Monday, 25 march 2019 | Redacción CEU
Electronic commerce does not only have an impact on social consumption habits, it also serves as a beneficial catalyst to change the commercial model both nationally and internationally. This transformation is reflected in the emergence of new strategies such as social commerce, the design of alternative logistic models, the development of different payment methods, the bet on customer service through chatbots or the application of solutions which are based on augmented reality. This unstoppable advance of e-commerce is favoring a new relationship with customers as well as cost savings and the reach of a broader audience. It has never been so easy to reach new markets.
That fear of buying on the Internet that was established in the mind of the Spanish consumer in the past has practically disappeared altogether. That is the conclusion reached by the eShopper Barometer 2018, a study carried out by SEUR. According to this report, 12% of the total purchases in Spain are already made through e-commerce channels. It should be said that this percentage is even higher than the European average, which represents 11.7%. 57% of respondents admit buying products on the Net on a regular basis. These users make an approximate average of six purchases per year. When it comes to talking about the big buyers this figure amounts to an average of three purchases per month.
As we mentioned in the article "Figures, fashion and electronic commerce", the world of fashion is one of the industries that has been most affected by the “e-commerce fever”. This category is ranked first in the best-selling products online in Spain. In the following positions of that list are beauty and health, books and sports. A tendency to take into account is the accelerated growth in the purchase of food products. Precisely because of the perishable nature of these products, it was considered a category with little projection. However, according to this report, 19% of respondents acquired these types of items during the last year.
Another study that points at the significant growth of e-commerce in Spain is the latest report of the Banking Situation by BBVA Research. According to this study, e-commerce almost reached the percentage of 20% of consumer spending and 10% of the turnover of Spanish companies in 2018. On the other hand, traditional retail fell by more than 4%. The analysis points out the possible replacement relationship between the digital and the face-to-face channels, and also shows that the demand of Spanish households is being satisfied in a growing proportion by companies which are operating abroad. Specifically, it claims that since 2015 the volume of Internet purchases of foreign companies of BBVA customers has increased by 160%. In relation to Spanish companies, the figure only doubled.
The Informative Observatory DBK of Informa indicates that for the last two years logistics have experienced growth of 18.2% and 19.2%. The incomes which are derived from the provision of distribution, transport and storage services linked to e-commerce operations reached 1,550 million euros in 2018. This increase in the business of the logistics operators is, in large part, due to this rise in the consumer trust in the online channel. Its analysis also considers the favorable economic situation and the bet made by companies on the development and improvement of their Internet sales platforms.
This report foresees that this logistic market, which is related to e-commerce, will grow approximately 15% in the period 2019-2020, thus reaching 2 billion euros. It also highlights important trends such as the establishment of delivery networks, mailboxes or automatic lockers, the development of ultra-fast deliveries, the improvement of last mile services, the optimization of technology in facilities and warehouses, the expansion of transport routes and the increase in the demand for international e-commerce.
Most Spanish companies that are betting on electronic commerce do so within the national scope. However, this situation is different in other countries –see the case of China or the USA–. Undoubtedly, whenever it is done with a focus on the organization and reflection, and as long as it takes into account the importance of logistics and the market knowledge, e-commerce is an extraordinary opportunity to open the way to new horizons. With this kind of trade, distances become relative and the rules of the game are democratized. Small exporters can also strongly compete when they are able to manage sales peaks, look for right solutions to transport, adapt products to the market and identify the convenient niches in order to win.
On the other hand, although it becomes an effective tool when it comes to facilitating international expansion, the Internet does not magically erase all barriers and risks of foreign trade. It is important to understand that managing an international online store is not only a matter of registering on a multilingual platform. To be competitive, the digital business has to meet the demands and needs of consumers in the foreign market, especially when there is a trend towards the hyper-personalization of the offer. The adventure of international e-commerce involves adopting a 360º approach.
The CEU IAM Business School, together with ICIL, has designed a Management Program in e-Commerce and Logistics that focuses on the approach to the market and customers from the perspective of marketing as well as on the evolution of the management in logistics operations. Thanks to this training, participants will be able to acquire the necessary knowledge to face the changes which are necessary in people management, technology and processes, and exercise effective leadership in the digital transformation of the company.