How Has E-Commerce Technology Supported UK Industry Throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic?
The coronavirus pandemic has well and truly derailed people’s personal lives and businesses throughout Plymouth, Devon and the whole of the UK. Never has relying on online ordering services and secure web transactions been more apparent, and more crucial, than since the first lockdown – 16th of March 2020.
The retail and hospitality industry are both extremely competitive. And, since the first lockdown, both have had to quickly embrace E-Commerce technology. Although the shocking news that Debenhams and the Arcadia Group went bust cannot be blamed entirely on the pandemic, it has been their final nail in the coffin of a dying high street.
Where did these businesses go wrong? Perhaps it’s not so much a case of going wrong, but more the public’s lessening interest in physical shops, and the ever inflating cost of opening the doors.
The UK is the third largest market for E-Commerce throughout the world. We are also the largest B2C market in Europe. 81% of us are online shoppers. By the year 2024 it is estimated that a substantial 95% of all retail sales will use E-Comm technology in some way.
What Is E-Commerce Technology?
The actual definition is ‘transactions conducted electronically via the internet’. They are not a new invention by any means, with sites like PayPal and Amazon pushing the industry. What is new however is the number of businesses now embracing this tech.
Platforms can be developed to offer thousands of products, allow you to easily monitor all sales and stock. E-Commerce websites can also take advantage of modern interactive web design – videos, images, reviews and being completely mobile responsive.
Which Industries and Business Best Use E-Commerce?
Businesses of all sizes can compete online against far larger corporate competitors. A well-structured, clearly focused and strategic keyword focused digital marketing campaign combined with a responsive e-commerce site will help transform your business into a popular online sales platform.
Search4Local work on a huge number of e-commerce sites for a wide range of industries. Below is a list of some of the most popular uses.
- Restaurants – Although sadly restaurants and pubs remains have had to close at times, many have developed online ordering services. Enabling fans of their food to get their favourite meals as a takeaway. If the restaurant has a strong social media following, they could bypass apps like Deliveroo and pocket the profits themselves
- Retail Shops – Using tools such as WooCommerce has ensured niche retail outlets, such as clothing stores and music specialists, to offer online ordering
- Events, Gigs & Theatres – Remember calling up to book tickets to your favourite artists or shows? E-Commerce and secure payments has moved the vast majority of bookings online now. Local venues and independent music venues can take bookings through their own sites, rather than relying on third party companies
- Car garages – Looking to book a car service, new brakes or check when your MOT is due? Garages looking for new websites are asking for booking methods to be developed and embedded into their websites
Debenhams, Boohoo & Coronavirus: Death of the High Street?
It’s tempting but incorrect to blame the collapse of Debenhams and the Arcadia Group completely on the Covid-19 pandemic. Three national lockdowns have no doubt taken their toll on the businesses, but the high street has continuously struggled for years.
Is it a failure of these businesses to not embrace or push e-commerce sooner? The enormous costs of having physical shops compared to solely e-commerce sites, or the margins needed to stay in profit on the high street?
Let’s use Debenhams as our example. An article published in the Financial Times on March 16th 2020 tells us that rates and bills alone amounted to two hundred and fifty million alone for Debenhams. Just to operate.
This is a tremendous figure to pay out annually, especially when you account for the steadily decreasing number of shoppers on UK high streets. An article published in the Guardian on October 14th 2019 states that in the past seven years, the number of shoppers on UK high streets has fallen by 10%.
Online Sale Statistics 2020
As a meta breakdown and overview of how online businesses perform, below are a few digestible facts about e-commerce performance in 2020.
- E-commerce technology based websites contributed £5.3 billion to UK economy in 2020
- 48% of all online sales start with a keyword, semantic or longtail on Google. Illustrating the criticalness for a thorough digital marketing strategy
- Debenhams, one of the largest UK retailers, sold in 2021 to online retailer, Boohoo for £55 million
- The deal bought Debenhams out of administration – included in the deal? Brand assets, E-commerce & website operations. Along with all own label products across beauty & fashion
- All one hundred and eighteen Debenham stores will go into liquidation. Ten thousand staff will lose their jobs
- At the time of writing this blog (16/02/2021) Boohoo have a total of zero physical stores on the high street
How To Market an E-Commerce Site
There are a multitude of methods you can market an online sales platform. This differs depending on industry, products / services and your current internet footprint.
For example, a restaurant with a large social media following could promote new dishes or a takeaway service with sponsored ads, using high quality images to entice and tempt. A hotel with a discount when booking online could utilise their GMB listing (Google My Business Listing) that ranks in the map pack and has numerous five star reviews to increase their number of bookings.
SEO and paid ads are an excellent way to promote new products and services online. Both have their benefits, with sponsored ads actually aiding SEO in the long run due to the quick injection of traffic into a given page.
E-Commerce Sites Design & Build
If you feel your business could benefit from an e-commerce website and would like to discuss this in further detail, please get in touch with one of our professional developers. We are more than happy to discuss your needs, offer a free consultation and quote.