As we know, the coronavirus pandemic has benefited e-commerce. Just published, the first part of the Commerce Report Switzerland 2021 proposed by the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz and Datatrans quantifies the extent of this phenomenon in our country. Where online sales of consumer goods increased by 25% in 2020, a growth three times stronger than in previous years. This change in consumer behavior has logically put shopping centers in difficulty. A study by the Swiss Council of Shopping Places indicates that last year their sales fell by 5.8% (absolute value of around 1 billion francs).
If the volume of business of online stores jumped between 2019 and 2020, it is also the case of the share it represents in relation to the total volume of retail trade, according to data from GfK Switzerland relayed by the report . This is all the clearer in the non-food market, where e-commerce accounted for nearly one in five purchases. The home electronics segment has the highest online penetration, with a 48% share in 2020 (compared to 36% in 2019). It should be noted that all of the 29 retailers surveyed in the Commerce Report Switzerland 2021 believe that the share of online sales will continue to increase over the next five years, and even strongly according to half of them.
Foreign sites have lost market share
The report further indicates that foreign sites did not take advantage of the pandemic to increase their sales in Switzerland and therefore lost market share. Which is surprising, since according to the rankings regularly established by the firm Carpathia, it is globally the sites based abroad that are progressing the fastest on the e-commerce market in Switzerland. “Switzerland was probably treated in 2020 with a lower priority – the majority of the study panel expects a catch-up from foreign competitors soon”, however, specify the authors of the report.
Optimize customer relations and data exploitation
While retailers expect to see continued growth in online shopping, they anticipate a boom in investment in e-commerce and cross-channel retail concepts. Particularly at the level of omnichannel strategies, as well as in terms of process automation upstream and downstream of online purchases. In particular, this involves optimizing customer relations and the use of data. “The issue of customer loyalty has become so important that we are investing more and more in business models that promote it,” says Francesco Vass, CEO of Ricardo, interviewed as part of the study. “The most important field of action is data, data, data! You need to be able to use your own data much more effectively – to address customers, to make purchases, to offer a differentiated assortment online and in different stores,” says Matthias Fröhlicher, co-founder by Koala.ch.