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The ecommerce evolution & its influence on shopping habits

Among the many changes that have occurred since 2020, one of the most widespread and enduring is the ecommerce evolution. Online shopping was a great convenience for many consumers during social distancing, making it possible for millions to get the items they needed without moving past their front door — particularly those seeking healthcare products where items were more likely to be life-altering and essential.

When contemplating the future of ecommerce, are the current industry trends here to stay or will there be another shift in the years to come?

The expanding digital wellness market

Spending on personal wellness has been rebounding since stagnating and declining during the pandemic. McKinsey & Company estimates the global wellness market at over $1.5 trillion with an annual growth of 5% to 10%.1

Opportunities abound now and the wellness market is overcrowded, forcing companies to strategize about how and where they compete online.

It's essential to know how consumers view wellness and how they want to achieve their wellness goals. This area of the market isn't just about buying masks, healthy food and over-the-counter painkillers.

Wellness shopping includes:1

  • Better health: Medicine, supplements, personal health trackers, medical devices
  • Better fitness: Workout programs, exercise equipment
  • Better nutrition: Nutrition apps, diet programs, juice cleanses, subscription food services
  • Better appearance: Athleisure apparel, skin care beauty products, collagen supplements
  • Better sleep: Sleep trackers, eye masks, gravity blankets
  • Better mindfulness: Meditation equipment

A growing number of consumers claim to need these products to help them achieve higher-quality wellness. If provided the opportunity to conveniently and privately purchase and test these products at home, the odds are better that they'll find what they want and keep coming back for more.

The profile of a wellness product shopper

Consumers spend more of their disposable income on products and services that promote better health than any other category.1 In fact, McKinsey reports that consumers expect to increase wellness products and services purchases over the next year. Furthermore, there are indications that personal trainers, counselors and nutritionists — services that promote better health — will become more popular.

For retailers to excel at healthcare ecommerce, it's essential to promote product features sincerely and target the right customers. Consumers fall into distinct groups that all behave differently, the most common being:1

  • Wellness enthusiasts: These high-income consumers actively follow brands on social media, keep an eye on new product launches and show great excitement for innovations
  • Socially responsible: This group prefers environmentally sustainable brands with clean and natural ingredients and is open to paying more for them
  • Price-conscious folks: These consumers believe in wellness products and consider them essential but still only buy them after comparing features, benefits and prices to secure the best deal

Online shopping impacts measurable factors

As the trend for digital shopping boomed in 2020, there was growing interest in how to measure this shift's impact. Purchase location can vary between store and website, as can how many items make it into an online basket. Metrics like basket size play a key role in understanding shopper behavior and influences.

By tracking each online transaction, you can analyze the increase or decrease of baskets during different periods, the products inside them and items purchased together.

For example, established online grocery store customers (those who shopped for over 60 weeks with a specific grocer) spent 2.4 times more in four weeks than new shoppers who just started shopping with that same grocer over the past four weeks. Their order frequency was 1.9 times higher and the order value 1.3 times larger.2

With intelligence like this, retailers can better predict consumer buying trends and target marketing to savvy online shoppers who want to save time, effort and money.

The evolution of customer loyalty

Over the past two years, customer loyalty has plummeted, with buyers switching brands at unprecedented rates. These trends included:3

  • Using a new shopping method (curbside pickup or delivery app) 
  • Trying different brands
  • Choosing a different retailer or website
  • Using a new digital shopping method

This may suggest that offering a more extensive catalog of products than competitors is an advantage for some companies. During the pandemic's onset, many consumers had little choice but to abandon their loyalty and try a new brand or shopping behavior because of low supply chain stock.

After going outside their standard box, 73% of consumers said they were open to seeking out new brands in the future.3

Making the most of the digital shift

As demand for wellness products continues to expand, so does the product assortment to meet their specific needs. This market effect offers online and omnichannel retailers the opportunity for differentiation and growth — and a competitive advantage over exclusively brick-and-mortar outlets with limited inventory capacity.

Offering an extensive digital catalog, personalizing offers and enabling subscription services will go a long way toward satisfying the diverse audience of wellness shoppers.

Winning in the healthcare ecommerce market

Physical health and wellness are a bigger priority than ever. As a whole, consumers are spending more in this market and sifting through the digital array to find the option that will serve them best. The needs for wellness, balance and fulfillment aren't going anywhere, and neither are consumers' demands for convenience — delivered right to their doorstep.

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© McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc.