Online shopping soaring as COVID-19 continues

Published On October 6, 2020 | By Nicholas Rahmon | News

A shopping mall with patrons. (Jorge Fernandez Salas)

Nicholas Rahmon

With stores moving themselves online, staying inside for the winter season could have a new meaning this time around due to rising COVID-19 cases.

At the start of the pandemic, people around the world were told to stay inside their homes and leave only if the matter is essential.

According to a Statistics Canada report published in July of this year, there was a 99.3 per cent increase in the online sales of retailers.

During the period of February to May 2020, total retail sales fell 17.9 per cent and physical locations of retail businesses, including home furnishing stores, went down 69.6 per cent, hobby and sporting stores losing 79.0 per cent, and clothing stores at a loss of 84.2 per cent.

Omar Youssouf, a senior analyst at Statistics Canada, along with his team, invokes data from the Monthly Retail Trade survey and explained that compared to a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce figures have been on the rise in recent months.

“The COVID-19 pandemic led many Canadian retailers to start or expand their e-commerce platforms in response to physical distancing measures and/or brick and mortar store closures,” Youssouf said.

Today cases of COVID-19 in Ontario have risen to 615 and citizens are starting to be more cautious of where they frequent once more, something done at the beginning of the pandemic.

Theresa Stirpe, owner and chef of FreshFoodie in Vaughan, noticed a boom in her e-commerce sales when the pandemic hit.

She explains because of COVID-19, her online revenue rose from twenty per cent to eighty percent.

Stirpe also explains, although she had an e-commerce store in place where customers can get their meals delivered, the boom in business came at a time when the world couldn’t leave their homes.

“I knew that having a retail physical location would be great, but I knew… I’d never be able to reach a full market without having an online presence,” she said.

However, Lou Joubran, manager of Speedy Electric Ltd. in Mississauga, is sticking to his tried and true business model for his HVAC and air conditioning repair company.

Joubran works solo and without a website, basing his work on referrals and feels content with where he is in the business.

“I didn’t set up a website because I don’t advertise. I strictly base my business on word of mouth [as] I’m just in a comfortable place wherever [business] comes in,” he said.

With the rise in COVID-19 cases, each business can be unique in its choice on shifting all merchandise online, but remaining optimistic and planning with accordance continues to be the way until a change comes.

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