Key Insights from the Webinar: Digital Commerce in COVID-19

5 Insights from the Webinar: Digital Commerce in Times of COVID-19

Focusing on the business operation, user experience, and omnichannel strategy paved the way for increased sales for Hancocks – UK’s leading wholesaler for bulk confectionery – followed by a 30% YOY growth in the year 2018. Hancocks shifted its focus to the four-pillar growth strategy — operational stability, improved availability, enhanced usability, increased website traffic — that resulted in 65% YOY growth and a robust operating model in the year 2019.

Their growth level continued to rise in 2020 until they got hit by COVID-19.

How did COVID-19 impact Hancocks? Did their business model flip upside down? Gareth Walbyoff, Head of eCommerce, Hancocks provides some valuable insights on the impact of COVID-19 on Digital Commerce in a webinar hosted by Abhi Garg, Chief Revenue Officer, Net Solutions.

Key Insights from the Webinar — Digital Commerce in Times of COVID-19

The winds of change are sweeping the Digital Commerce landscape, creating difficulties for some online businesses and opportunities for others. The following are some of the key insights from our webinar, which focuses on the tips, challenges, and trends that will shape the post-COVID-19 commerce era.

1. Know Your Customer Better

Businesses are looking to continue delivering value to their target customers. Now is the time to ponder upon your offerings: Are you able to improve your customers’ experience through your offerings? Customers are looking for assurance — put their interest first and show them how valuable they are to you if you are looking to gain customer loyalty and trust.

65% of retailers in Net Solutions’ Digital Commerce survey claim that personalization would be their top Digital Commerce technology budget priority over the next year, followed by customer support (25%) and customer loyalty programs (10%).

To listen to the webinar in its entirety, click here

Top digital commerce technology budget of retailers

2. Maintain Customer Loyalty During Times of Uncertainty

Hancocks’ period-on-period repeat rate increased by 80% during the COVID-19 crisis. How? By making the customer’s life more comfortable and solving their pain-points. Providing them what they want in the desired timeframe and resolving their issues — one of the biggest challenges that online businesses face — helps increase customer lifetime value.

58% of all Commerce Retailers we surveyed find it difficult to sell to their existing customers.

Businesses that tend to focus on customer loyalty deliver supplier-agnostic, future-focused solutions, securing both retention and growth.

Net Solutions's GROWTH Model


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3. A Surge in Online Sales Post-COVID-19 Crisis

The COVID crisis is changing customer behavior toward digital channels, and this paradigm shift is likely to stick in the post-COVID world too. The pandemic challenged many businesses to survive initially; however, the crisis also paved the way for opportunities — savvy companies that have invested in their Digital Commerce businesses have emerged as market leaders.

To listen to the webinar in its entirety, click here

For example, in the case of Hancocks, a lot of new business is being driven through organic search post-COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, according to Net Solutions’ eCommerce Industry Report, 82% of such businesses are optimistic that their revenue growth will improve.

Net Solutions' customer-cenric framework

4. Lack of Right Digital Tools and Solutions

Although Hancocks is on the continuous growth path, Gareth feels they lack the right digital tools and solutions to drive online sales. Investing in digital solutions opens up the doors and brings you a step closer to your customer and provides you a chance to offer value to your target customers through native, intuitive, and omnichannel experiences.

71% of businesses believe they are not equipped with the right digital tools and solutions.

58% of businesses find it difficult to sell to their exisiting customers

5. Digital Transformation will be a Driver of Success During and After the COVID-19 Crisis

The points discussed above lead us toward the importance of Digital Transformation. The time to act is — now. Forward-thinking businesses will embrace the new normal and invest in Digital Transformation. Futuristic technology upgrades such as “Augmented-Reality Search Platforms” will set the tone for vertical dominance and yield the first-mover advantage.

To listen to the webinar in its entirety, click here

3 Tangible Business Process Automation Takeaways

  • On-Site Search
  • Forecast Model
  • Order Processing

People will be talking about Hancocks – how they changed the shape of wholesale confectionery in the 21st century – and Abhi mark my words on that. – Gareth Walbyoff, Head of eCommerce, Hancocks


The COVID-19 crisis is one of the defining moments of this decade, which is pushing the Digital Commerce landscape into the age of the New Normal. Some businesses were already there, while for others, this is all new. However, engaging with your customers through the right messaging and delivering value to your potential customers will help online businesses to come out of this pandemic stronger — as reflected in the webinar: Digital Commerce in Times of COVID-19

Watch the Webinar Digital Commerce in Times of COVID-19.jpg

Adam Milne

About the Author

Forte:Managing and Leading projects with multi-cultural teams in competitive environments
Likes: Biking around NYC and enjoys Pineapple on Pizza
Dislikes: Micromanaging
Claim to Fame: As Creed in ‘The Office’ says, I was born in the US of A.
Biggest Tech blunder committed: Early in my career, thinking UX and UI are the same things. *Facepalm*
Wannabe: A professional Basketball Player

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