Everything sellers need to know right now about Covid-19’s impact on e-commerce

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The hot topic of the moment, the coronavirus pandemic, presents a worrying and somewhat unpredictable time for everyone. Life cannot, however, simply grind to a halt — for many reasons — and this crisis therefore also presents opportunities to support those in isolation and help keep businesses and the economy afloat. 

As shoppers are strongly advised to avoid non-essential travel and to stay away from crowded places, the already popular methods of shopping online are understandably seeing a spike in activity.

Big e-commerce marketplaces such as Flipkart and Amazon have reportedly witnessed a 20-30% increase in orders as customers are avoiding bricks and mortar stores in favour of socially distanced shopping via the web.

For many, online shopping offers a lifeline, and for marketplaces, it’s an opportunity to win the trust of consumers, with Amazon announcing the addition of 100,000 workers to ensure orders can be shipped.

Grocery, healthcare and pet food sectors thrive

Not surprisingly, the latest analysis suggests that shoppers have spent more time browsing and buying groceries online since the Covid-19 coronavirus emerged, with grocery delivery apps also seeing record numbers of downloads.

Over the last month, Instacart and Walmart Grocery have seen their daily downloads surge by 218% and 160% respectively!

Consumers are buying more healthcare products, with a 27% rise in this sector overall as shoppers look for ways to protect themselves and their families as panic buying sets in and fears of goods shortages grow.

In the short-term at least, retailers can expect to see continued surges in sales of items such as face masks, hand sanitiser, disposable gloves, vitamin supplements and pet food — online pet food sales have jumped by a staggering 52% compared to the same period last year!


Ensuring that you have sufficient stock available at Amazon to meet fluctuations in consumer demand should be your top priority in the current climate. Typically, Amazon recommends 4-8 weeks’ sales coverage, however we would recommend increasing your buffer to 12-16 weeks.

This should ensure that you have enough stock available at Amazon to cover you against:

  • Increases in Amazon’s delivery receipt window 
  • Increases in consumer demand from COVID-19

Until 5th April, Amazon have banned any deliveries of products which don’t fall into the following categories, which they deem essential during the current crisis: 

Let’s face it, these goal posts may change at any point, so get your stock in while you can!

The power of retail therapy

Essential food and medical supplies aside, don’t underestimate the power of good old fashioned retail therapy.

Whilst many consumers are understandably reluctant or unable to spend frivolously in challenging economic environment, those that can afford to almost certainly will.

People with more disposable income will no doubt look to relieve the stress and boredom of quarantine by indulging in some new clothes, books, gadgets and sexual wellbeing products. Hopefully the many couples cooped up in isolation will put their pent-up frustrations into making love, not war!

What does this mean for your marketplace e-commerce?

With more shoppers online, there are more opportunities to grab their attention with your product listings. A winning combination of effective online advertising campaigns, engaging content, efficient user experience (UX) and sensible pricing will help you capture your audience.

So, what should your content look like? 

Your e-commerce content needs to be fully optimised in order to attract the growing number of online shoppers to beat the competition and ultimately boost sales!

Optimise for mobile

Optimising your content for mobile is key. Even though most people are likely to be indoors, this doesn’t mean they will necessarily fire up their desktops, especially when mobile shopping apps are so popular. 

Even indoors, shopping on mobile is convenient — quarantined shoppers can take the store to any room of the house. Who doesn’t enjoy the opportunity to go shopping in the bath?


SEO-driven, your product copy should contain relevant keywords. It should be concise, punchy and easy to digest, making it easy for consumers to understand why your product stands out from the competition.


It’s worth ensuring that your customers can make buying decisions based on the strength of your images alone. Work on the assumption that people are viewing your products on a smaller screen, so your images should be close up and high quality. They will still look great when viewed on a desktop!

How can we help?

marketplace amp is an experienced marketplace optimisation and social media services agency with the expertise to create, set up and enhance high-impact product listings and ad campaigns. We’re proud to have worked with national and international consumer brands. With our help, you can ensure that your return on investment (ROI) is maximised. Our team can advise, set-up or manage the whole process — it’s entirely up to you.

Let’s speak about your project

If you need support with trading on the world’s marketplaces, we can help. Contact us today to find out how we can amplify your sales. You can also send a message, tweet us or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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