#SmallBusinessAdvice

Any Other Business: 23 April 2021

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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vegetables in wooden boxes

This week’s AOB looks at the latest e-commerce news from around the world including the emergence of online-only grocery stores, and how one innovative start-up is using beer sales to tackle deforestation.

DHL parcel machine

Busy consumers turn to out-of-home delivery options

New research has found that there are now 43,000 automated parcel machine units across the European Union and the UK1.

The popularity of parcel lockers has grown with the rise of e-commerce, as consumers embrace the convenience of picking up their parcels from the lockers at a time suitable to them, rather than having to wait at home to receive a delivery. Many of the lockers offer 24-hour access.

The study – which looked at automated parcel machine networks in 27 EU countries – found Poland has the largest number of machines (11,000), followed by Spain (10,000) and Germany (7,000)2.

vegetables in grocery counters

The end of bricks-and-mortar grocery stores?

This week, Hopr3, Belgium’s first online-only grocery market, began trading. The platform is testing in the city of Hasselt, but has ambitions to cover the whole country by 2026.

The Belgian company offers a full supermarket range, including vegetables, fruit, meat and bread, and stocks products from several well-known brands. Hopr buys the majority of its products from a wholesaler, which it stores in a warehouse in Hasselt. There is currently just one electric Peugeot to deliver the groceries. Despite this modest start, founder Stijn Martens is confident there is demand for the service – so much so that he has bankrolled the trial stage himself4.

He may be onto something. Since the start of the pandemic, online grocery sales have soared, with many consumers saying they’re planning to continue online shopping even as restrictions ease5.

TikTok meets Ramadan

TikTok6 has launched a livestreaming e-commerce function in Indonesia, just in time for the holy month of Ramadan. The video platform, so beloved of Gen Z-ers, completed its pilot for livestreaming e-commerce on March 9, drawing more than 10,000 simultaneous viewers at its peak7.

The launch gives online merchants a creative way to reach Indonesian customers at a time when e-commerce in the country surges – around 90% of Indonesia’s 270.3 million people identify as Muslim8, and during Ramadan they shop online for gifts to exchange with family and friends.  

Livestreaming is growing in popularity in Southeast Asia, giving consumers a closer look at the functionality of a product before purchasing. Last month, a report by TikTok into user behavior during Ramadan suggested that Indonesian TikTok users are particularly receptive to advertising, with 90% following calls to action after viewing videos promoting products they like9.

two hands holding beer bottles

Drink beer to save the planet

Kuva Local10, a Zimbabwean-based e-commerce start-up that helps local businesses and farmers sell their products online, has integrated a feature into its platform that lets customers “buy” a tree at checkout for $1.50. The company also bundles in a tree with every purchase of its own sparkling wine, and any purchase of a case of its Koovha beer.

Kuva Local then works with My Trees Trust Zimbabwe to plant indigenous trees in areas affected by deforestation. They employ local people in rural areas to plant trees, creating much-needed jobs in these communities.

The tree-planting scheme is just part of Kuva Local’s eco-friendly ethos. All products sold on the app are sourced in Zimbabwe to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping across continents, whilst last-mile deliveries are made on electric bicycles.

Hand holding a seedling

Two countries behind 60% of 2021’s e-commerce value

As the ongoing Covid-19 lockdowns continue to fuel the growth of e-commerce, new data11 suggests China and the US will dominate the market this year.

Forecasts predict the revenue of global e-commerce is set to hit US$2.7trn in 2021, a 12% increase year-over-year. As the world’s largest e-commerce markets, China and the US will generate 60% of that value.

The data also revealed the leading payment methods in the two markets: 61% of Chinese e-commerce users prefer e-wallets when shopping online, whilst card payments are expected to account for 38% of all e-commerce payments in the US market this year.

From China, to the US and beyond: learn how to do business with the world’s biggest e-commerce markets with our exclusive international guides.

1 & 2 - Ecommerce News Europe, April 2021

3 & 4 - Ecommerce News Europe, April 2021

5 - Business Insider, February 2021

6 - TikTok

7 & 9 - KrAsia, April 2021

8 - Indonesia, Wikipedia, Accessed April 2021

10 - Kuva Local

11 - Internet Retailing, April 2021