At the beginning of lockdown, it was a necessity. Now it has become part of habit. Surveys suggest most of shoppers, who have tasted the comfort of ordering from home and getting goods delivered at doorstep, would continue to enjoy online shopping.
After general holidays or a countrywide shutdown was enforced in March, online shops in Dhaka started getting increased orders from people, who suddenly found themselves confined in homes.
But suppliers and delivery men had almost vanished due to the shutdown enforced to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Despite a sudden surge in demand for food and grocery items, non-availability of delivery men appeared to be a big problem for online shops during the first phase of the shutdown from March 26 to April 4.
According to industry sources, around 90 percent of the e-commerce firms had seen almost zero business as the countrywide shutdown disrupted both supply and delivery chains.
Now the shutdown has gone and health restrictions are largely being overlooked, with increased presence of shoppers in market places.
But online business or e-commerce looks set to thrive in on the changed shopping pattern of consumers.
Such hints are evident in global market researches, which suggest that retailers need to tailor to the changes in customers' habit.
The ways people shop and pay are evolving worldwide.
Moving away from cash, consumers are going digital with purchases of everything from groceries to movies in a shift that looks set to become a permanent habit even after the pandemic passes, a Mastercard study said earlier.
As safety concerns kept consumers indoors and many stores shut during the Covid-19 outbreak, digital commerce revenues grew 20 percent globally in the first quarter of 2020 from a year earlier, according to the Salesforce Shopping Index.
The dramatic increase in online shopping has fast-forwarded the way consumers want to shop, signalling an imminent change in the retail sector, says O2 Business in a recent report.
The UK-based firm ran a survey in partnership with Retail Economics which reveals that 44 percent of customers feel the Covid-19 pandemic will have a permanent impact on their way of shopping, with 47 percent stating that they will shop online more frequently than before.
This comes after the peak of the pandemic, when over a third (34 percent) sourced essential and non-essential items from online retailers, apparel industry research portal just-style says, quoting the survey report.
O2 Business and Retail Economics are therefore calling on retailers to understand what is driving the customers' behaviour, and make the most of opportunities afforded by connectivity, data and the Internet of Things.
The impact of Covid-19 has re-wired the customer journey, leaving many retailers scrambling to assess the impact as they attempt to realign their proposition to meet a new normal, they say.
Retailers are assessing where they should invest and the potential partnerships that could be formed, the retail market analysts suggest.
E-commerce business in Bangladesh is also feeling the heat and entrepreneurs are realigning their businesses.
Responding to a surge in demands for kitchen and grocery items, many e-commerce platforms have added grocery outlets offering wider options for potential customers.
"The last five months have done much more than what we could popularise e-commerce in the past 10-11 years here," says Muhammad Abdul Wahed Tomal, secretary of Bangladesh E-commerce Association.
Sales in e-commerce surged 50 percent in the past five months since March, the month that saw the country's first Covid-19 infection and subsequent enforcement of shutdown.
Chaldal, one of the major e-commerce platforms for grocery items, witnessed a 100 percent growth in sales, its chief operating officer Zia Ashraf told The Business Standard.
"This trend is positive for this industry. We hope this growth will sustain even after situation returns to normalcy," he said.
"Consumers' behavior has changed, they are getting goods delivered at home. So why should they take the trouble of going out for shopping and take health risk during corona pandemic?" Zia explained.