The recent recession that stunted the growth of the British economy has not affected every industry. Take the eCommerce industry as an example. It has seen double digit growth over the last several years. UK eCommerce is the most developed e-industry in Europe and continues to grow from strength to strength. A staggering 77 percent of buyers wish to buy DVDs and books on the internet.
There is a tug of war going on between the high street stores and webshops; physical stores command a big piece of the total market, but webshops are growing fast. At the moment in Europe, online retail sales make 5.1percent of total retail.Along with the UK, Germany and the Scandinavian countries also have well developed eCommerce industries.
The European Commission plans to double sales via online platform by 2015. Although this is an ambitious target, it is far from impossible to reach, as consumers across most of Western Europe prefer to buy certain items online as this gives them a number of advantages:
While shopping online you are able to compare prices across different online retailers and thus able to get the best price.You can also browse substitute items or different models of the same product. Physical stores will not allow you the same degree of freedom. Offers of ‘Free Shipping’ also encourage many buyers to shop online. If the items are needed before a certain time, shoppers can opt for the next day delivery option.
For online retailers, there is one major benefit of selling online: the reduction of overheads. You don’t need to rent store space – all you need is a warehouse. Also, your customer reach becomes virtually global, rather than being restricted to wherever your store is physically located.
The entry of major high-street retailers has also impacted the rise of eCommerce in UK. Marks and Spencer sells online via its main website as well as through an online outlet and an Amazon.co.uk channel. The auction site eBay.co.uk has a whole section called eBay Fashion on which established retailers have eBay shops. This includes retailers such as House Of Fraser, Bench, SuperDry, Barratts, and Sports Direct.Such developments have prompted many retailers to opt for multi-channel ecommerce and the changes are obvious. UK eCommerce industry is now worth over £100 billion annually, reported the Guardian, and the growth rate is expected to be 13percent in 2012.
Recently, Europe surpassed the US as the biggest online market, valued at €246 billion, however further growth may be hindered.This hindrance can be largely attributed to the developmental stages of eCommerce found in Italy and in eastern Europe. For Eastern European countries, alack of trust along with a lack of supporting infrastructure limits eCommerce growth. It appears that, in Europe, eCommerce is developing on a country by country basis, as there are many cultural issues that discourage online retailers to sell across borders. For example, every country has a different Google search engine which makes SEO work difficult. Ad campaigns need to be developed separately for every country due to cultural variations.
eCommerce industry sales vary highly between the types of goods sold. CDs, DVDs, books, laptops, and other electronic gadgets are fast sellers, whereas furniture and bulky household items don’t do as well. A new trend is developing in the UK whereby shoppers use physical electronics stores such as Curry’s, PC World, and Comet as showrooms.It’s so important to actually try out the laptop or notebook that you are looking at buying before you actually purchase it, to make sure that it satisfies all your requirements. Once customers have examined a notebook or gadget in an actual store and tried it out, they are increasingly looking on online for the same product, trying to find the best deal.
European online retail is growing at 16.1% every year. This change has affected the dynamics of retail and continues to do so. So if you are a retailer or a wholesaler it’s time to open a webstore or list your products on Amazon and eBay!