The development of online commerce has accelerated rapidly in recent years. Especially in the past year, the digitization of shops has made significant progress as a result of the pandemic. The trend towards e-commerce was primarily promoted by the business closures as part of the protective measures. In Europe alone, 15 countries recorded an increase in their e-commerce transactions of at least 40% compared to the previous year at the end of 2020.
The increased preference for online shopping is clearly reflected in the results of many surveys. For example, 46% of the questioned Germans said that their purchasing behavior had shifted towards more online purchases over the past year. Even products that were previously purchased stationary are now increasingly being ordered online. Of those surveyed, 23% thought they would continue to use online shops more often in the future. Outside of Germany, the trend towards online shopping is also clearly visible. In the United States of America, 62% of people with Internet access shop online at least once a month.
This development is well known to many shops and ensures accelerated digitization. Small and medium-sized German companies plan to offer 50% of their goods and services online permanently and 36% have already started doing so in December 2020. This path will be unavoidable for many companies in the future, as it is assumed that by 2040 around 95% of all purchases will be made online.
However, this does not mean the end of stationary retail, as “omnichannel” offers are becoming increasingly relevant. Experts expect that after the pandemic, brick-and-mortar purchases will increase again for the time being, which is why online retail should not be seen as a competitor, but as a complement to brick-and-mortar retail. The interplay of different sales channels is very attractive for many customers. For example, a collaboration between mail-order pharmacies and stationary pharmacies is planned to offer delivery possibilities in order to supply hard-to-reach areas and to offer advice both digitally and in person.
For modern customers, however, the Customer Experience (CX) remains the most decisive factor. For 64% of customers surveyed by Gartner, the CX is more important than the price of the product or service. Jonny Protheroe (Market Insights EMEA at Google) stresses that companies need to provide their customers with enough information and inspiration to stay attractive. This is a valuable tip, considering that only 58% of online customers are satisfied with the ways to reach a human service employee. Maintaining personal contact in the face of increasing digitization, e. g. by offering video consulting on the company website, will be crucial for the success of a company in the future. At the same time, helpful gadgets for online shopping, such as the re-order buttons from Amazon, are also enjoying increasing popularity.
It is therefore important to find a healthy balance between traditional values and digital innovations in order to remain relevant for modern customers. The development of online shopping offers companies the chance to reach more consumers through the digitization of their shop and at the same time remain personally accessible.
This post is inspired by articles by:
DKB in collaboration with Volker Koppe on finanzwissen.dkb.de,
Michael Praschma on heise-regioconcept.de,
Ines Bahr on capterra.com,
Khalid Saleh on invespcro.com,
GTAI on gtai.de,
Maddy Osman on kinsta.com,
Jake Sorofman & Laura McLellan on gartner.com,
Lucy Sinclair on thinkwithgoogle.com