Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has had its fair share of negative effects, it has also been responsible for a number of positive cultural shifts, especially in the e-commerce space. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing forced consumers online and caused companies to pivot, adapt or fail — and that meant major digital changes were made to the traditional shopping experience.
But while many business owners (and customers) are ready to get back to normal, nine leaders from Rolling Stone Culture Council list some of the pandemic-era e-commerce trends they think will stick around for the foreseeable future and why they’ve been such valuable changes to the retail status quo.
It’s been a big trend lately in Western economies for direct-to-consumer brands to utilize this technology in a smart way. QR codes have been around for a while, but were underused in e-commerce. Now, customers can frequently find QR codes on e-commerce boxes and product packages which, when scanned, transport the user to rich edu-content on how best to use the product and its benefits. – Vicente Marti, elrowfamily
Online Grocery Shopping
While online shopping is not a new thing, there was a major shift during the pandemic that created a dependence on such services. We saw a huge spike in supermarket delivery services, which I believe is here to stay. It is difficult to deny or ignore the convenience of online food shopping. – Jessica Passman, Hunter + Esquire
This past year pushed artists to actively experiment with new tech. NFTs exploded and forced artists and labels to really think about cryptocurrency as an important part of their strategy. And while the million-dollar NFT sales have most likely peaked, NFTs and other crypto offshoots like social tokens offer a new frontier where artists and their communities partner to build an entirely new digital world. – Bremner Morris, Rally
‘Try Before You Buy’ Programs
For Broadway, these are the digital capture or streamed concert version of the Broadway show. Like Hamilton on Disney+ or Diana: The Musical on Netflix, it’s a much cheaper digital version for a monthly subscription fee before you purchase the $125 per seat ticket to the stage show – Bonnie Comley, BroadwayHD
Online Ordering with Curbside Pickup and Delivery
Many businesses that survived during the pandemic adapted to offer new alternatives to the traditional in-store shopping experience. Online ordering, delivery and curbside pickups became lifelines when there were virtually no other options. We all came to rely on these methods during the shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, and they’ll be sticking around post-pandemic as an expected convenience. – Vanessa Gabriel, Drop Delivery
Virtually Assisted Shopping
Virtually assisted shopping has to be one of my favorite trends. Product photos, videos and reviews written by customers online are fine, but it’s way better when there’s live video footage and a human sales rep available to speak with if you can’t be there in person. Many people lack transportation or are disabled and can definitely benefit from these services. – Tony M Fountain, Now Entertainment
Diversity of People, Products and Services
During the pandemic, innovation drove change in the e-commerce space. Companies adapted to and leveraged digital resources like mobile ordering to continue to reach potential customers. I think that because of this democratized change we started seeing diversity of product, services and even people in the e-commerce space. It has never been easier to start an online business than it is now. – Ashley Deese, AshleyDeese.com
Video Content on Nontraditional Platforms
Artists aren’t defaulting to putting their video content onto the usual or “traditional” platforms. By choosing to release video in places they truly control, like their own storefront, they can monetize video content much better like they’ve been doing for the last year. – Tommy Stalknecht, Single Music
One popular trend today that we have always been a part of is giving back. Donating a portion of your sales to help those in need, giving a voice to those without one and enriching the lives of others through charitable contributions is paramount for our society’s civility and cultural survival. Valuing the “give back” and the “pay it forward” approach transforms lives. – Ricardo Roig, Roig Collection