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What is fuelling the rise of eCommerce?

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  • Feb 26,2024
  • By Admin

Britain is in the middle of an eCommerce boom.

The global pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns have made it necessary for both businesses and consumers to reconsider their priorities and adapt their behaviours. One such change is the shift in attitudes towards eCommerce.

Prior to the onset of COVID-19, consumers were far less accepting of online trading. Indeed, a 2019 study from PFS exposed consumers’ disconnect with online trading as 54% of respondents had a negative experience of online shopping.

The main problem for many consumers had been convenience; or lack thereof. For example, three quarters (75%) of millennial respondents claim that they would never make an online purchase with a strict or ‘no returns’ policy. This figure highlights the increasing consumer demand for choice, and flexibility to change their mind regarding purchases.

Indeed, such figures certainly suggested, whilst many people still partook in online shopping, many may have been reluctant to wholeheartedly embrace eCommerce as their primary shopping outlet.

What changed?

COVID-19 has undeniably accelerated Britons’ dependence on eCommerce, thanks to social distancing measures shutting down high street retailers for months on end. Indeed, the OECD reported that in the first two quarters of 2020, eCommerce as a share of total retail expenditure reached 31.7% - a marked increase on the first quarter of 2018 where it held just a 17.3% share.

This growth is substantial. However, whether it is sustainable or not is another question. After all, a survey by Retail Economics and NatWest found nearly half (46%) of UK consumers had turned to online retail for purchases they would have only previously made in person. This highlights one of the main obstacles online retail has faced in the past – most of us like to judge for ourselves the quality of a product or service in person before agreeing to pay for it.

As such, one can’t help but consider whether, once lockdown restrictions have eased further, consumers may look for more convenient methods of shopping.

The importance of logistics

As the aforementioned PFS research outlined, the priority for all consumers is convenience; over six in ten (62%) of survey respondents expected online outlets to cater to their demands of quick and easy returns for unsuitable products.

Whilst in 2019, this may not have been as high in priorities for online traders, this is certainly not the case in the post-Covid world.

Today however, with more and more businesses turning to online platforms to continue trading, logistical frameworks have naturally become more advanced. As such, eCommerce organisations are better equipped to cater to the various demands of customers.

Client convenience has become to core focus for eCommerce businesses. At One World Express, we ensure that such organisations can provide such a service. For example, we offer a wealth of shipping preferences tailored for the requirements of businesses at any scale. For instance, the ability to generate manifests and customs forms, organise collection and shipments, with compatible support for address lists. This results in the streamlining of a process that, in the world of physical retail, is often laborious and time-consuming.

Equally, the ability for companies to Track & Trace shipments globally across allows a transparency and customisation businesses will find appealing. This information can then be reflected through the firms’ own online platform and made visible to consumers themselves, winning more of the consumer confidence that eCommerce businesses will find crucial to their success.

The rewards are clear to see - Statista report that the value of UK online retail sales in 2020 reached £99.31bn – an increase of more than 30% on the previous year. While it cannot yet be discounted that this spike may fade as consumers re-emerge into a world without restrictions on trading, but there is reason to be confident this boom may be sustainable.

With API integrations affording firms the flexibility to enhance their own digital platforms, and the process of shipping and managing orders more convenient than ever, more and more businesses and consumers will look to embrace the benefits of eCommerce. As public trust catches up to the evident convenience, online retail can only go from strength to strength.