Ranked by the World Bank as the 9th richest country per capita, the United Kingdom (UK) is home to 65.64 million people. Of this population, there are currently 45.36 million e-commerce users, and this figure is expected to increase with an additional 4.06 million consumers shopping online during the next four years.
A significant amount of inventory stock is being ordered and shipped via online sites and recent government figures in the UK put the value of e-commerce sales at over 60 billion pounds, or more than 80 billion US dollars in 2017.
While 57 percent of online shoppers in the UK still make their purchases via desktop computers, this is set to change as younger generations of ‘digital natives’ start to become more prominent consumers, only accessing the internet via smartphone devices.
With this in mind, it is prudent that retailers appreciate the impact that e-commerce has on business in the UK and to understand m-commerce trends moving forward.
Three years ago, the growth of online retail in the UK grew by 12.6 percent with a significant portion of that growth coming from the mobile sector.
Since then, overall growth has slowed while the share of mobile online sales has continued to steadily increase. Smaller vendors have also experienced greater conversion rates through mobile devices, highlighting the need for brands to focus on optimising their mobile presence.
The increased popularity towards the use of mobile devices for online shopping, referred to as m-commerce, offers the same benefits as traditional e-commerce. Consumers can browse inventory stock in real time, comparison shop or make purchases wherever they are, whenever they like.
What makes mobile applications different and an attractive alternative to traditional websites is that they are often faster and more convenient. M-commerce is adapting perfectly to the on-the-go lifestyle many consumers now embrace.
Mobile devices are truly where your customers are. This is particularly true of those digital natives mentioned earlier, where smartphones are practically right there in their hand, or at the very least, close at hand.
Smartphone devices and mobile applications also facilitate geo-targeting, which enables retailers and e-commerce stores to send branded messaging to consumers based on their real-time location.
The use of push notifications allow businesses to provide timely updates to customers about promotions or order status. Push notifications can help create a seamless blend across all channels and are an effective way to maintain the transparency that shoppers expect without inundating their inboxes.
New ways to shop and pay
E-commerce needs to evolve and adapt to keep pace with the changing ways consumers choose shop and pay. Multi-channel click-and-collect, or reserve-and-collect options continue to play a key role in online retail in the UK.
When it comes to paying for inventory stock purchased online, 49 percent of UK shoppers prefer to pay via credit or debit card, with some 41 percent preferring to check out using PayPal.
Technology and the growth of mobile devices, has created many opportunities for online retailers. E-commerce allows businesses to tap into new markets, boost sales and grow their business exponentially, but they need to invest in m-commerce to stay relevant.
The bottom line is that e-commerce retailers need to optimise their mobile experience to create a convenient and pleasant experience for the growing numbers of m-commerce shoppers.
Make mobile optimisation a priority. If you don’t have a quality mobile experience moving forward, you’re likely to alienate an emerging consumer base and miss out on potential future sales.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.