News Feature | March 3, 2016

What 14.6 Percent Growth In eCommerce Sales Means For Retailers In 2016

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Walmart & Sam's Club eCommerce Site Upgrades

Implications of the 2015 total sales figures for the future of retail.

The 2015 total retail sales reveal that eCommerce sales continue to grow at a rapid pace, growing 14.6 percent year over year in 2015 to a grand total of $341.7 billion. The surge was so strong, in fact, that eCommerce accounted for 66.4 percent of total retail sales growth year over year.

The recently released 2015 eCommerce growth data has major implications on in-store retail strategies, as fixed costs won’t be sustainable in marginally profitable stores. If the growth of eCommerce continues at this pace, tertiary stores will soon be underwater.

In order for retailers in today’s omnichannel environment to remain competitive, existing stores must be used for purchase pickup and shipment, distribution systems must be optimized, and supply chains need to be enhanced.

With demand at an all-time high, the product content exchange process between brands and retailers has a major impact on speed to market and inventory management, which can make or break the revenue stream and reputation of a brand. Unfortunately, the traditional strategy for exchanging product content between brands and retailers-- manual data input—is prone to mistakes, slow moving, and a major drain of resources for brands.

One way to improve the chances for retailers is to implement master data management (MDM) and product information management (PIM) solutions that allow collaboration between retailers and suppliers. According to EnterWorks, “Brands and retailers are partnering to enrich content and serve up differentiated experiences to increasingly digitally oriented consumers – while needing sophisticated product information management to handle both physical and digital content.” Via improved orchestration of the content value chain, companies can transform their product data and content, videos, brands, and other marketing assets across both digital and physical channels that support marketing, sales, and omnichannel commerce.

According to a recent Shotfarm study, 95 percent of more than 1500 consumers surveyed reported that product information is a very important part of making a purchase decision, and 42 percent cited poor product information as the reason for returning an online purchase within the past year.

Thus, retailers who provide their customers with accurate, consistent and engaging information about the products they sell will increase both their customers’ buying confidence and their satisfaction once the product arrives, resulting in higher sales and fewer returns.

As retailers engage in tighter competition for sales across the omni-channel market, they need to be astute to the challenges that the new retail environment present. Using product content and information management solutions can help savvy retailers win the battle for customers.