In recent years, the word ‘drop shipping’ has become increasingly prominent in business articles, especially in the retail sector and amongst online sellers. For those who are scratching their heads, wondering what it’s all about – this article is for you.
How Covid changed the ecommerce landscapeEcommerce has been rising steadily for decades, but the pandemic saw 10 years of projected growth happen over a three-month period. In 2020, online retail sales increased by 46.1% in Great Britain, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This huge increase in sales brought about changes in consumer habits. Product categories which were rarely bought online before the pandemic saw some of the biggest surges in sales, including food (79.3%) and household goods (73.4%).
Consumers were also open to new buying experiences. Since the start of the pandemic, 46% of consumers went online to buy a product they had previously only bought in store.
Ecommerce growth is slowingNow that lockdown restrictions have eased, ecommerce growth has started to slow. Online sales are expected to be uneven through the second half of 2021, as consumers enjoy more freedom and brick-and-mortar shops bounce back from the impact of the pandemic.
However, while growth may slow, it won’t stop; ecommerce was on the rise before Covid hit.
Last year’s boom in online sales forced companies to rapidly adapt, leading to faster, more efficient online sales processes and increased consumer trust. This should keep consumers coming back to online stores. A survey by the Global Web Index found that 48.8% of participants said they would continue to shop online more frequently after lockdown restrictions were lifted.
Post-Covid ecommerce trendsSo what ecommerce trends are likely to continue post pandemic? And how can online sellers make the most of them?
Increased opportunitiesAs ecommerce is likely to continue growing, and consumers are open to new purchasing experiences, there are increased opportunities for the savvy online seller. Now is a good time to try to grow your market share, tap into a new audience, or explore a novel product category. You could try reaching new customers by increasing your advertising or by optimising your Instagram to benefit from the surge in social media usage.
Increased competitionHowever, increased opportunities come with increased competition. The rapid rise in ecommerce sales has boosted established sellers and attracted new ones. To capitalise on the opportunities and beat the competition, it’s important to streamline your strategy. Focus on your most successful sources of traffic and optimise them.
The pandemic also saw an uptick in mobile phone usage, as people took to social media to connect with friends and family. Just like ecommerce overall, mobile shopping has been increasing year on year for a while, and 2020 was the biggest year for mobile ecommerce to date. Now 50% of ecommerce sales are made on mobile devices, and this number continues to rise. But with higher bounce rates compared to desktop, it’s important to get the mobile experience right.
Make sure the site you sell on is responsive, meaning the design adapts to the device used to view it, to keep the user experience consistent. This also improves the site’s loading speed and SEO. If you’re selling on your own website, you should consider creating mobile accelerated pages – pared-back, mobile-optimised copies of your web pages that load almost instantly. This could see you rank higher in mobile searches, improve your bounce rate, and ultimately lead to more conversions.
Trending sectorsSome trends for particular products could also continue. Health, home, and food all emerged as dominant ecommerce product categories during the pandemic, and there’s no reason to think this will change dramatically with eased restrictions.
Online fashion sales, however, may slow down: as the vaccine rollout continues and consumers feel safer, they could opt for brick-and-mortar shops so they can try products on before buying. That said, longer-term predictions see online fashion retail continuing to rise above pre-pandemic levels. Accurate sizing, good product descriptions and a free returns policy could entice customers to keep shopping online.
Even though online retail is expected to slow in the coming months, the pandemic accelerated its growth and created opportunities for online sellers. Those who can capitalise on new consumer habits and streamline the ecommerce experience will continue to thrive as we move cautiously, hopefully, towards a post-pandemic world.
If you’re an established or new online seller and have international payments to manage we can help you maximise your returns and protect your profit. Get in touch with our team on [email protected] or call +44 (0) 20 7847 9400.
Currencies Direct is one of Europe's leading non-bank providers of currency exchange and international payment services. Since we were formed in 1996, we've maintained our focus on providing innovative foreign exchange and international currency transfer services to corporations of all sizes, online sellers and private individuals. We have also expanded our services to provide dynamic and pioneering "business to business" solutions to help companies, tier 2/3 banks and other non-bank financial institutions to process their international payments. Our headquarters are in the City of London (United Kingdom) and we have operations in continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States. Currencies Direct is jointly owned by private equity firms Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital.