A New Age in E-Commerce Business

How retail therapy in the age of COVID-19 is changing my business; and everyone else's.

At first, I applauded myself for single-handedly propping up the US economy with all my online shopping. I was doing my patriotic duty and having fun at the same time.

As the shipping boxes began to pile up by the recycle bin, so, too, did my guilt. How many trees had to die in the fulfillment of my consumerism? Shipping a single item per box with all its packing waste is not exactly earth friendly, but by not driving to the store, I rationalized that I was saving on fuel and reducing air pollution. It seems that, in all of life, there is a trade-off.

During the Coronavirus Crisis, there have been many yins and yangs. A slower paced life vs economic security, eating out vs dining-in, stay-cation vs vacation, shopping online vs sticks and bricks. We all wonder, what will be the new norm?

Business as Unusual

According to Greg Sterling, contributing editor to Search Engine Land, and this graph, I am not the only person practicing online retail therapy. In Greg’s article, he acknowledges that retail, as a whole, is down by 9% and that big box stores are filing bankruptcy. But he also says e-commerce grew by 50%, making April the best online shopping month ever.

PayPal’s CEO, Dan Schulman, echoed Mr. Sterling’s sentiment, saying, “On May 1st, we had our largest single day of transactions in our history, larger than last year’s transactions on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.” Schulman added that PayPal was seeing “unprecedented demand” for its products and services.

This news story aligns with what is experiencing, too. Our traditional telephone and retail store sales are down but, this past April, we also broke our own e-commerce record for having the most shopping cart revenue of any month.

We are lucky. In the past, we’ve been aggressive in developing our different sales channels aka revenue streams. Though we are a small company, we try to act big when solving our customer’s problems and catering to their preferences. This led to our customer’s ability to shop our store, shop our catalog, shop online, chat online or call us on the phone.

Still Thinking of the Trees

Don’t think I am not still worrying about recycling the boxes and the trees; I am. But I do like the bluer skies, fresher air and reduced noise pollution that has come from an e-commerce society.

by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

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