The rise of e-commerce & online shopping

Jina Marwood Jina Marwood
July 22, 2020

The Rise

We live in an era where if you want something, you can probably find it online for purchase and shipped to your front door within 5-7 business days. 

Before the massive expansion of e-commerce retailers, brick & mortar stores were the main way for customers to shop for their goods and services. Now, traditional retailers are migrating to the e-commerce space to expand their reach to consumers and stay ahead of their competitors. 

The rise of e-commerce businesses have grown exponentially within the last decade, and research shows retail sales are growing to exceed 26.7 trillion US dollars by as soon as 2022. Data from the U.S. Department of Commerce also displays e-commerce sales currently averaging at just over 9% of total retail sales globally, indicating there is still room for growth and expansion. 

The Impact

E-commerce adds value to the fierce competition for retailers within the mid-tier; as small businesses and luxury brands have still managed to stay afloat. Amazon became consumers’ go-to source for products previously purchased at department stores, large chains like Sears and Macy’s which have seen decreased sales within the last decade. In fact, it dropped in sales by nearly 25% between 2013 and 2018, from sales totaling at $99.6 billion to $76.2 billion, with a steady decline since then. The number is projected to dip as low as $57 billion in 2023. 

Now, even small business owners are taking a proactive approach by launching e-commerce stores and diversifying their selection of goods. This way, they can reach more customers, and better accommodate those who prefer online and mobile shopping.

It’s clear that e-commerce has made a large impact in the media, too; especially within the confines of social media. Online shoppers discover and are influenced to purchase products or services based on recommendations from friends, peers, and trusted sources (like influencers) on social networks. The networks itself were also affected and shifted their tactics by releasing new features to accommodate online businesses. For example, Instagram’s creation of shoppable product tags, and “support small business” stickers.

The shift during COVID-19

As the events in our world are constantly evolving and rapidly changing, your customers are also trying their best to adapt and shift their purchasing behavior. While it’s key to explore how shopper behaviour is changing throughout this year, the question many people want the answer to is: 

What impact will the pandemic have on e-commerce businesses and consumers’ buyer behaviors after it is over? 

While the question remains unanswered, the shift experts have already seen, is that online shopping has been and will continue to accelerate the innovation of e-commerce across numerous industries. Small businesses are shifting their products to be available online, and large companies are working hard to improve delivery times, providing a wider range of product selection, and understanding the significance of online ratings and reviews. 

Depending on your industry and audience, you might be thinking of launching your business onto an e-commerce platform. Here’s what you should know before starting. 

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