The skyrocketing of e-commerce retail during the pandemic is undeniable. In 2020, the value of the global e-commerce market reached $4.213 trillion, an increase of 25.7% from 2019. By the end of 2021, the expected value of the market is $4.921 trillion, showing an annual increase of 16.8%.
Countries that were behind in e-commerce before the pandemic suddenly experienced rapid growth. In 2021, the forecast is for a minimum increase of 26% in Argentina, Russia, Brazil, and India. The leaders in 2021 will remain to be the Asia-Pacific region and North America, as they were in 2020.
Because of the huge e-commerce activity from China, the forecast is for the Asia-Pacific region to dominate 60.8% of e-commerce globally. North America’s share will be a far second at 20.3%. Western Europe will have a 12.6% share.
What Is Ecommerce? Everything You Need to Know
Access to the Internet
As of July 2021, there were 4.8 billion people worldwide or nearly 61% of the global population using the internet. The number grows each day because over 700,000 users are added on the average daily, showing a 5.7% annual growth rate. The average time that each individual spends online every day is six hours and 55 minutes.
Most or 92.1% access the internet through mobile devices sometimes, and about 66.7% access the internet through desktop PCs and laptops sometimes. Smartphone users number 6.4 billion globally, accounting for almost 80% of all mobile phone users. Almost a million new smartphone users are added daily, showing an annual growth rate of 5.6%.
Online Behavior of Consumers
Among all internet users across age groups, more than half browse through online e-commerce sites weekly and 24.8% use a service to compare prices online. Among them, 39.3% make purchases of goods or services, with 26.1% purchasing groceries online. A larger number shop online on mobile devices compared to laptops and desktop PCs. On average, an e-consumer spends over $700 a year on e-commerce, with 17.5% of e-consumers using a deferred payment service.
In 2019, before the pandemic, e-commerce sales through mobile devices contributed 67.2% to total e-commerce sales. In 2020, this grew to 70.4%. By the end of 2021, the forecast is for e-commerce sales from mobile devices to contribute up to 72.9%.
Increasing Visit Conversions to Sales
There are now many ways to attract visitors to the company website. Digital marketing uses search engine optimization (SEO), paid ads, and social media accounts to engage netizens and lead them to the website. Once they are there, however, not all visits convert to sales.
Using artificial intelligence (AI) to personalize every netizen’s visit is more likely to result in a sale. AI gathers information on the netizen’s previous behaviour, such as the other products the netizen searched for and clicked on, and uses this to provide relevant related recommendations on the website.
It is also important to make the checkout process easy and fast. If possible, enable the customer to finish the purchase and payment in just a few clicks. Offer a wide variety of payment options because netizens no longer limit themselves to the use of credit cards or PayPal.
Managing and Reducing Returns
Product returns are common, with 80.2% due to damage, 64.2% because the product received does not match online descriptions, 37.2% because the customer dislikes the item, 7.5% because the customer perceives the item to have poor value, and seven% because the item was delivered late.
Since there will surely be product returns, a company must manage these efficiently to gain customer satisfaction over the process. A brand website must clearly explain the company’s return policy, including what reasons are valid for returns, the time period in which a return must be sent, and the process for returning a product. A reverse logistics system will ensure that the flow is smooth from the time the customer reports the return to the time the customer gets a refund or replacement. This way, the company earns customer trust and loyalty.
While it is impossible for a seller to totally prevent product returns, there are ways to minimize these. To ensure that online consumers know what to expect about a product, the website must have clear, high-resolution photos from all angles, including closeups. If possible, include videos of the product as is and in use. These must be accompanied by detailed descriptions of the product and how to use it. If relevant, the materials or ingredients used in the product must be presented.
Detailed product reviews from users are compelling, especially if these include photos or videos of the users using the product. Online consumers value peer-to-peer feedback more than advertising.
In returning their e-commerce purchases, 73% of consumers prefer to use the post office, 62% prefer a pickup by a courier service, 61% prefer to return it at a physical store, 47% prefer to send it to a collection point, and 28% prefer a company locker. The company must offer as many options as possible. If the customer knows that returning a product is a breeze, they will have more confidence in purchasing from a company.