E-commerce is not new, and most distributors have some form of online presence. Emerging evidence points to a significant shift, as customers scale back their shopping in stores and instead go online. In China, online shopping has increased 15 to 20 percentage points, and e-commerce in Italy has increased 81 percent compared with the last week of February. US consumers have largely followed the same pattern.
The impact of COVID-19 on the domestic, regional and your local economy are still not clear, but we do know that e-commerce is one of the beneficiaries of a shift in purchasing behavior caused by sheltering in place. Our customers have reported everything from complete shutdown when a warehouse person tested positive, to shift working to keep up with demand and social spacing. We have also heard numerous reports of major customers shutting down and smaller e-commerce vendors increasing order size.
Will all this result in a new normal? A better question may be can you afford not to react? The statistics quoted above and other pertinent information can be found in a McKinsey Digital white paper provided for us through SAP. 'Building an e-commerce business: Lessons on moving fast' is a great source of common sense and insight from a 1000 brick and mortar European retail chain that was able to react quickly.