Looking back just about 5 years ago, we can see there has been an alignment between supply and demand in the field of electronic commerce. Until then, the online purchase of virtually any product on the network was still not a reality.
Far from slowing down, ecommerce will continue to grow organically at a dizzying pace. The reasons are probably that it is simple, convenient and affordable. No doubt much of this upward evolution of ecommerce is due to the strong commitment of hundreds, even thousands of entrepreneurs to this business model. Companies and entrepreneurs have worked very hard over the last five years to raise awareness among the users and make them realize that buying online is safe, easy and convenient.
And now, what is the key to survival? What are we facing?
The truth is that what works for some might not work for others and every case will depend on how we use, take advantage and make the most of its resources and tools. Those who have been in the trade for a while will only need to consolidate customer loyalty; others will find their strength in the commitment to a strong brand, while for others it will be key to have a good internationalization… What is certain is that there are many changes ahead. Guessing them all is no easy venture, but I dare to predict a few:
The power of Big Data
Getting to know what users want, how, when and why is essential to the success of an ecommerce and the implementation of data analysis in e-commerce can be critical to the ROI of any online store.
I previously discussed the power of Big Data and its relation to e-commerce in this post I invite you to read: http://ignasisayol.com/en/big-data-i-comerc-electronic/.
Manufacturing on demand
Stock control is vital for any offline business, as it allows having the products that costumers demand available. And in the field of online sales, it is just the same and this aspect is necessary for success.
The evolution in this sense is towards shortening the design and manufacturing deadlines, thus reducing the production costs, as we will be able to know what the acceptance of the product is or whether it will be sold well in advance.
Some failure examples in terms of bad management of stock are many supermarkets that have decided to sell online but have not been able to control stock yet. They have been accumulating products without an effective digital strategy that allows them to obtain the customers they need.
An example of the trend for manufacturing on demand we are discussing is the platform Bubok, the first ecommerce that enables authors to self-publish their books or works through a business model that allows printing on demand. Thus, the editing costs are paid once the book has been sold.
Online and Offline will go hand in hand
The offline channel has gained even more importance: in customer service or distribution, for example. Everything will be connected and the tendency will not be towards the creation of online shops, but towards the digitization of traditional businesses –in other words, what we could call the alignment between retail and online business.
People prefer to do the shopping in a supermarket. And the reason is straightforward: you can toss meat, fruit, your dog’s feed, cosmetics and cleaning products in the same shopping cart, pay it all at once and take it home straight away.
The concept is the same for an online store. However, it is not very convenient to shop from a mobile device, despite the fact that online shopping is increasing. In fact, almost 70% of online purchases are already made from a mobile device, but it is not practical to access multiple platforms or web sites, make the payment in each of them and, in some cases, have to pay for the different shipping costs and even receive the products at different times.
And here comes the doubt, what can small businesses do? Perhaps the solution is to search for marketing agreements that allow them to be present on different platforms.
In the end, it is all about listening to customers, giving them what they want and making it easy for them.