No, not the Vanilla Ice song to which my 16 year old can proudly rap all of the lyrics. What I am talking about is India, China and Europe – three powerhouses in the global eCommerce gold rush. Each are experiencing breakout growth in e-commerce that looks a lot like the US did some years back.
There are some trends here that domestic US retailers should watch closely and internalize. Indian e-commerce is currently being propelled by a confluence of growing Internet accessibility, improved online payment systems and improved infrastructure for product delivery. As a result, India saw 2013 e-commerce growth rates 160% greater than in the U.S. (And that’s before an estimated half a billion people get smartphones over the next five years across India.)
The 2013 growth rate for Chinese e-commerce was 485% higher than in the U.S. While this has much to do with the rise in Chinese middle class spending power, another key driver is the adoption of e-commerce strategies by B-to-B companies. In a recent report by EnfoDesk, quarter-over-quarter B-to-B sales have increased in 7 of the last 10 quarters as more Chinese industrial companies apply big data techniques and e-commerce like tools for their business customers.
In the case of the European continent, mobile shopping is driving e-commerce revenues up and to the right. Some European retailers are claiming that a solid 50% of their online revenues come from mobile shoppers. Many of us stateside have been envious of Europe’s broadband and wireless infrastructure. This gives retailers another reason to be green with envy.
So, what should we take away from these global trends? When Vanilla Ice first hit the airwaves in 1990, there were no smart phones. Make sure your site, apps and consumer experience is mobile ready or you may be a one hit wonder too. Think about applying e-commerce-like tools to your B-to-B interactions. In-store, with suppliers, with vendors – there are a lot of efficiencies to be had. Finally, think about product delivery. Last holiday brought home the issues of shipping capacity and the degree to which revenue performance relies on shipping product to paying customers. Don’t get caught in the ice by not planning ahead for peak shipping and delivery periods.