Here is a summary of the e-commerce situation in UK and USA – kindly put together by Benedict Evans using government statistics:

  1. E-commerce’s share of total retail sales in the UK has risen to over 30%. To put into perspective, the value of retail sales in the UK in 2019 was £394bn.
  2. It has continued to rise post lockdown – even as shops have re-opened in the UK.
  3. A nice visual reminder that the UK is significantly more advanced in e-commerce sales than USA (most people perceive it to be the other way round) – about 33% higher share of sales in the UK are via digital compared to the USA.

The implication is if your business isn’t digitally advanced (or doesn’t have plans to become digitally advanced), you’re probably behind your customers’ shopping expectations…and this might mean they’ll migrate to other providers of the same products and services as your own.

A picture paints a thousand words – here’s online’s share (in red) of total retail sales in the UK excluding grocery.
This week, Waitrose released figures showing that three quarters of people in the UK now do at least some of their grocery shopping online. Online grocery sales doubled during the lockdown – if capacity had been greater, surely the rise would have been greater.
Many thousand convenience retailers and foodservice businesses have responded quickly to the digital opportunity. However, have they done this using their own initiative or have they had help from their wholesaler?

I’ve just read The 2020 Fascia Guide published this week by a leading c-sector publication and of all the profiles written by wholesalers and symbol groups, only two mentioned e-commerce support for their retailers. Maybe this is where the next battle ground between wholesalers will lie…..who’s going to take the lead in this high demand area?

TWC recently undertook a thorough review of most major UK wholesalers’ / symbol groups’ e-commerce offerings. What we discovered was large gaps in the functionality, user experience and implementation of true personalisation.

What’s clear is that for the sector to develop sufficiently robust e-commerce solutions suitable for the 2020’s, almost all are going to have to integrate clean and live shipment data within their e-commerce platforms far more than currently is the case.

Written by: 

Tom Fender, Development Director, TWC
07802 336333
Twitter: @Tomhfender. @TWCGroup

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