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Jonmichael Moy: Why the future is bright for ecommerce

Ecommerce is booming. Current projections estimate double-digit growth through 2020, when sales will top $4 trillion. There are several reasons why.

We’ll take a look at three of them.

1. Mobile Phones

Who doesn’t own a mobile phone these days? As mobile usage continues to increase and the phones themselves become more powerful, it’s become easier and more convenient – not to mention often cheaper – to shop online. And many companies are investing millions of dollars into their mobile sites to make the user experience as fast and user-friendly as possible.

2. Cheaper, Faster Delivery

Historically, one of the biggest hurdles ecommerce merchants needed to overcome was time of delivery. Today, nearly everything can be delivered. And with delivery times decreasing and sites offering everything from free to same-day shipping, that hurdle has largely been overcome.

3. Convenience and Safety

Another hurdle ecommerce merchants needed to overcome was related to the safety – and more specifically the perceived safety – of shopping online. A merchant may have taken every precaution and created a site safer to buy from than Fort Knox, but if its customers were leery of making purchases online in general, such precautions wouldn’t make much of a difference. But, with the rise of companies such as Amazon, online shopping has become a common – and convenient part of life. And smaller online merchants are now reaping the benefits of this changing consumer mindset that was made possible by larger merchants, even as they struggle to compete with them.

And while ecommerce in Canada has been somewhat slower to develop than in the United States or the United Kingdom, it is now catching up. In fact, Forrester Research Inc. projects that 10% of all Canadian retail spending in 2019 will be conducted online, which is nearly equivalent to the 11 percent forecasted for the United States market.

Click and collect services are beginning to take hold, such as Toronto-based grocer Loblaw, which allows customers to order online and pick up their groceries later. Of note, this service allows Loblaw – and in turn Loblaw’s customers to avoid delivery expenses, which can be quite hefty in Canada. And with the holiday shopping season approaching, it is estimated that a quarter of all online shopping done in Canada will take place via a mobile device this year.

All in all, it’s a good time to be involved in ecommerce, specifically in Canada, where its time has most certainly arrived.