E-commerce is about to become a very crowded space. How will you set yourself apart?
Bricks and mortar stores are closing at incredible rates. From Woolworths to Toys R Us, pound stores to high end clothing stores all over the country have seen jobs cut and revenue fall. Net losses to units in 2017 also hit standalone units and shopping centres. Only retail parks experienced any growth (0.85%).
As ecommerce grows and, ultimately, destroys traditional methods of shopping, with it's ease of use and growing audience who have now become accustomed to products arriving at their door with a click of a button, it's not doom and gloom for all sectors. For example, coffee shops, nail salons, and barbers are experiencing huge growth. (i.e. Service based industries that require the consumer to be present. You can't order a haircut online or get your nails done with free next day delivery.)
The UK economy is growing (2% in 2018) ahead of estimations. So, it's not a case of people not having money to spend but rather valuing different experiences or how they choose to spend their money. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) say that 18.2p of every pound is now spent online. A huge rise from just 4p in 2008. This is not surprising because as ecommerce has become quicker, better, more reliable, the population ages and we see a younger generation come through who are much more comfortable purchasing goods online.
For these reasons, ecommerce is set to become a very crowded space. Some may argue that it is already. The cost of entry is minimal. Anyone with a paypal account or debit card can set up a Shopify store in minutes with a 14 day trial while offering goods sourced from all over the world. The continual success of dropshipping over the years proves one would not even have to carry any inventory. And so now is the time of added value.
What defines your ecommerce platform? What keeps consumers coming back? How do you create loyalty when a simple google search identifies the cheapest retailers on any particular day?
It's in times like these that brand is king. And that's why our focus over the next 5 years is not sales. A race to the bottom on lowest margin is one that nobody wins. Over at Gamesoldseparately, we plan on redefining how an online retailer acts by building community over product.