We’re used to business targeting models that fall into either the B2B or B2C category, but new research from Ware2Go finds that today’s “new normal” has precipitated an acceleration in online shopping, presenting a brand new supply chain landscape for merchants. As purchasing channels shift during the “new normal,” companies must be prepared to deliver goods to wholesalers, retailers and e-commerce consumers seamlessly as part of a new B2E (Business to Everyone) paradigm, which requires a scalable supply chain integrating operations, logistics, and fast shipping capabilities for maximum flexibility.
The study from Ware2Go, a UPS company that helps merchants simplify fast delivery to customers, examines American consumer habits during the coronavirus pandemic, revealing that a large majority (87 percent) took up new activities due to shelter-in-place directives. In fact, more than half (55 percent) of Americans have purchased items online from websites and retailers they have never shopped with before.
“The recent acceleration in e-commerce order mix has created a new level of complexity for merchants, requiring the ability to adapt fulfillment to shifts in consumer demand quickly,” said Steve Denton, CEO of Ware2Go, in a news release. “Today and going forward, a dynamic business requires a dynamic supply chain. As customers adopt a new approach to shopping, businesses must adopt a new approach to their supply chain.”
Which consumer needs are the key drivers?
Americans’ willingness to try new brands during the lockdown spans product categories, as some 61 percent have tried new grocery brands, 34 percent have tried new vitamin and supplement brands, and 28 percent are trying new pet supply brands. Many consumers are seeking to stock up for new work-from-home and home schooling duties, as well as hobbies like cooking, exercising and engaging with their pets.
According to new survey data, more than two-thirds of employed Americans (67 percent) are working from home, and 51 percent have children being home schooled. The shift to working remotely, along with home schooling, has meant that consumers need office and school supplies delivered to their doorsteps. Some 57 percent of workers say they have what they need to work from home, and 87 percent of Americans think they’re fairly well equipped for home schooling. But supplemental work and school needs are driving online purchasing, as 30 percent of consumers say they are buying related supplies. The top items needed are pens, pencils, paper, and notebooks (49 percent), books (44 percent), and tech tools like computers or tablets (42 percent).
During off-work hours, the most popular quarantine activity is cooking (48 percent), and 77 percent of Americans are purchasing food items online. In addition, 81 percent of consumers say they are learning to cook or are cooking at home more frequently during the quarantine.
Some 61 percent are trying new grocery brands, and internal data shows that e-commerce shipments of food and beverage items have increased up to 151 percent overall since the beginning of the pandemic.
Healthy habits remain a top-of-mind concern, as a popular lockdown activity is exercising, at 42 percent overall. More men (49 percent) are taking it up than women (36 percent), and exercise was the most popular pastime for Gen Z, at 52 percent. According to Ware2Go’s internal data, vitamin and supplement brands have seen an increase of up to 45 percent in e-commerce shipment volume during the pandemic, and 42 percent of consumers polled have started to purchase vitamins and supplements online, with 34 percent trying new supplement brands. With gyms being closed, home exercise equipment has become popular, with 17 percent of respondents purchasing new exercise equipment online.
Furry and feathered companions are driving online sales, too—11 percent of consumers surveyed have adopted or purchased a pet during the pandemic, and 27 percent have practiced “retail therapy” by purchasing pet supplies. According to the data, pet supply brands saw e-commerce order shipments increased by as much as 58 percent.
This data is based on a study conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of Ware2Go in April 2020. The survey polled over 1,000 U.S. consumers about their online shopping habits and preferences and any changes to their behavior due to the coronavirus pandemic.