Any Other Business: 8 January 2021

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s AOB looks at the latest e-commerce news from around the world including Germany’s thriving online sector, and why drones may soon be giving your mailman competition.

hands on a brown parcel writing

Returns cause unwelcome headache for Christmas sellers

The festive season – including Christmas and New Year – is undoubtedly a lucrative one for e-commerce businesses, but with the boom in sales comes an increase in online returns.

The National Retail Federation1 predicts that approximately 13% of merchandise – around US$101 billion worth of goods – sold by US retailers during the 2020 holiday season will be returned2.

What's more, online stores will take much of the hit. The e-commerce sector typically has a higher returns rate than in-store retail as online consumers are denied the user experience of inspecting and feeling products before purchasing. The in-store apparel returns rate, for example, is 5-8%, while online runs around 30%3.

Returns are an unfortunate by-product of e-commerce sales, but you can learn how to keep the returns process as stress free for you and your customers with our dedicated guide

Germany city scape

Germany’s online sales boom

Germany's e-commerce market could be worth 120 billion euros ($US147 billion) in 2024, according to new research. The forecast from IHF Cologne4 predicts that online retail in the country will continue to soar on the back of the pandemic's boost to the sector.

"During the last few months [of 2020], more and more purchases have been made online. The online volume in German retail will be between 80 and 88 billion euros in 2020, which means that growth has at least doubled compared to the previous year [2019]", the company said5.

Ready to start doing business with the world's fourth largest economy? Check out our exclusive guide to e-commerce in Germany to make the most of every online retail opportunity.  

tablet with arrows showing stats

Indonesia faces big logistics hurdles

Indonesia's fast-growing e-commerce sector is highlighting weaknesses in its logistics and fulfilment capabilities. The country, which has a population of over 260 million, has seen internet penetration grow from 43% in 2015 to 73% in 20206. In response, Alibaba7 entered the market in 2020, whilst Amazon has shown interest in expanding its presence there.

Despite this, the country's supply-chain ecosystem is still poor. A report8 by the World Bank9 in 2018 scored Indonesia's Logistic Performance Index at only 3.2 out of 6, owing to problems such as lack of transportation infrastructure, red tape and complicated regulations, which result in high costs, too.

If you're looking to ship to Indonesia, DHL can help! From managing customs paperwork, to navigating local challenges, the world's most international company has your business covered.

yellow delivery drone in the air

Delivery drones fly closer to inception

A world where we receive deliveries from the sky may be closer than we think. Commercial drone use for deliveries and services has recently cleared a major hurdle in the US. For the first time, regulations from the Federal Aviation Administration10 will allow the devices to fly over populated areas, with new requirements for tracking them to address safety and security concerns11.

It may be some time before drones become a mainstream delivery method, but the move is an exciting step towards a new era in logistics trends.

In 2016, DHL was the first parcel service provider in the world to directly integrate a parcelcopter logistically into its delivery chain, concluding a three-month trial that saw its third-generation Parcelcopter make fully autonomous deliveries through the winds and snow of the Bavarian Alps for customers in two mountain communities.

mobile phone with MikMak across it

Start-up puts spotlight on consumer insights

E-commerce marketing start-up MikMak12 has launched in Europe and Canada. The company specializes in software that helps e-commerce brands increase sales and provide better online experiences by optimizing their media channels for e-commerce. Brands and sellers can unify their digital storefront across different online retailers, allowing consumers to choose where they shop.

The rollout comes at a transformative stage for online shopping as a result of the pandemic, said Rachel Tipograph, MikMak's founder. "Consumer brands across categories like consumer electronics, beauty, grocery, homecare, personal care, pets and spirits understand that their categories are about to reach a tipping point where e-commerce will become the majority of their revenue. We give brands more insight into the e-commerce customer journey than they have ever had before."13

 1 - National Retail Federation

2 - Reuters, December 2020

3 - Inmar Intelligence research, Reuters, December 2020

4 - IFH Cologne

5 - IFH Cologne, Ecommerce News Europe, December 2020  

6 - The Jakarta Post, January 2020  

7 - Alibaba

8 - World Bank report, The Jakarta Post, January 2020

9 - World Bank

10 - Federal Aviation Administration

11 - Digital Commerce 360, December 2020

12 - MikMak

13 - Rachel Tipograph, Ecommerce News Europe, December 2020