Retailers who are slow to adopt new online channels have suffered in slowing brick-and-mortar sales while innovative retailers and importers experienced a huge uptick in sales from e-commerce channels in 2016 according to the American Association of Exporters & Importers. It says online sales hit $91.7 billion, up 11 per cent from $82.5 billion a year ago citing recent research.*
In order to provide the industry with timely information that can be leveraged to take advantage of this opportunity, American Association of Exporters & Importers (AAEI) and Amber Road launched the inaugural Benchmark Report: e-Commerce Impacts Global Trade.
“While there is clearly a large market opportunity associated with global e-commerce, there are challenges identified in the report that companies must face to create a successful e-commerce infrastructure,” says Gary Barraco, director, global product marketing, Amber Road. “To stay ahead of the e-commerce curve, companies must address primary gaps with a combination of technology, trade compliance knowledge, and automation.”
According to Marianne Rowden, president and CEO, AAEI, “While the disruptive force e-commerce has on the economy appears most prominently in the retail sector, this latest digitalization of trade will continue to change industry trade patterns and product distribution for years to come. With growing internet penetration, a consistent customer shift from store to web shopping, and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, the growth of online shopping is massive.”
Fifty-one percent of survey respondents experienced an uptick in sales through this channel.
The report reveals;
- 75% have an online sales channel
- 65% of those who don’t have existing online channels are now planning to implement them in the near future
- Nearly 36% experienced shipping/transportation challenges that impact retailers’ ability to achieve strategic goals and objectives
- The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) accounted for the largest percentage of delays for imports
- Cybersecurity was the top concern for shippers, followed closely by changing global trade regulations
While e-Commerce isn’t new, but it has reached a critical mass to significantly impact global trade say the study’s authors. According to the report, e-Commerce has revolutionized business-to-consumer sales, resulting in a newly empowered consumer with higher expectations for their retail shopping experience.