Essential vs Non-Essential – Online Shopping

Obviously, it goes without saying that the NHS and the health of our global community comes first.  Distribution of PPE equipment and social distancing are infinitely more important than the type of products and shopping experiences we may feel temporarily deprived of.  Undeniably though, online shopping has a pivotal role to play.  The balance between Essential vs Non-Essential in online shopping and eCommerce is becoming an increasingly important area.

It’s hard to see how online shopping won’t play a crucial role during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Whilst the emphasis is often placed on essential goods and services at this time, the advice is clear.  If you can operate your fulfilment centre safely, whilst respecting the recommended social distancing measures, then (on current guidance at least) it is in your interests to keep trading.

Aside from supermarkets, eCommerce remains at the epicentre of our retail economy.  It will be difficult to envisage governments forcibly closing these operations as the effects would be crippling on an already floundering economy.  Amazon clearly agree, recruiting 100,000 new distribution workers to keep up with the upward surge in orders they are currently experiencing.   Will these orders all be for essential items? It seems unlikely.

Here are some simple examples of how the ‘non-essential’ still has an essential role to play in our lives.

For Yourself:

  • Small treats to boost your morale.
  • Alleviate stress with ‘retail therapy’ and have something to look forward to.
  • Home / Outdoor exercise Equipment to keep healthy and maintain an active lifestyle.
  • Self-Care – Look after yourself with bath bombs, hair care products, new clothing and so much more. Your wellbeing is crucial and anything that can help with this should be encouraged.
  • New loungewear or activewear to help better support your current home centric lifestyle.

For your Home:

  • Combat cabin fever and make your nest as relaxing, calming and homely as possible. Candles, cleaning equipment and homeware will all help to make you feel more settled and content at home.
  • Make your home office a more productive, long term solution with monitors, chairs, desks, workbooks and anything you might need to thrive professionally whilst confined to the house.
  • Jigsaw puzzles, board games, books and other physical items can lessen our digital dependencies and keep us entertained and occupied.
  • Educational resources for the kids, alongside toys and treats to keep young minds fulfilled and happy.

For Others:

  • eCommerce represents an invaluable, unique way to lift the moods of others.
  • Send greeting cards and thoughtful gifts directly to loved ones to mark special occasions or let them know they are missed.
  • Support isolated or distant family and friends remotely with self-care products, jigsaws or even useful items such as batteries, teabags or coffee.

With eCommerce, it’s possible to make the abnormal feel a little more normal, to add comfort, remind people we care and to instil hope that together, we will get through this.  In these difficult times, that may not be essential, but it sure is important.

The essential vs non essential debate in online shopping and eCommerce will evolve and change over time.  Just remember that if you run a successful online store, your customers see value in your products, your service and your business.  That value does not vanish overnight.  Take pride in what you do and know that in your own way, you are helping people through this.

Most importantly, follow government advice, ensure safe working practices and take care of each other.

Are you an online retailer who wants help traversing the challenging weeks and months ahead?

Get in touch and find out how our eCommerce experts can help you through the challenges ahead and how we can help you realise your eCommerce potential today.  We are here to help.




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