The shutdown of physical stores in much of the world is opening new opportunities for e-commerce marketplaces and mobile apps that deliver value during times of difficulty. But this doesn’t just mean offering attractive discounts and guaranteed delivery. Retailers need to keep up a dialog with consumers and step up with marketing and messaging that is human and helpful.

If it feels like a departure from the marketing playbook, that’s because it is. “Covid-19 has changed business forever,” John Copeland, vice-president of customer and marketing insights at Adobe, said on the company blog. Commenting on the seismic shift in consumer habits and a massive surge in e-commerce, Copeland adds context to the surprising findings in Adobe’s May 2020 Digital Economy Index. The report, which analyzes 1 trillion visits to retail sites and other retailer data, reveals that e-commerce sales in May in the U.S. reached $82.5 billion, up 77.8% year-over-year.

The rapid shift to e-commerce has catapulted an entire industry more than four years into the future in just under four months. As Vivek Pandya, Adobe’s Digital Insights Manager, told fellow Forbes contributor John Koetsier: “it would’ve taken between 4 and 6 years to get to the levels that we saw in May if the growth continued at the same levels it was at for the past few years.”

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