By Gian Maria Gramondi, Co-Founder, Shop Circle
Don’t pause your e-commerce strategy. E-commerce acceleration is here to stay. While COVID-19 was certainly an accelerator over the past two years, and return to in-person shopping is surging across the world, I contend e-commerce growth will be solid and continuous, driven by increased adoption at a global level. The most strategic brands will look to enhance their e-commerce operations to support continued, more sustainable growth.
We have arrived at a tipping point: nice-to-have business capabilities are now table stakes. First, the expectation of omnichannel optionality is making its mark in industries such as retail, and we continue to see an evolution in the technology and tools created to support and enhance integration between online and offline capabilities.
Brands and merchants that thrive in the future will be those deploying innovative omnichannel strategies to create inventive, efficient experiences for their customers. To address uncertainty in the post-COVID market, the most intuitive and savvy online brands will embrace automation, enhance customer experience, and access emerging markets.
Growing global markets and consumer expectation
Online markets are still depthless in many parts of the world. Thegreatest increases in online consumer activities in recent years were seen in developing countries, speeding the adoption of digital technologies in commerce by several years.
In India, online sales are expected to soar 25% this year to hit $80 billion and doubling by 2025. Powerful e-commerce growth is also expected in markets such as France, Italy and Spain. This is especially encouraging for those who want to build the next wave of apps and tools for online store owners and beyond. For example, 2021 data pointed to around 29.6 million e-commerce users in Spain, with an additional 7.3 million users to be shopping online by 2025.
The LATAM region has become one of the fastest growing geographies for e-commerce, with players like Shopify building a stronger presence there than ever before.
In short, global e-commerce is fast becoming a secular movement that is here to stay. E-commerce sales are expected to account for 21.8 percent of retail sales worldwide by 2024 (up from 18 percent in 2020).
To build a presence in these promising developing regions, brand managers and e-commerce leaders will have to define a targeted go-to-market strategy, using D2C channels to collect valuable consumer data, optimize customer experience, trial new products and grow their businesses.
Elevating the tech stack
E-commerce merchants and brands will thrive and grow post-pandemic, are the ones now recognizing that the time for optimizing and elevating the tech stack, is now. In order to meet both new business logic requirements, and the increased sophistication of online shoppers, the tech stack should be reviewed using a 360-degree perspective to identify key gaps that would require pulling in more advanced technology.
A challenge for brands and merchants can be in parsing through a noisy app marketplace to decide which tools and software are right for them. The Shopify app store alone has more than 7,000 apps, which can be overwhelming. Building the right stack requires dedication, focus and education. E-commerce teams can research through blogs and tech or e-commerce publications, review boards, referrals, and social platforms on the best tools in each category.
A significant appeal of our apps at Shop Circle is the trial period we offer, allowing brands and merchants to try and test apps for 15 / 30 days before committing to subscribe. Shop Circle apps have already been market-tested and utilized by more than 50,000 Shopify stores, further giving merchants and brands confidence in knowing they are using proven and established tools. It comes down to trust, and moving towards understanding what brands and merchants want, and expect from the app ecosystem.
Shop Circle aims to be the leading operator of ecommerce tools. And while we’re beginning with an initial focus on Shopify ecosystem, we do plan to expand to other platforms. We offer a suite of high-performance apps across several different categories. As a one-stop shop for e-commerce brands willing to enhance their tech stack to grow faster: our tools range from order management technology to referral apps, to giving vendors the ability to sell digital downloads. We want to provide the best tools in the e-commerce market, and we’re ready to scale up and improve the tools further with the ultimate goal of meeting brand and merchant needs across the board.
We aim to be the Microsoft of e-commerce tools.