E-Commerce will continue to dominate in 2012, according to figures from Forrester that show European e-commerce will grow at a rate of 10% per annum for the next five years. We anticipate that this year will be one of the most exciting and innovative to date for UK retailers, especially as a new type of e-commerce emerges: NewCommerce.
Seamus Whittingham, managing director EMEA, ChannelAdvisor
NewCommerce is a term coined by ChannelAdvisor to describe the convergence of e-commerce with local, mobile and social advancements, as well as cross-border trade, all of which create an “anytime, anywhere” level of accessibility for shoppers.
Mobilise: More consumers than ever before own smartphones and tablets, which in turn has completely revolutionised the retail landscape. Retailers should ensure they have embraced this change by ensuring their website is mobile friendly and that shoppers can check out with a minimum amount of clicks on a smartphone.
Retailers can also take advantage of the millions of buyers already using the well-developed eBay and Amazon mobile applications for smartphones; they can easily capture sales without having to develop native applications. Savvy retailers are also embracing QR codes and other barcode scanning tools to engage with in-store shoppers or shoppers on the go.
We think 2012 will show the adoption of geofencing to the mobile landscape, with consumers who sign up to certain promotions being alerted when they get within a certain distance of a store stocking the products.
Get Social: Social media has changed the world as we know it by connecting people, ideas and products across the globe. Our research shows that 83% of consumers’ opinions are influenced by comments on Facebook and Twitter, so retailers should take advantage of the ever-growing social community in order to remain competitive.
Over 500 million people view Facebook ads, on and off Facebook. These ads target the most relevant audience based on geography and their personal preferences as associated with Facebook profiles. There is also a distinct possibility that Facebook will create a mainstream marketplace in a bid to leverage its 800 million followers into a successful retail opportunity.
Stay Local: The use of locality as a resource to drive retailers to brick and mortar shops will grow in 2012. Through Google, consumers are capable of searching a product within their current location and uncovering whether this product is in stock and at what price. With the widespread adoption of mobiles and tablets, this is a valuable way for retailers to ensure greater foot-fall to their stores.
Go Global: Cross-border trade is now responsible for 20% of European e-commerce, and we anticipate more retailers will be embarking upon international expansion in 2012. Amazon is expanding its fulfilment centres throughout the globe (including India) over the next few months, enabling retailers to have an extended reach.
Furthermore, consumers’ attitudes to online shopping have spurred the need for international expansion. Today, shoppers in any country want to shop online and have a great experience while increasingly expecting to be able to shop seamlessly across geographical boundaries.
Amazon: Amazon is expected to grow at 39% in 2012. Compared to the e-commerce growth-rate of 10%, it is no doubt that Amazon will continue to be a gladiator in the coming months. With global reach and an audience of millions, Amazon is a venue for retailers that could become their most successful revenue stream of 2012.
eBay: eBay will remain an important marketplace for retailers in the coming year and is also poised for growth in 2012. eBay has its finger on the pulse of industry trends and has placed its focus on mobile and cross-border trade. With these being two of the dominant themes of 2012, retailers should continue to utilise this marketplace to make the most of these emerging trends.
New Marketplaces: Finally, we are predicting that a growing number of third-party marketplaces will emerge this year. Tesco is leading the way with a marketplace to be launched in the first half of the year and we anticipate other smaller and possibly more niche marketplaces will appear after this.
We believe that the pace of change will continue to accelerate throughout 2012, with retailers being exposed to more innovations and options than ever before.
Some of these themes were emerging in 2011, but we feel that the “anytime, anyplace” aspect of NewCommerce has truly evolved them. Shoppers now scan barcodes, search products locally, “Like” products online, and buy internationally.
While this may seem like an intimidating prospect for retailers, it should be considered an advantage as more opportunities to engage with consumers emerge than ever before.