Ecommerce is an important part of the retail experience. With the growing digitization of commerce, the shop experience has undergone a revolution in recent times. Customers have the luxury of shopping from home anytime, without having to step into a retail store. As internet access and adoption grows across the world, ecommerce is on the rise and has overtaken retail in many areas.

Covid-19 impact on ecommerce

The pandemic provided a boost to ecommerce globally as the social distancing measures put in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic forced customers to avoid stores and switch to online shopping. This led to a traffic increase that exceeded holiday shopping season peaks. It has been reported that retail websites globally saw close to 22 billion visits in June 2020, increasing from 16.07 billion visits in January 2020 before caution was advised. US ecommerce sales are expected to reach $794.50 billion this year, up by 32.4% year-over-year.

Further, there was a rise in the number of first-time online shoppers as people turned to online shopping for staples like groceries. Many of these first-time shoppers also reported that they planned to continue shopping online for convenience.

Figures released by the US Department of Commerce also revealed a staggering 44% growth in the second quarter of 2020, with a dramatic shift in buying habits during the height of the pandemic. In fact, ecommerce was the main driver of retail spending, and it made up for the steep decline in retail in-store purchases. Individual retail companies reported higher rises year-over-year, with Target declaring a growth of 153% in ecommerce sales and Walmart reporting a 79% increase year-over-year in the third quarter of 2020.

Rise of mobile shopping

Mobile shopping is expected to drive almost 50% of ecommerce in the United States by 2022. The increased adoption of smartphones and cheaper internet access allows customers to browse, compare, and shop deals 24/7. Customers now are ready to make purchases on their phone via shopping apps due to the ease of use and growing confidence in data security. Mobile users are comfortable adding more apps to their smartphones to browse and purchase quickly.

To help convert browsers into buyers, retailers are setting an increased focus on the mobile shopping experience, by improving app design for improved useability, including chatbots to help answer customer queries and providing ratings and reviews.

Improved digital payment systems

The vast improvements in the digital payment systems is a key driver in the rise of ecommerce. Online shoppers can be quick to abandon a purchase if they face any difficulties with the payment method. Retailers aim for a seamless payment process that will drive more purchases while keeping data security at the forefront.

Customers who do not have credit cards or prefer not to use them for online shopping have the option of digital payment platforms that enable them to transfer and deposit cash. Digital payment platforms allow the customer to make seamless and cashless purchases even when the retail store (a small grocery store or petrol pump, for example) may not have a website.

Technology-powered supply chains

Retailers are using technology to help improve their supply chains in order to meet increased demand and higher customer expectations. Technology enables companies to keep their production system on track with automation. Every link within the chain can be monitored and powered with automated notification systems. Electronic invoicing and computerized tracking updates are now part of the ecommerce supply chain management system and provide a superior customer experience. A big retailer like Walmart for example uses sophisticated technology systems across its massive supply chain to predict customer demand, automate the tracking and replenishing of inventory levels, and planning the most efficient transportation routes.

It is predicted that customer shopping behavior will permanently change over the course of the pandemic to rely more heavily on ecommerce. The increase in new users and the rise in the frequency of purchasing is expected to have a long-term impact on retail. Small and medium-sized business owners should take the opportunity to explore how technology can help them stay competitive in a changing retail environment. Tricon Infotech has deep and broad expertise in technology solutions to help businesses across industries achieve digital transformation. Connect with us to learn more about how we can help your business navigate the ecommerce environment to your advantage.