Plus, consumers say they will continue in-app ordering and curbside pickup after the coronavirus subsides.

Ecommerce is gaining new fans during the coronavirus as those who rarely or never shopped on the web before the crisis have done so to avoid stores, a June report from Accenture finds.

This group of shoppers plans to increase their ecommerce purchases by 160% during the pandemic. Additionally, many shoppers said they planned to continue omnichannel shopping after it ends. 51% say they will continue ordering via mobile apps, 42% will keep shopping online for curbside pickup, and 41% plan to use live chatbots after the pandemic.

The Accenture report is based on a survey of 7,872 consumers in 18 markets around the globe conducted May 5–11.

Additionally, 29% of consumers said they feel comfortable shopping at a nonessential retail store, and the same percentage said they feel comfortable shopping at a shopping center. A higher 40% feel comfortable shopping at a grocery store or pharmacy.

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“Why, what and how consumers buy is changing in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak,” the report notes. “Omnichannel options have seen a boost as new consumers migrate online to shop—a rise that is likely to sustain post-outbreak. Consumers are prioritizing their most basic needs while cutting back on nonessentials. The factors that influence brand decisions are also changing as a buy-local trend accelerates.”

The research report notes some consumer goods companies, such as skin care and cosmetics company Kiehl’s, have brought in-store beauty services online. For example, the company’s personalized consultations provided through the “Healthy Skin Hub” are now accessible via online chat. Meanwhile, grocery store chain The Kroger Co., No. 13 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, is offering a virtual tele-nutrition service to help shoppers choose and prepare healthy and affordable food.

Meanwhile, online luxury apparel retailer Olivela has added new virtual services for shoppers such as one-on-one appointments with Olivela buyers, virtual styling services and virtual events, the retailer tells Digital Commerce 360.

In April Olivela sent consumers who signed up for virtual skin care consultations through Instagram a brief questionnaire asking about their skin type and product preferences. Experts then picked products for each participant and hosted a live virtual consultation with each consumer, describing the products and offering advice. Participants received a follow-up email that included the links to the products highlighted during their virtual session. 80% of consumers who signed up for a session had never purchased from the retailer before. The sessions also generated a 20% conversion rate over 2 days, the retailer says.

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“Consumer goods companies need to substantially improve their omnichannel capabilities to accommodate new preferences,” the report notes.

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