#SmallBusinessAdvice

Any Other Business: 5 February 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 the payment platform making life easier for online sellers, and why self-care is a top priority for US consumers this year.

three glasses with coins and a plant

Start-up’s ambitious plans will help more e-commerce sellers access funds

E-commerce financer Storfund1, which shortens the cash cycle of those who sell online, has just secured fresh investment to expand its global operations across Europe.

The funding provider helps online marketplace merchants access working capital and unlock liquidity. Founded in 2018, it is currently present in 15 out of 18 Amazon marketplaces, as well as in some other leading e-commerce websites across Europe. As part of its expansion plans, it hopes to roll out onto several other leading European marketplaces.

“Storfund bridges the gap between e-commerce and capital, which is underserved by traditional banks which are either too rigid to adapt or are withdrawing from the SME sector”, co-founder George Brintalos says2. “We are here to address the capital needs of this new category of entrepreneurs, providing them with the liquidity they need to naturally grow their business, without adding unnecessary debt on their balance sheet or diluting their share capital base.”

men's aftershave on a stack of towels

Consumers will prioritize self-care this year

Following a year of political unrest and the impact of COVID-19, Americans will prioritize their health and wellbeing in 2021. A new survey reveals that 69% of people plan to engage in more self-care this year than last year, whilst 47% said their go-to “me time” ritual is an at-home spa pampering session3.

With people still spending a lot of time at home amidst the pandemic, we’ve tipped “DIY beauty” as a trending e-commerce product category for 2021. Expect to see DIY face masks and manicure products do big business online. Find out what other products will be filling online shoppers' carts this year. 

display of vegan food

Vegans given boost by Heinz

Heinz’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) service, Heinz to Home, is expanding its range with a new vegan bundle. The box will contain vegan versions of its mayonnaise and salad cream, as well as the brand’s famous beans, for those who want to eat plant-based meals. 

Heinz to Home was launched in 2020, one of many new D2C services that found a thriving market during the pandemic, as those anxious about leaving their homes sought products and services delivered directly to their door. The D2C market had been growing rapidly even before Covid and is projected to grow by 19.2% in 20214.

man wrapping up a package

Online offers lifeline to European retailers during second lockdown

New research by Ecommerce Europe5 has unveiled some insights into the e-commerce landscape as the pandemic rages on.

The survey, which was addressed to e-commerce associations across Europe during the second lockdown at the end of 2020, found that 66% of omnichannel retailers saw a “large” increase in online sales when their physical stores were closed as more people began to shop online instead.6

Whilst some retailers expressed frustration at uncertainties around the classification of essential stores and the rules for click-and-collect delivery, the overall perception of e-commerce was positive, with the survey’s results “demonstrating that e-commerce has become a lifeline for many traditional (brick-and-mortar) businesses that had to close.”7

Thinking of making the switch to e-commerce? Follow our 22 Golden Rules of E-commerce to ensure you hit the ground running.

amazon parcels

Amazon eyes up another corner of European market

Amazon’s unstoppable expansion continues... This time, Poland is the target, with the e-commerce giant announcing plans to launch Amazon.pl in the near future. The website isn’t live yet, but e-commerce selling partners in Poland and abroad can now register their businesses in anticipation.

Amazon has ten logistics centers in Poland that help process European deliveries, but until now hasn’t had a dedicated e-commerce website there. The move is a threat to Allegro8, the country’s current e-commerce leader which controls more than 36% of the market thanks to its strong customer base9. Despite this, MBank SA analyst Pawel Szpigiel believes Amazon might just gain the edge. “Even though Amazon fees may be higher, merchants will get fulfillment and packaging services and access to global shoppers.”10

Thinking of selling on Amazon? Check out our guide to the leading online marketplaces to discover which one’s right for your business.

1 - Storfund

2 - George Brintalos, Ecommerce News Europe, January 2021

3- Canvas8, February 2021

4 - Canvas8, January 2021

5 - Ecommerce Europe

6 & 7 - Ecommerce Europe, January 2021  

8 - Allegro

9 & 10 - Bloomberg, January 2021