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How shopping habits have changed and what it means for e-commerce

By a contributor   
January 13, 2021

In 2020, over a third of total retail sales in the UK were made online, a trend that is looking to remain strong through 2021. Let’s look at how shopping has metamorphosed over the last year.  

Changes in consumer behaviour 

Consumer behaviour was at the core of the big 2020 shift. Older generations who prior to the pandemic had little use for the internet are now ordering their groceries directly to their doors. Not only this, but shopping from phones is also becoming increasingly common for all age groups.  

As a result, many big online retailers are embracing the use of apps to bring their shoppers notifications of offers and sales. Apple Pay and the like also allow shoppers to buy from their phones without the need to input their bank details; Face ID is about as much effort as it takes, and within days, your item will be at the front door.  

It is not just how we are shopping online that has changed, but what we are buying, too. The closure of non-essential stores has meant that items you would typically venture out to look atsuch as indoor and outdoor furniture, are being bought online. Items are literally at shoppers fingertips, meaning they are looking for results in seconds.  

What sellers can do 

With the uncertainty around Covid-19, it is difficult to predict how shopping will change over this year. However, it is fair to say that the shift to e-commerce means more competition for existing online sellers, so delivering the best shopping experience possible is key.  

Personalising the shopping experience to fit the needs of the customer, with features such as phone shopping, AI-assistance and improved site search, is on the rise, so ensure you aren’t left behind. Working on your online store may be the boost you need to keep your business afloat during these unprecedented times.  

In terms of reaching new buyers, businesses not doing it already can leverage social media to advertise and sell their products. Instagram is a prime example of social media adapting to the rise of e-commerce, and now includes an inbuilt store feature: you can now select an image and see the price of the item then click through to purchase. This option is primed to be a hit with the younger, influencer-driven generation. 

The importance of marketplace optimisation 

For those trading on marketplaces, paying attention to detail is more important than ever. Savvy buyers expect not only speedy and ideally free delivery, but also a trustworthy storefront. Including high-quality images and strong, informative descriptions are the bare minimum to the average shopper’s experience; anything less can result in returns and poor reviews.  

At the same time, take the time to optimise your listings. Populating as many Item Specifics as possible will keep your store listed and not filtered out of relevant searches. If you need a hand with this, our Aspect Finder+ tool can help. It’s free to all eBay sellers until the 30th September 2021, courtesy of eBay 

We also have several plans available to help you make a start on these changesdesigned with the size of your business and the number of listings you have in mind. Find out more about the Optiseller plans here. 


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