By Joe Cook
Extended travel and competitive demand for goods across the globe has posed a significant risk to the potential for damage, lost profits, and return of goods in the retail sector, particularly where perishables and delicate items such as glass and luxury goods are at play.
This is also posing threat to the sustainability of these items as with returns and breakages comes extra production and an additional carbon footprint.
The rapid and vast expansion of e-commerce presents new challenges in shipping and packaging. Once, consumers shopped online through choice, a year ago it was through necessity, and now it is a consumer habit that is unlikely to recede.
A closed street, travel restrictions, and several lockdowns. Just one of these constraints would have driven consumers to e-commerce in record numbers. The near-simultaneous arrival of all three created retail uncertainty for a significant period and brought forth a likely permanent consumer shift.
According to a Shopify global survey of eleven markets, 84% of consumers consistently shopped online in 2020. Given the conditions of retail this past year, this is hardy an earth-shattering revelation. What is interesting, however, is the breakdown of that percentage.
Those of us that have follow e-commerce forecasts are familiar with reading about older shoppers being reluctant to move online. This was a portal for Gen Z and Millennials, whose lives are lived in a perpetual online sate. The past year proved otherwise, with over 50s quickly and comprehensively embracing the new e-commerce reality.
We are now currently amid a climate where all demographics are accustomed with e-commerce shopping. It would seem highly unlikely that reliance on online shopping will be reversed, when consumer demand for speed and ease is higher than ever, with 70% of shoppers declaring rapidity and ease as their priorities.