E-commerce is here to stay

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Shoppers will remain hesitant to shop in store, even after the pandemic is over. That’s one of the five predictions about the future of retail made by e-commerce enabler Shopify in its recently published 2021 Future of Commerce report.

During the pandemic, 84 percent of consumers shopped online, and only 65 percent shopped in stores. While 79 percent of consumers polled said they will still regularly shop online in six months, only 57 percent said they plan to shop in-store on a regular basis in the same timeframe. Shopify’s survey found significant regional differences in attitudes to online shopping, with consumers in the U.K., Spain, New Zealand and Italy reporting the biggest changes in their habits as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Staying out of stores

In Canada, 45 percent say they are uncomfortable shopping in person now. Canadians are also among the biggest adopters of e-commerce as a result of the pandemic, with six percent saying they are new in the world of online commerce. That’s the same as France, while Australia, the U.K. and India all have a newbie rate of five percent.

These shifts in attitude will naturally push long-term evolution in retail operations. Omni-channel capabilities will become more important, as consumers seek to avoid store interiors.

The survey found that while 54 percent used traditional home delivery, 28 percent received their purchase through local delivery services (coming from 25 km or less away), 23 percent ordered online and picked up at the curb and 21 percent used third-party pick-up points. Canada and New Zealand had the largest percentage of shoppers adopting these alternative fulfillment methods.

What shoppers want

Free delivery is still table stakes for online shoppers, with 59 percent globally saying it “improves” their experience, and 23 percent expressing frustration when it’s not free. In Canada free delivery is even more important, with 68 percent saying it’s critical. Free returns motivate 40 percent of shoppers, while 34 percent want faster delivery and 37 percent say slow shipping frustrates them.

This report is based on an online survey of over 10,000 consumers in 11 countries conducted in September 2020, as well as global Shopify sales data from January 2018 to September 2020.