Nearly half of all Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and with the CDC’s recent update that masks can now be foregone for the vaccinated both indoors and outdoors in select locations, it seems more than ever that the end of the pandemic is near. But, just as we saw with the backlash to the unexpected CDC recommendation, many Americans may not be quite ready to embrace life as normal once again. In short, many are scared – and while the freedom to go maskless is something we’ve long awaited, safety is still at the forefront of many hearts and minds.
This is making consumer safety a continued trend in the post-pandemic world. Many of the technologies and products created in a response to pandemic needs have now finished production and proven their efficacy, and as the world gears back up for reopening, these products have already proven to be quite useful in tempering consumer anxiety and bolstering safety for businesses. Keep an eye on these e-commerce products, because nothing motivates consumers quite like fear – and it’s still going to take a while for the fear following the pandemic to dissipate.
Products That Assist In Consumer Protection
There are many new additions to protection everywhere you go. At restaurants, many tables are separated by plexiglass or plastic, especially in tight corners when it’s impossible to create a full six feet between patrons. These aren’t likely to go away any time soon. Think about it: heading into a restaurant and not seeing separators, and instead being elbow-to-elbow with the tables on either side of you, won’t feel safe for most consumers.
Many companies quickly rose to the challenge to make solutions to this problem. Companies like MergeWorks produce restaurant table dividers and room dividers that are actually customizable depending on a customer’s needs (for bars, restaurants, or even at tables) as a response to protection concerns. The company stated that “outdoor seating is considered a safer alternative to indoor seating; yet proper ventilation in outdoor dining areas cannot always be guaranteed. The CDC still considers dining in the open air risky even when tables are spaced at least 6 feet apart. It would be wise to consider using outside dining dividers in addition to indoor dining dividers.”
It’s not just about the safety and the protection, though. This is a hot market for new products – and restaurants are ordering in bulk – because it also creates a feeling of privacy for customers. Even if a customer no longer feels concerned about a table of strangers a few feet away from them at their favorite eatery, there’s still something nice about that glass partition, making conversation feel a bit more private. Protection pairs with unexpected benefit.
Products For Sanitation And Cleanliness Within A Business
2020 was a booming year for hand sanitizer and Clorox Wipes businesses, and they’re sure to keep churning out products and selling out. Even boarding an aircraft, passengers are each given mini rubbing alcohol wipes to wipe down their seats, tray tables, and belongings: something that’s sure to stick around. For one, it makes customers feel safer – but it also protects the airline. In addition to thorough sanitation routines in between trips, the customers get an added element of ‘control,’ sanitizing their space on their own. This increases the chances of a clean personal space and demonstrates that the airline cares about keeping its passengers safe. A win-win for everyone.
Beyond the obvious, other e-commerce products stand out because they’re offering sanitation and cleanliness via proprietary technology, such as waterproof and rip-proof synthetic paper menus that are machine washable. TerraSlate has seen a huge surge in demand for these types of menus. And the company recently announced a new feature: an antimicrobial and antiviral nano-coating. This is meant to help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses that normal menus perpetuate, while providing that extra element of safety and security for the customer because they’re machine washable.
Assessing Key Indicators Of E-Commerce Success Post-Pandemic
When looking at the e-commerce products that are making the most significant splash or seeing the highest demand as the world reopens, consider the following.
- How much this product’s value proposition eases concerns on behalf of a customer. This pertains to in-store, in-restaurant, onboard public transportation, or otherwise. Since customer fear is a major reason they may avoid situations, places, or entertainment, appeasing this fear is necessary – and many e-commerce products are doing just that.
- How much the product offers efficiency and help to business owners. If the product can replace any form of labor, or help business owners create feelings of comfort and confidence within their customers, it’s a product worth watching.
- How the product is manufactured, and how much can be sold. Global toilet paper and hand sanitizer shortages in the height of the pandemic proved that supply chains can be fragile. If an e-commerce product rooted in consumer safety is a unicorn product, that’s amazing – but only if it can keep up with the demand. Does it have the infrastructure to rise to that challenge?
“As consumers become increasingly savvy about supply chain structures, it’s no longer enough for brands to talk about transparency that ties to their logistics – factory to store. Consumers are savvy enough to know what’s been done for the sake of insight into efficiency and risk management. They want to know brands can speak to ecological and social data captured for the purpose of providing insight into how they might invest in the practices that will help fuel a more sustainable shared future,” says Shanley Knox, a marketing and innovation strategist.
It’s near certain that the coming months and years will continue to see a spike in demand for consumer safety e-commerce products.