For almost two weeks we have been shocked by the brutality of the war in Ukraine. It is inevitable that this conflict will leave clear traces. Especially the supply chains, which are still strained due to the corona pandemic, will certainly not come to rest now. What online trade has to adapt to.
War on our European doorstep – the extent of the Ukraine war is unbelievable. And the daily horror reports and images give no hope of a quick end. This is scary and makes us look to the future with concern. Were we sure just a few weeks ago that the corona virus would finally release us from its stranglehold and we could go on living carefree again.
War in Ukraine changes purchasing behavior
Now the reality is completely different. Fear is at work again – the fear that the war in Ukraine could escalate and spread to Europe. This can be seen very clearly in the purchasing behavior of consumers. Now the demand for products that are necessary to retreat to shelters is increasing. This was found out by the price comparison portal billiger.de in a survey.
We remember: When Corona broke out, customers started buying hamsters – suddenly toilet paper, pasta and flour, for example, were in short supply. Now the threat situation is different. But hamster purchases are probably pre-programmed. The demand for items such as sleeping bags, hygiene items, radiant heaters and heaters, generators and radios is increasing. Between February 23 and March 1, 2022, demand for sleeping bags increased by 1,558 percent. An increase of 666 percent was recorded for hygiene articles, 475 percent for radios and 333 percent for camping stoves. Many obviously also fear the failure of heating systems. The demand for radiant heaters shot up by 226 percent. And the situation is not much different with radiant heaters and generators. Obviously, many citizens expect the conflict in Ukraine to escalate further. A Forsa survey confirms the fear: 69 percent of Germans fear that NATO could be drawn into the Ukraine conflict.
Malware and online fraud on the rise
Companies that have so far taken the protection of their IT landscape lightly should act now at the latest. The cyber threat to online retailers and other organizations is not only high due to the Ukraine war. Now the threat is increasing. The states involved in the war are also fighting each other online. This also attracts spam free riders.
Bitdefender Labs, for example, has noticed an increased volume of phishing emails in the past few days. Particularly perfidious: The criminals use the great willingness to help triggered by the humanitarian crisis for online fraud and malware distribution.
Full program – Trojans, spam, phishing
According to Bitdefender, hackers attack companies in the manufacturing industry with the Trojan Agent Tesla Remote Access. The Malware-as-a-Service Remote Access Trojan is sent via a zip attachment. E-mail recipients should provide information about their backup plans in view of the Ukraine war. From a Discord link, the malicious Trojan is downloaded and implemented on the system. A Chrome version is included as a distraction. This is just one example of the hackers’ methods. The list of attacks could of course be extended. Hackers do not shy away from fake calls for donations and pretend to collect for the Ukrainian government, UNICEF, Act vor Peace and other organizations.
The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) also confirms that the Internet is increasingly becoming a theater of war. It has also identified an increased threat situation for Germany, to which companies must adapt. So vigilance and hedging are extremely important right now.
Supply chain troubles don’t stop there
During the Corona crisis, we have already learned what it means when sand gets into the gears of supply chains. This is symbolic when the freighter “Ever Given” got stuck in the Suez Canal with a load of 18,000 containers almost a year ago. There was a traffic jam on the waterway, and product deliveries did not arrive for weeks. Corona also caused port closures and staff layoffs. When the ports reopened, they were missing, which further delayed the handling of the ships. We’re still gnawing at it, because the supply chains are far from running smoothly. Now comes the next challenge: the war in Ukraine is causing everything to come to a standstill again – the situation is tense. There is also the threat of price increases and further rising inflation.
Christian Paechter, Chief Sales Officer at logistics company PVS Europe, explains: “Even after the end of the year and the high season, material shortages and interrupted supply chains still concern many companies. The situation has now worsened with the conflict in Ukraine. Logistic bottlenecks, suspended goods transport and blocked airspace will have a direct impact on e-commerce, meaning that not all customer requests can be met. For online shoppers, this may mean higher costs and longer waiting times. Different sectors are affected to different degrees. However, consumers do not yet have to adjust to empty shelves.”
Prepare for faltering supply chains
The same applies here as it did during the pandemic. Companies that prepare for stagnant supply chains in good time can cushion a lot. However, no one can yet predict whether this will also work during the war in Ukraine.
But the fact is: the longer the war lasts, the more e-commerce, companies in many sectors and consumers will feel the effects.
What to do?
As in the pandemic, it is now important to keep a cool head. E-commerce in particular should adapt to peak demand. Not only must the range of goods be available, but the company’s internal processes must also function. Online retailers who have already digitized this during the Corona crisis will certainly benefit. Others should also put their IT systems to the test in terms of security.
Great willingness to help
Many companies are also becoming active, providing support in the crisis and offering help. Not only through donations in kind, collection campaigns or appeals for donations. They also help with a free data service, for example. The Hamburg-based data service provider Team Drive makes its cloud service for data exchange available to the aid organization Ukraine Hilfe, all people with a Ukrainian passport and all privately organized Ukraine aid organizations free of charge. An email to ukraine(at)teamdrive.de is sufficient.
The companies Outtra and Joe Nimble and others have launched a donation initiative under #sport4ukraine. Players from the sports industry as well as private individuals can participate. More under https://www.sport4ukraine.de/
Christiane Manow-Le Ruyet