Survey: Czechs Are Learning to Buy Even Basic Consumer Goods Online

Prague Morning

Czech people are learning to buy even their basic consumer goods online. E-commerce won’t be returning to its pre-pandemic tracks

The ongoing pandemic is motivating both retailers as well as consumers to take advantage of the capacities of e-commerce. The share of e-commerce in the Czech GDP will increase to as much as 2.7%.

Companies no longer expect the situation to return to its pre-coronavirus state; shopping online will become the standard even for those types of products that had been bought exclusively in brick-and-mortar stores.

Closed shops, restaurants not operating. At first, losing the option to shop in brick-and-mortar stores seemed to represent a significant obstacle for many customers. Fortunately for them, and for many companies as well, the alternative to traditional shopping already existed – and therefore shopping and transactions shifted online on a mass scale.

“From the customer’s point of view, this is a completely natural development. Customers have learned to easily procure those commodities which they used to purchase in retail store online. This confirms the fact that e-commerce is fully capable of replacing classic retail services,” says Michal Šejba, the regional manager of the Exactly company.

According to Shoptet.cz data, e-commerce related to food, delivery, and other kinds of shipping services has been growing at an unusual pace – by as much as 420%. Many other types of businesses are taking advantage of internet sales in times of quarantine as well. Across industries, the number of newly established e-shops has doubled in recent weeks.

“For retailers, doing business online represents a cheap, fast, and available alternative as well, while in-store operations are limited,” Michal Šejba from Exactly adds.

The presumption is that many customers will continue to shop primarily online. That’s because intensive cooperation with shipping services, as well as the ability to instantly complete a transaction (for example when paying by credit card), are much faster and more comfortable for customers. According to a survey carried out by Exactly, a lack of trust in the existing payment gateways used to represent the principal obstacle for Czech online shoppers.

“As many as 66% of clients had an issue with their payment data being stored in the e-shop or the payment portal. People were also concerned about the trustworthiness of online merchant or technical issues. More frequent use of e-commerce services helps to gradually remove these barriers on the customer’s side, Michal Šejba explains on behalf of Exactly.

Quarantine measures don’t necessarily have to represent an obstacle to doing business. In some way, they actually emphasize and confirm the trends which the business climate will follow in the long term. The turnover of Czech e-commerce has increased by 15% year-on-year.

According to Admez, it currently accounts for 2.7% of domestic GDP. Without debate, the lack of access to regular shops helps this process along, but in the long run, this is a global trend. In the upcoming months and years, online shopping will likely become the general standard and the consumer relationship will shift towards a new, more interactive form, in part due of the pandemic.

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