The coronavirus pandemic has driven much of the global economy to digital channels, but are telcos ready and properly equipped to capitalise on the e-commerce revolution?

With physical retail stores closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unsurprising that 2020 has seen a marked rise in use of e-commerce channels. The e-commerce sector was growing rapidly even before the pandemic began, but this enormous event has truly changed the commercial playing field for many industries around the world, pushing e-commerce even more into the spotlight.
For telcos, e-commerce has long been a sector of great interest, but their ability to deliver on its massive potential has varied greatly. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, can they react and evolve their strategies to capitalise on the current landscape? 
With the pandemic beginning to wane in some countries, some retail markets are beginning to recover once again and for Leonie Tichelaar, product owner eCommerce at VodafoneZiggo, there are significant lessons to be learned here.
“During the Covid-19 all our shops closed, and our ecom channels increased proportionally. This is a big change, but not a surprising one. Consumers didn’t have much of a choice, then to go online,” she said. “However since the shops have (partially) reopened we see that they slowly take their pre-Covid-19 levels again. Hence the consumers prefer the retail channel, if they have a choice. Actually this has been the biggest A-B test in our history.”
A change in mindset is needed if telcos are really going to capitalise on the potential for e-commerce, as well as a balancing of expectations.
“The change I see is more a change in the way of thinking about ecom,” added Tichelaar. “That it will not grow that quickly in the coming period and it will be more about omni-channel, instead of just e-com.”
However, all markets are different and in other areas the rise in the use of e-commerce channels is holding steady, with no return to pre-COVID-19 levels, potentially indicating a more long-term shift in consumer habits.
“Not surprisingly due to the current world situation we saw an overall increase in traffic on the websites of our clients,” said Gabriele Romagnoli, international business developer at Binkies 3D. “What is surprising is the fact that, despite shops in some countries are reopening, we don’t see a downward trend suggesting an interesting change in behaviour. Customer journeys will never be the same.”
So, how can telcos looking to break into the e-commerce capitalise on the ongoing digital revolution? What lessons should they learn from the coronavirus pandemic and how can they best use new market solutions to meet the needs of their customers? 
Total Telecom’s upcoming free webinar, Capitalising on the e-commerce revolution, features an expert panel set to discuss these questions and many more. 
Speakers include
– Rovin Vazirani, Business Product Manager, T-Mobile USA
– Leonie Tichelaar, Product Owner e-Commerce, VodafoneZiggo
– Gabriele Romagnoli, International Business Developer, Binkies 3D
– Colin Li, Product Owner Go To Market & eCommerce, TELUS Digital

The webinar will take place on Tuesday the 14th of July, 15:00–16:00 CET. To join the interactive discussion, register for free here