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E-Commerce Is Growing – Are You Growing With It?

By the end of 2019, e-commerce was a fast-growing business channel continuously evolving and adapting to ensure revenue growth and profitability of businesses of all sizes

For some organizations, an e-commerce strategy was a no-brainer. Implementing the right technology and effective supply chain solutions to ensure customer satisfaction and boost sales. For other organizations, adoption was slower and sometimes non-existent. But even in those cases, business leaders were aware e-commerce was inevitably on the horizon, however far they perceived it to be.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world at the beginning of 2020, many businesses started to react and rethink their operations; first, ensuring the health and safety of employees and customers alike, and second acting quickly to guarantee their economic survival. And so began the accelerated growth of e-commerce, far beyond what any forecast would’ve predicted.

According to a new IBM report, the pandemic has accelerated the shift away from physical stores to digital shopping by roughly five years.

From an economic perspective, e-commerce comes out as one of the winners during the pandemic. But its unprecedented progress has not come without growing pains. Demand fluctuations impacting successful e-fulfillment; efficient and safe last mile delivery options; or supporting customers’ value and purpose-driven purchasing decisions, have meant small and medium businesses need to adapt to a continuously changing landscape rapidly.

Most of all, businesses implementing their e-commerce strategies will have to do so under the climate of uncertainty. While it’s difficult to predict the future of retail post-COVID, one thing is certain: e-commerce will continue to grow and thrive. The real question is, will your business be growing with it?

Three Key Insights

E-commerce will continue to grow beyond the accelerated development caused by the pandemic.

  • Consumers are enjoying the convenience of online shopping for multiple types of products, and the data shows that this trend will continue beyond the COVID-19 crisis. While European consumers want to return in some capacity to previous shopping habits as pandemic restrictions ease, excellent customer experience and speed of delivery are generating value that's driving consumers' intent to continue shopping online.

A robust logistics solution is just as essential for the success of any e-commerce strategy as technology implementation.

  • An integrated approach that considers operational capabilities and technology innovation will be a critical enabler to continue to deliver the great customer experiences consumers are seeking post-pandemic. Optimized operations, with cost-effective fulfillment centers and transport solutions, will be as crucial as technology implementations that provide efficiency and end-to-end visibility to the e-commerce supply chain.

As consumer sentiment continues to shift in the current climate, agility will be crucial.

  • More than ever, supply chain agility and resilience are decisive to ensure the success of operating models that rapidly respond to varying consumer trends in the current and future economic and social climate. A pragmatic approach to agility that tests, measures and executes data-driven decisions will ultimately dictate who the winners and losers will be in the e-commerce game.