It will come as no surprise when I say that the way that people shop has been changing over the past 10 months.

Gone are the days when people would browse the high street with no particular idea in mind about what they needed/wanted, but would check out what was available and what took their fancy on the day. With lockdown restrictions, tighter purse strings and oversubscribed delivery times people are making far more conscious purchases instead of buying on whim/impulse.

With shopper’s behaviour changing, just what can you do to adapt (if needed) your own business practices.

Lean into Online Shopping

Yep, the most obvious step you can take is to lean into online shopping.

If you don’t have an online shop, then get one. There are many simple ecommerce packages out there which will provide your customers with some ability to buy online from yourself. There are platforms such as Etsy and eBay which will do the hard work for you. If you are looking for something that ticks all of the boxes and has more range, then there are larger ecommerce platforms and custom options to consider.

Something really is better than nothing that this particular moment in time.

If you do have an online shop already then ensure that your product range is up to date and easy to navigate. Ensure that your prices are clear and that any information on things such as delivery can be found and understood quickly.

Highlight your Stock Levels

At the moment people are making as few trips out of the house as they can, whilst delivery should always be an option, click and collect is proving popular.

If you are an essential shop that can open its doors in the pandemic then people do want to know if what they want is in stock. If it's not then they can save themselves the journey when we are all meant to be keeping our movements to an absolute minimum. This is where highlighting your stock levels will assist – showcasing whether your items are available at x location and if so how many are available.

Showing an accurate stock level will allow individuals to see whether they can pick it up in person (for those essential shops) or whether they will need to click and collect, and if so, from where (important if you have more than one location).

Showcasing your stock levels will allow someone to make an informed decision as to whether to purchase from you or a competitor. Individuals don’t want to purchase an item and then receive an email saying that it will take x number of weeks to arrive, individuals don’t want to click and collect an item to find its not there when they pick it up, and individuals don’t want to travel out to your store to find that it's not in stock that day.

Being the cheapest isn’t the main factor so much in this current environment, being able to provide/deliver the item promptly has become the main factor in shopper’s mind to help them minimise their journeys and keep to the lockdown rules.

Note: By showcasing your stock levels, we don’t mean the exact figure. If you have plentiful stock then simply ensure that your website shows as ‘In Stock’. If you are getting low on an item then show that this item has x in stock - what is considered plentiful depends on how popular an item is and how many an individual is likely to purchase in the same transaction. If you have multiple locations, then show the ‘In Stock’ ‘X in stock’ or ‘Out of Stock’ in each location.

Get Social

Having an online shop needs to be backed up with online marketing – the easiest form is social media. Set up those channels if you don’t already have them, and use them.

Imagery and videos are time-consuming to produce but you do get a higher return than a simple post of text.

Get creative and don’t worry about perfection. Make your posts engaging and ensure that they reflect the tone of your business and its market place.

Keep Your Key Information Up to Date

The last and arguably the most important thing you should be doing right now is ensuring that all key information is kept up to date.

This means ensuring that…

  • your website contact information is correct
  • your opening times are correct
  • any changes to your operations due to Covid-19 is clearly shown – if people need to book a slot, collect from x door, wear a mask whilst in the shop etc
  • any contact or business information on your social media channels is correct

And don’t forget about Google my Business.

If you don’t have a Google my Business account for your organisation then get one straight away.

If you have a Google my Business account then ensure it is up to date and that you are utilising the special features they have brought in due to Covid-19.

Individuals that search for your business in Google will be shown your Google my Business profile and will immediately see whether you are open for business. Don’t let them think that you aren’t due to you simply not keeping this profile up to date.

Life after Covid-19

The effort you put in now won’t be discredited or destroyed when lockdown lifts.

This change in consumer behaviour will be with us for some time and shoppers will remember who was able to deliver what they needed during this pandemic.

The value of leaning into online shopping and the various elements around online shopping will add value to your business and its reputation. When traditional high street shopping resumes it simply means that you will have two well-established sales channels to generate sales – offline and online.


All comments regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19) and restrictions on business operating in the UK are correct at the time the blog was posted. Please refer to current restrictions in your area to guide you in your response to Coronavirus.

Published: 19th Jan 2021

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