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The growth of e-commerce – what can we expect?

ByDave Stopher

May 3, 2020

The retail industry has gone through significant alterations in the past few years, with the invention of online shopping allowing for ease of use in regard to buying.

Here with Lookers, who provide commercial Ford vehicles, we examine e-commerce and where it is expected to go in the future.


E-commerce has successfully plugged an ever-widening gap in the retail industry, facilitating a different, more modern style of purchasing. This year, Nasdaq has anticipated that 18% of purchases in the UK will occur online, while 77% of us have bought goods online at some point. Millennials are the biggest users of e-commerce services, with the age group purchasing 54% of their products and services online.

E-commerce or online retailing as it is otherwise known, has established itself as a fan favourite among big brands, thanks to its unbeatable cost-efficiency. Because of this and the internet offering a wider range of custom, the popularity has sky rocketed for businesses. For consumers, they are taking advantage of the lower rates as the prices of the products represent this.

Since 2015, the value of e-commerce sales has more than doubled in value, proving that it is big business, and is here to stay.


Despite the fact we won’t buy something every single day, the internet, as a facilitator, allows us to ‘window shop’ without leaving the comfort of our home. Furthermore, we aren’t restricted to shopping within our own country, as the internet allows us to peruse through international catalogues. Companies are taking advantage of e-commerce to tap into markets that they’d previously not have been able to reach. To do this, you need to produce a strategic sales and marketing plan to help you successfully convert international customers. Improved social media campaigns are one of the main ways ecommerce is improving.

The more products we buy online, the more our expectations are enhanced. Consider it in terms of visiting a physical shop — we expect good customer service and perhaps some form of perks for loyalty. Stats from an Alix Partners report show that three quarters of Americans believe the offer of free shipping impacts their final decision on whether to buy a product. While this is the case, the maximum delivery time has continued to diminish. In 2012, those expecting free delivery were willing to wait 5.5 days for their product. By 2017 though, a full day had been wiped off that expectation.

Thanks to this shift towards e-commerce, business across the globe, in a bid to retain customer, have invested significantly in their delivery service. This has led to many companies offering next-day delivery. While speed is important, so too is flexibility and reliability. It’s no use a customer being offered a fast delivery time if it’s not a convenient time frame. Because of this, companies like Amazon, who have even started offering ‘free’ next day delivery to their Amazon Prime customers, offer consumers the chance to choose a specific slot, meaning they know they’ll be in to receive their goods.

Customer service is undoubtedly one of the most important factors in regard to a businesses’ success. 52% of customers suggested that they would not return to buy a product again if they were at the receiving end of poor service.

What can we expect to see from the future?

The global population currently stands at 7.7 billion, while e-commerce boasts a market of 1.92 billion, an impressive 24.9% of its total potential. This figure is due to increase to more than 27% by 2021.The number of people making purchases that will be facilitated by e-commerce is expected to dramatically increase, too. Research has found that up to 95% of purchases by 2040 will be made using e-commerce.

Thanks to the exponential growth of the online retail industry, major players are significantly investing in a host of new developments. Amazon have experimented with in-home delivery. The concept behind this is that the consumer can remotely unlock their door via their smartphone when the delivery driver arrives with the parcel. A real-time camera connection allows for added security.

Despite the fact Amazon may have reached the stage of implementing such innovative technology, it doesn’t appear that the public are quite there yet —68% of US adults admitting they wouldn’t feel comfortable granting a driver access to their home, it’s sure to take time for the idea to catch on.

As the automotive industry invests heavily in the development of driverless cars, then the fears of the public may be irrelevant. This removes any need for a delivery person, with takeaway companies ready to roll out this concept. The recipient simply types a code into the vehicle’s keypad to open a compartment where their food is kept. This is currently being tested in the States and could well be brought over to the UK in the near future.

Developments such as online bank accounts, like Monzo and Revolut, would have been completely unimaginable a decade ago, while historical figures within the automotive industry, like Henry Ford Karl Benz, couldn’t have predicted driverless cars changing the way the world works. Although not directly linked to e-commerce, what these changes have taught us is, the world is changing rapidly — and the retail industry will continually be altered by everything which goes on around it.