Industry Data Provides Telling Insights for Retailers in 2016

It’s no secret that shoppers are moving online, but the physical store isn’t going anywhere as long as you start to leverage them differently. This year, retailers are putting a stake in the ground by creating continuous shopping experiences, whether the checkout lane is a couch or store aisle.

eBay Enterprise recently released findings from its Digital Commerce Index based on data from millions of orders processed in 2015. The data revealed valuable insights as to how retailers can increase profitability and customer loyalty in 2016.

Here are four trends that retailers should be aware of this year:

Omnichannel Fulfillment is More Critical Than Ever to Keep Pace with Ecommerce Demand

Five years ago, retailers were trying to decide where, if at all, omnichannel fulfillment ranked on their list of priorities. Ironically, that decision was made for them when consumers became more powerful than the purveyors of goods. So, the big question for 2016 is this – “How quickly and cost effectively can retailers be omnichannel enabled to leverage their entire supply chain to meet demand?” And stores are a huge factor in answering that question.

Ecommerce order volumes fulfilled by stores increased 72% year-over-year during peak season. That means consumers are truly embracing a seamless shopping experience, particularly during the holiday season. However, omnichannel fulfillment isn’t just a seasonal tool. Annual sales volumes for store fulfilled ecommerce orders also increased 43%. This means retailers need to look to best-in-class, omnichannel cloud technology that can be deployed quickly while keeping legacy investments intact. Retailers that have not yet embraced omnichannel are dangerously behind.

Ship-from Store Must be Leveraged to Mitigate Out-of-Stock Situations

According to the Adobe Sales Index, Cyber Monday surpassed $3 billion in total digital sales, but out-of-stock rates were more than twice as high as on an average day. eBay Enterprise data showed Ship-from Store orders on Cyber Monday increased more than 30% in both sales and order volume over 2014.

The data above indicates that retailers capable of Ship-from Store were better able to respond to the increased demand and leverage stores to mitigate a significant amount of lost sales due to out-of-stocks. Store Fulfillment absolutely drives incremental revenue, and Ship-from Store should be retailers’ first priority as it’s the easiest to implement and delivers the most profitability. So let’s not ring the store death knell just yet – it seems physical stores are critical “save-the-sale” revenue generators for the digital channel.

Big Data Technologies Will Help Combat Online Fraud

According to ACI Worldwide, ecommerce fraud attempts registered a 30% increase in 2015. And with the advent of EMV chip technology, retailers can expect card-not-present fraud to continue to increase in 2016 and beyond, as fraudsters shift their focus to digital and execute more sophisticated attacks.

Settling for industry average metrics documented in the CyberSource Online Benchmark Report for manual review rates (27%), order approval rates (97.7%) and chargeback recovery rates (27%) is no longer enough to prevent fraud, and definitely not in the best interest of retailers. Retailers should re-evaluate their current risk management practices, processes and technology and understand their true cost of fraud, or look for a partner with the credentials to frustrate fraudsters. Risk management is extremely complex, and without a substantial data-driven backbone, order conversion rates could be in jeopardy.

Omnichannel is Gaining Popularity in the Asia Pacific Region

According to market research firm eMarketer, the Asia Pacific region is growing faster than any other, largely driven by a rising middle class and the increasing popularity of mobile devices. The region will not only have the largest digital retail market in the world, but its share of global digital retail spend will also reach 52.5% —the first time it holds an outright majority of the world market.

eBay Enterprise Index data aligns with this growth. Data shows a 40% increase in global footprint with particular expansion into China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines for omnichannel-minded retailers and brands.  Mobile is driving a surge in digital sales in these regions because online access is becoming more widely available.

The transformational shifts in ecommerce and mobile present countless opportunities for retailers to leverage technology, processes and people to make this year a game-changing one for the industry. But first and foremost, omnichannel technology is retailers’ greatest weapon to meet consumers’ skyrocketing demand for “have it your way” fulfillment in 2016.

Louisa Rupp leads the omnichannel marketing strategy at eBay Enterprise.

 

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