no signs of a slowdown

The number of people placing weekly online orders has almost doubled from pre-COVID levels, with two-thirds of Australians now more reliant on online deliveries, according to new research from Here Technologies.

Further, three quarters of consumers intend to carry on their online purchase behaviour into the future with 34% noting they are enjoying this method of shopping more than in store.

Those businesses reliant on 18 to 24-year old consumers are likely to find their customer base will continue to order online in the long run, with 44% outlining they would prefer to shop virtually versus in store even as restrictions ease.

The research also revealed a change in shopping habits with a fifth of people reporting less impulse buying than when physically in a store and the same proportion are bulk buying more. In addition, 18% of people noted they were shopping with less retailers.

Despite many Australian businesses struggling under the increased demand, the research found that 70% of consumers had been satisfied with their online delivery experience throughout the pandemic, regardless of initial delays.

Here Technologies head of Oceania, Daniel Antonello, said: “Sustained demand for online deliveries has resulted in retailers reassessing the tools needed for their survival. Transitioning to more sophisticated models of fleet management and supply chain services is paramount for Australian businesses to continue to service their customer base.”

He added: “Our research shows that overall, people are satisfied with the current service level of online delivery. As restrictions ease across most states and more commuters return to the roads accommodating this higher volume of online orders and doing so in a timely fashion will become increasingly challenging, which is something all businesses must be prepared for. Location technology could be a lifeline for businesses as it enables parcel tracking, fleet management and traffic routing in real-time.”

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