An ever-changing industry, e-commerce has been further intensified by the pandemic and new consumer behavior. Salesforce surveyed 1,400 business leaders and analyzed purchasing data from 1 billion consumers worldwide to learn about key e-commerce trends, consumer and business expectations, the impact of e-commerce on sales teams, or developments in B2B commerce. A sharp study, therefore, with very extensive data, from which some lessons can be drawn here.
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The report consists of 2 parts, and first looks at B2C.
Blurring boundaries between physical and online commerce
B2C trading has been largely impacted by the Covid. E-commerce, which is experiencing constant growth, has taken advantage of events to accelerate further. According to Salesforce and its analysis of the purchasing activity of 1 billion consumers, e-commerce revenues grew 75% in Q2 2020 and 55% in Q3!
After the Covid, many companies have transferred a large part of their marketing and merchandising actions to digital. B2C companies went to meet their customers, i.e. online. Investments have been massively attributed to digital. Unsurprisingly, high performers have handled this shift best.
Communication strategy tests have also multiplied to try to capture consumers in the absence of physical interactions. The content offered to customers includes: virtual events (Instagram Live), virtual shopping, instant messaging and live video, virtual reality and augmented reality.
The pandemic has also been an opportunity to implement contactless or less contact strategies: contactless payment, click & collect, self-service, contactless delivery or collection. Home delivery is not always smooth (lost parcels, delays, etc.), so the store remains an important asset for a good distribution strategy.
Globally, 2 major trends have emerged: payment via smartphone (and therefore contactless), and shops that have become a place for processing online orders.
Direct sales gain ground
Direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales are increasing, even for FMCG brands. Between March 2019 and March 2020, the increase in online purchases of basic necessities is 20%!
On the agri-food side, manufacturers are increasingly replacing their promotions in stores with digital promotions. And this paradigm shift in consumption will certainly be permanent: 68% of consumers say they will continue to buy essential goods online after the pandemic.
Turnover is obviously monitored on the objectives side, but the sales managers have other priorities, in particular the safety of the employees. Customer engagement comes next and remains a top priority.
In terms of investment priorities, B2C companies are trying to make up for the lack of first-party data as much as possible. In particular, this involves investing in different channels to collect data: social networks, web presence, etc. In general, the most successful companies focus their investments on web channels, while the less efficient companies prefer to invest in traditional stores.
The acceleration of decentralized shopping
Salesforce sees the rise of “Decentralized Shopping”: the fact that brands invest in many digital channels to sell their products directly there. Ecommerce site traffic increased by 104% in the second quarter of 2020, according to Salesforce. A move that is not anecdotal, as it manifests itself in buying acts.
Most viewed content does not vary by region: Instagram Live and TikTok for China, Japan or Australia; influence campaigns in North America.
By investing more and more in new digital channels (video games, voice assistants, augmented reality, etc.), brands only hope for a gain in exposure. In fact, more and more channels are providing contextual commerce that helps brands get closer to their business challenges.
Salesforce also notes that B2C companies have adapted very quickly to the new challenges posed by the pandemic. In just 3 months, 41% of B2C companies have implemented instant messaging or video chat services in their online offerings.
According to Salesforce, this pandemic has finally allowed e-commerce to continue to grow, but it hasn’t replaced the brick and mortar store! For example, the store that was a place of discovery becomes a place of delivery or payment, but retains its place in a commercial strategy.
The second part of the research focuses on B2B e-commerce. Here too, Salesforce reveals some key underlying trends and examines in depth how B2B companies are going digital. For more information, you can download the full study for free at this link.
Download the Ecommerce Trend Report