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E-commerce in 2021 JVCA

E-commerce in 2021 – how to get a piece of the pie

E-commerce in 2021 is massive - so what can you do to maximise your sales online?

Pre- Pandemic most businesses had a website, but not that many were really putting effort into their e-commerce ability.  Well, that should have changed during 2020!  According to reports, UK e-commerce increased 46.1% from 2019 to 2020, while in the US it was a 44.0% increase – which means e-commerce accounted for around 36% of all sales made in 2020, and 86% of UK shoppers have bought something online.  Personally I am surprised that this isn’t a higher proportion of all sales, although the reports also suggest that the average for 2021 is likely to drop back to below 30% … which is still a huge leap up from around 19% in 2019. In the US, online rose from around 16% to around 21½% of all sales. But you get the point: it’s important to get e-commerce right, and the failure of some well-known big physical shopping brands just reinforces this.

But so what? So far I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t know – although the statistics are interesting. The key is how you make the most of e-commerce in 2021 – how do you get your piece of the pie?

So what are the takeaways from the surveys and reports out there?

1)      Click and collect is a winner

Click and collect, or kerbside pickup to give it its US name, is a real winner with a huge increase in businesses offering this convenience.   Now this is clearly a pandemic response, but it has been a huge area of growth for e-commerce in 2021 in comparison with other services.

2)      Your e-commerce has to be mobile too

OK, so duh!  This is stating the obvious – but how well does your e-commerce site work on all devices? Make sure you’ve checked on each one from the perspective of a customer.

3)      How do you take payment?

Paying using an app or digital wallet on your phone, as well as the option to use a debit or credit card, is increasingly important – especially amongst the under 40s, where it is almost the most preferred payment option.  In 2019, 49% of all online shopping used Paypal as the payment method.

4)      E-Commerce in 2021 is an international customer base

UK e-commerce is big in Europe too! 9% of Germans residents and 4% of French residents report buying from a UK e-commerce store.  What do you need to get right for your website and for your delivery processes – and not forgetting those import regulations? See our recent posts on that topic:

How to Deal with EU VAT

Importing into the EU

5)      Age isn’t really a barrier

Around 87% of people say they have purchased online.  In the over 65s it is around 65%, in the under 35s it is 99%.  Identify your market and tailor your approach, and use those figures from Google Analytics to tell you which age groups are using which platforms.

6)      Big platforms matter

UK e-commerce increased by 46% in 2020 but Amazon UK sales increased by 51%.  Big platforms have grown by more than the average.  Between them, Amazon, Alibaba and Ebay were about 62% of online sales globally. Using a big platform gives you access to this volume – for a cost!

This article has been compiled after looking at statistics and reports from a number of sources.  Like all compilations of information it is based on averages rather than your specific business.  The point is, how can your business benefit from reflecting on the available information?  How can you make the most of this information?

How do your business’s e-commerce statistics compare?  What else could you do to make the most of this opportunity for e-commerce in 2021?

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