Ecommerce trends: Marketplace takeover and cross-border trade

21st Aug 2014

Since the very first sale, 20 years ago, involving Sting and an album cover in which the ex-Police frontman stared longingly at a horse’s backend, ecommerce has grown staggeringly to see worldwide business-to-consumer (B2C) sales on track to increase by 20.1% and reach an eye-watering $1.5 trillion for 2014.

In the UK, the ecommerce market is now worth £100bn a year, and competition for sales is fierce. As a result, there are a number of trends taking shape that suggest UK ecommerce businesses are keen to broaden their horizons in order to increase revenue.

ChannelAdvisor’s latest Multichannel E-Commerce Study, commissioned by Redshift Research, reveals that marketplaces and cross-border trade provide ecommerce’s most significant developments.

Marketplaces, in particular, are exposing some intriguing statistics: according to the research, 95% of UK online retailers are now selling via marketplaces as well their own sites. 86% currently have a presence on Amazon, while 68% sell on eBay – highlighting the immense stranglehold these two players have over fellow ecommerce providers.

The main challenges businesses experience in trying to sell via these third-party marketplaces are customer service (66%), maintaining competitive pricing (51%) and product sourcing (49%).

However, the reason all but 5% of online sellers involve themselves still appears to be to increase their global footprint and sales revenue. This correlates with the latest data attached to cross-border selling, which is on the rise in the UK. Almost half (43%) of UK retailers reported that 21-30% of the online sales come from international sales via marketplaces, with 54% of UK respondents highlighting Amazon as the “best opportunity to sell internationally”.

“In such a competitive landscape, it’s imperative that retailers are constantly evaluating ecommerce trends and staying abreast of what the rest of the industry is doing”, said Jordan Weinstein, managing director, ChannelAdvisor EMEA.

“The ChannelAdvisor Multichannel E-Commerce Study suggests that retailers are implementing multichannel strategies to increase their exposure in every stage of the consumer’s path to purchase. Retailers in the UK understand that to find success in a very crowded ecommerce landscape, they need to be visible and reaching their customers via a number of different channels.”

Brand awareness is the key to online retailers looking to increase their global footprint, according to the research. Social media is deemed the platform in which to be most successful, with most businesses using social channels to “reach a new generation of customers” and drive conversions. Facebook is said to be the social platform that creates the most conversions for retailers.

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