In times of greater uncertainty and instability such as those currently living, the market tends to make a “natural” choice, for only a few companies to subsist and to the “next phase”. It’s a little as is the case in sport, where only a few teams move on to the next round. These teams are not always the largest, but the ones that are better prepared.
We experienced a major economic crisis in 2008/2009 which hit many companies and businesses and forced companies to change and adapt to a new reality. Now we cross another, and likewise, it will be essential that companies evolve and have the courage to bet on the future so that they can get through the turmoil and prosper.
Online shopping increases in Portugal
This time and for reasons related to the mandatory confinement to which all (or almost all) were subjected, increased even more a considerable demand for online shopping and consumption, methods of payment and easy and fast deliveries.
According to information from SIBS provided to the Cash, “in online shopping, the sectors that saw a biggest increase in this period were entertainment and culture, which recorded an increase of 64%, food & retail trade with an increase of 45%, and catering, food delivery and take away with an increase of 52%.”
The 64% increase over the week before the pandemic consumption and subscriptions to online entertainment and audiovisual content through streaming platforms is easily understandable ( netflix subscribers reached 15.8 million subscribers by March 31). And it was also expected an increase in home food orders, and even purchases made now through the websites or social networks of the main hypermarkets, which even led to a situation of collapse and considerable delays in deliveries, given that only some of the more established brands, such as the Continent or intermarché, already had an online store.
But what about the online purchase of perfumery and cosmetic products, games and toys or in the decoration sector and household items? In some cases, of these cases the election by virtual acquisition would not be so obvious, given that it did not are products of first necessity, but health security is imposed on any other issue, and a keyboard and internet access are tools that become part of the process of purchasing almost any product.
On the other hand, in the business sphere, and mainly between small and medium-sized medium-sized enterprises, it was necessary to make adjustments and adaptations to this new scenario, in order to be able to stand and prepare for the new reality that is coming. Many companies that had store-based business models physical and face-to-face relationships, had to adapt in record time and create working methods and remote service, both for their employees as well as for their customers.
Having an online presence and being able to sell online is now a priority or even a necessity for companies in virtually every industry. And even with the progressive confinement we’ve started to see in our country, it’s likely that many consumers will continue to prefer to buy through this channel, either for fear of going to certain places or for simple convenience.
An example of transition to digital
One of the sectors that has already adapted to this boom in e-commerce, even before the emergence of the pandemic, is the sale of advertising gifts to companies. To prove it, we spoke to one of the leaders of Gift Campaign, an online company that hit the Portuguese in full expansion of the pandemic, last March. But that was already prepared to face the new challenges of the market, even having as main objective revolutionize the market of the sale of personalized advertising gifts in Portugal.
With more than 12 years of experience in selling company gifts, and market leader spanish, from the beginning the Catalan company bet strong in creating a simple, effective platform that allows its customers to customers to perform all kinds of interactions through the site, replicating the offline in the digital world with great commitment and effectiveness.
According to Diederick de Koning, CEO of the company, “Increasingly, customers demand ease and speed in the purchasing process, whether private or companies. But a request budget, sending a response, the doubts that arise during the process… all of this can take a long time, especially when it comes to custom products.”
Therefore, one of the main news of the Gift Campaign consists in streamlining the processes of purchase online, giving the user the possibility to directly download the budget, view a virtual sample of the article with your logo or get information about the delivery date according to the setting of the toast custom. In this way, “the marketing officer of the company that wishes to Customizing your corporate giveaways has everything you need in a few clicks: a budget to submit to the heads of the company internally, a sample of how the advertising article will be and all the exact details of the purchase, as well as the possibility of ordering directly through the website, saving time and money,” concludes De Koning.
It means this that the service will no longer be as personalized as before? The founder of Gift Campaign claims no. “These new ways of working harder does not mean that personalized attention is waived and support customer on all orders.” In the case of this online store, “customers with the advice of experts, who are always available for detect possible errors and support the use in everything you need, from the contact until the time of delivery of the product.”
This is just a practical example of a sector that was already adapting to these changes in the consumption habits of the Portuguese. Changes that had already given signs before the crisis, but who have now settled permanently on the market during the period of confinement to which most citizens have been subjected.
Undoubtedly, the E-commerce does not stop growing in Portugal, and it is very likely that adaptation to digital has not go back. On the contrary, this crisis is only a first step (forced, in some cases), of a technological revolution that will be fundamental to ensure the survival of many businesses and the recovery of consumption and the economy.