What Does The New Normal Look Like For Online Retailers?

In the post-pandemic world, eCommerce is still considered a reasonably safe bet. However, as consumers return to “normal” shopping habits and previously unforeseen circumstances, such as the cost-of-living crisis, and ongoing problems with the global supply chain, hit consumers and retailers in the pocket, it’s important to be realistic about the shape and size of the opportunity.

Many of our clients saw their businesses grow at unprecedented levels during the nearly two-year cycle of lockdowns and restricted high street shopping. Some believed this trend was the “new normal” and were shocked to see their online sales falling off a cliff when restrictions were relaxed.

Ecommerce is Still a Growth Industry

The good news is that eCommerce is still a growth industry. This is perhaps best illustrated by a graph shared by Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke in a blog post explaining how the eCommerce platform overestimated the size of the opportunity leading to the company being forced to downsize its workforce by 10%.

eCommerce Peaks and Troughs

Essentially, eCommerce is normalising its growth trajectory after an abnormal peak.

Savvy retailers recognised this sudden spike in business as a short-term opportunity. So they scaled up during the pandemic by adopting more efficient business practices and investing in technology to help them manage the sudden increase in sales.

In a recent Frooition podcast, Shaun O’Brien from Direct Plants explained how his business saw unprecedented growth during the pandemic. Shaun understood that the business gains from the pandemic would be short-lived but would be a perfect opportunity to test the robustness of his systems to cope with the peaks and troughs of business.

While sales have fallen back since the height of the pandemic, Shaun is happy to report that sales have increased from 2019 levels as expected. He also has the confidence in his technology stack and core team of 10 employees to handle anything an unpredictable market can throw at his business.

Optimise For The New Normal

It’s been far from business as usual over the past few years. Consumer habits have changed (some will be ingrained, and others will return to previous iterations), competition has increased, and there’s less disposable income up for grabs.

The companies that will continue to succeed in the new normal are the ones who follow companies like Direct Plants’ lead. They will invest in their brand, optimise their listings across the various channels they sell on, and look for efficiencies using technology that gives them the competitive edge.

Opportunities For New Businesses

It’s not just experienced businesses that can benefit from the insight of successful industry veterans like Shain. The normalised growth of the eCommerce industry means there continue to be incredible opportunities for new businesses to enter the market.

In many respects, these “box fresh” businesses can enter the market without the burden of legacy systems and less-than-optimised business practices that may hold their older competitors back. They also have the advantage of affordable, scalable, and user-friendly eCommerce systems that just weren’t available even just a few years ago.

Learn More

To learn more about how Frooition can help you stay ahead of the curve and react to the normalisation of the eCommerce sector, book a 15-minute discovery call with one of our design and optimisation experts.