Industry representatives admit that thanks to the pandemic, customer habits have changed and the market has accelerated. A lot.
– The coronavirus pandemic has changed the shopping preferences and habits of customers around the world. We estimate that it accelerated the development of the already dynamically growing e-commerce market by about two or three years. We are extremely pleased with this, because people who have never shopped online before become a very important group of customers, admitted Krzysztof Bajołek, founder and president of Answear.com.
He also notes that online shopping is a global trend, seen in every country.
– In the region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), however, we can observe the most dynamic changes, due to the relatively low penetration of e-commerce compared to Western Europe – adds Krzysztof Bajołek.
Nevertheless, the online retail market in Poland developed rapidly, before the appearance of the coronavirus.
– For many years we have seen an increase in e-commerce both in European markets and in Poland. Our country has been at the forefront of Europe for many years in the development of the online store industry – believes Marlena Żurawska-Szuter, head of e-commerce at Deli2.pl and quotes estimates of PwC according to which the e-commerce market in Poland by 2026 will reach a value of up to PLN 162 billion.
– This means double-digit average annual growth. Sales of food products and those of the health and beauty category are expected to grow the fastest – adds Marlena Żurawska-Szuter.
Customers go online
According to her, the incentives for customers to switch to the network are above all fast payments, contactless delivery (the next day or even the same day) and the security of purchases.
– All this makes Poles more and more willing to transfer their purchases to the Internet, especially in the current pandemic period. According to another report – Gemius – public access to the Internet and trust in online transactions are increasing every year. Thanks to the pandemic, the digital transformation, which was supposed to last for years, has accelerated considerably and in one year we have achieved what was planned for years – adds Marlena Żurawska-Szuter.
Payment specialists also claim that this is a significant acceleration in e-commerce that should continue even after the pandemic threat is over.
– The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the development of the e-commerce market, which we have observed especially in 2020. It is definitely a strong impulse that has accelerated the development of this market by at least two years. The data shows that thanks to the undeniable advantages of the online channel, a significant part of customers will stay there permanentlywhich, of course, will affect its future growth – predicts Paweł Działak, CEO and co-founder of payment operator Tpay.
Selling in a (post)pandemic reality
As Marlena Żurawska-Szuter notes, faced with the pandemic and the restrictions it has caused, fixed-line companies have had to open their Internet versions and implement omnichannel strategies.
– Those who previously wondered if they should adopt this channel, have been forced to do so in one way or another. It’s a good signal, he says.
As he adds, Currently, customers in Poland have more than 30,000 at their disposal. online stores and branches that previously had 1%. the share of e-commerce in its industry began to grow rapidly.
– This is what happens with FMCGs and online stores in this category. An example is Deli2. Our delicatessen has been operating online from the very beginning, which provides us with a large group of interested parties and also reduces the cost of running a business. However, in order for our customers to be able to make their purchases easily and quickly, we have focused on the technical aspects of the platform when preparing the e-shop project. The solutions applied must result in simple and intuitive purchases from the customer’s point of view, and therefore scalable sales from the point of view of the company. Thanks to the innovative technologies used, such as Magento2 or SAP Business One, we have combined a modern warehouse system with an efficient ERP system and an innovative logistics tool, fully automating most processes – lists Marlena Żurawska-Szuter.
There has also been a shift in the big chains’ approach to e-commerce.
Before the pandemic, the number of online grocery stores was small and large chains were reluctant to deliver their products online. But Following Recent Change in Consumer Behaviour, FMCG Category is Growing Fastest. The stores made available to their customers at least the click over collect option, some decided to introduce an online channel with all its advantages, and also completely new businesses were created, for which there were also a square. Despite the easing of restrictions, there is no significant return of customers to fixed purchases – argues Marlena Żurawska-Szuter. – Speed, convenience, security – all of which consumers encountered when shopping online meant that it was not incidental shopping, but becoming a norm, something everyday, normal. There is no indication that this will change in the coming years – he adds.
The future of e-commerce
Along with the easing of health restrictions and restrictions, customers have started to return to fixed stores. This happened, for example, after the opening of shopping centers.
– It’s natural. People lack some sort of ritual of going to a mall. They spent a lot of time there, they could touch the clothes – it’s a completely different shopping experience. However, we are very optimistic about the near future and we are not worried about our sales., because in our opinion this phenomenon will only be a one-time jump. After the increase in demand in physical stores, customers will quickly return to the online channel due to its undeniable advantages – predicts Krzysztof Bajołek.
According to him, the flow of customers between online and offline is more visible in the case of monobrands operating in the omnichannel model.
– On the other hand, it is different in the case of purely e-commerce players, where we have a different clientele, focused on the store and multi-brand offer and taking advantage of the advantages of this sales channel – explains the manager of Answear .com.
As Paweł Działak reminds us, payments are an integral part of e-commerce.
– They are one of the key steps in e-shopping. Our research with SW Research has shown that speed and convenience are the most common reasons for preferring a given payment method. Because it is extremely important to shorten the purchase journey and provide customers with their preferred payment methods. The perfect example is BLIK, which is already responsible for more than 60%. e-commerce payments – specifies the president of Tpay, citing Widget One Click as an example – a solution which, thanks to BLIK, allows one-click payments and contributes to increasing the value of baskets. – More and more e-commerce is looking for such innovations – assures Paweł Działak.
According to him, the future of e-commerce is live streaming, which is now breaking popularity records in Asia. – We predict that soon this trend will be more and more visible in the West. Of course, purchases are made through social media, where, among other things, sales flows are implemented, they require proper integration with payment systems – notes the president of Tpay. Recently, his company, in collaboration with KODA, set up the first in Europe a solution for shopping directly in Messenger.
– They take place during a conversation with the chatbot, and payments are made through BLIK – explains Paweł Działak.