23 October 2023
5 min read
The new eCommerce equation: from boom to equilibrium
“The new eCommerce equation: from boom to equilibrium”. Dir&Ge. 23 October 2023. Archived from the original on 17 November 2023. Retrieved 17 November 2023. New consumer shopping habits – reinforced by the restrictions imposed during the pandemic – have led eCommerce to experience overwhelming levels of growth. E-commerce has become one of the cornerstones of the global economy, and is expected to continue to grow to $6.4 trillion by 2024.
However, as with all things, with great power comes great responsibility, and the success achieved is not without its challenges. Mastering the next era of growth will require taking eCommerce and online sales strategy to the next level: we are moving towards the ultra-personalisation of the user experience, which must be tailored to each customer and situation, while maintaining consistency across channels. To achieve this, brands will need to implement new flexible technologies and operating models that put their digital transformation at the centre. Returns management and reverse logistics is a good example of new priorities that need to be seriously addressed. Better operations can reduce the economic cost for brands, increase customer loyalty and limit the environmental impact on the planet.
On the road to total personalisation, artificial intelligence (AI) will play a key role in improving the returns experience, just as it has already come into play in a key way during the purchase process. According to a study by Accenture, 91% of consumers prefer to shop in shops that offer personalised offers and recommendations, and it is a technology with high adoption among brands.
Mastering the next era of growth will require taking eCommerce and online sales strategy to the next level.
In general, retailers tend to prioritise initiatives that have a direct impact on their conversion ratios, ignoring tools and solutions that have a more indirect impact or that impact other areas as much or more important, such as reverse logistics. However, with the macroeconomic paradigm shift (inflation and rising interest rates), resolving the paradox between growth and profitability has become imperative. And returns management has become highly important to achieve this, with the help of solutions that help brands automate processes, increase efficiency and offer a premium customer loyalty experience through the use of intelligent algorithms that allow personalisation of the process from start to finish. Beyond cost optimisation (logistics and processing), brands that lead the way in adopting Big Data and AI to deliver differentiated experiences will retain more value from the original sale, safeguarding their margins and reaching loyalty levels that substantially lower the average CAC.
On the other hand, sustainability is the other big equation to solve – both economically and environmentally. Consumers are increasingly aware of the impact of their consumption habits and are forcing – through their purchasing decisions – brands to take action (and move away from empty greenwashing). Historically, sustainable practices have been treated as risk mitigation initiatives, but they must become part of the core.
In the same vein, institutional pressure has become an active part of the issue, with policies such as the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development incorporated into the strategic plans of most major business groups. On a positive note, the demands have been aligned with aid programmes such as the European Union’s Next Generation EU, proving that the commitment is, at last, firm and binding.
The fashion sector, for example, accounts for 4 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, something that the new generation of consumers, who are extraordinarily committed to eliminating waste altogether, will not allow. Therefore, moving towards the principles of the circular economy (reduce, reuse, refurbish, repair and recycle) will be key to protecting brands, margins and customers. To borrow a term used by Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum, we have just entered the era of stakeholder capitalism, and the brands that understand and adapt first will be the winners in this new game.
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REVER is a startup born to revolutionise eCommerce, making the online returns process easier, faster and more sustainable. Born in 2022, the startup was co-founded by Oriol Hernàndez i Fajula and Màrius Montmany. To meet its ambitious expansion plans, the company has brought in internationally renowned investors such as Silicon Valley fund YCombinator, Sequoia’s scouting fund and Mundi Ventures, who join GFC and Óscar Pierre (CEO and co-founder of Glovo). REVER currently has a team of 25 people and a portfolio of more than 100 customers including brands in the Fashion, Shoes, Sports and Electronics sectors. Through a frictionless returns process, the startup enables eCommerce companies to improve internal efficiency and customer experience.
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