The massive surge of online shopping experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic was substantiated in recent key findings from Digital Commerce 360’s 2021 Top 1000 Report, an annual ranking of North America’s largest merchants by e-commerce sales.
The Top 1000 retailers collectively increased their global online sales by 45.8% in 2020, by far the largest year-over-year growth in the decade since Digital Commerce 360 began tracking North America’s 1,000 e-commerce leaders.
While U.S. retail sales increased 6.9% in 2020, online purchasing grew more than four times as fast, growing by 32.4%. E-commerce accounted for the bulk of retail industry growth in 2020 – 74.6% – a big jump over 54% of retail growth in 2019.
The report notes, “As consumers across North America searched, often desperately, for essential items during the pandemic, they not surprisingly turned first to the best-known retailers.” Just the 12 largest retailers by web sales accounted for 70.9% of the growth in Top 1000 sales from 2019 to 2020, growing collectively by 54.8%.
In Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights’ omnichannel survey of 1,047 online shoppers in February 2021, 64% of survey respondents said they intend to order more online in the next six months, suggesting a persistent upward trajectory. As the online shopping landscape continues to rapidly evolve, retailers must consider advanced e-commerce strategies to meet customer expectations and stay competitive.
Growing Importance of Omnichannel Retail Services
Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000 Report found wide embrace of omnichannel activities by online shoppers in 2020, with 58% checking product availability at their local stores and 43% ordering products online and picking up in-store.
Of the 75% of surveyed shoppers who completed an in-store or curbside pickup in the past six months, 22% did so 11 or more times. Shoppers were largely satisfied with these delivery alternatives; 48% of respondents scored omnichannel experiences a 9 or higher, while 46% issued a grade of 6-8.
Of the Top 1000 retail chains – companies that primarily sell through physical stores – the percentage offering in-store pickup of web orders grew to 73% in 2020 from 61.9% in 2019. There was a much bigger jump in the number of chains offering curbside pickup, which increased to 54.2% from 9.9%. Many retail chains also increasingly offered in-store returns, growing to 88.3% of store-based Top 1000 retailers in 2020 from 66.8% a year earlier.
Overall, online shoppers widely embraced omnichannel options from a variety of merchants, with specialty stores, grocery stores and retail powerhouses including Walmart and Target all attracting significant attention. In turn, the countless stores that adopted these options drove positive results and fostered growing interest.
A Cloud Multi-Carrier Parcel Shipping Solution Sets Retailers Up for Success
It’s clear that, as consumer demands for affordable shipping and quick delivery continue to grow, for today’s leading retailers, adopting and building an omnichannel strategy is critical to remaining competitive. A successful omnichannel approach requires an optimal balance of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar retail, and fulfillment and distribution capabilities. Having the ability to pull multiple e-commerce order fulfillment levers – such as ship from store; buy online pickup in store (BOPIS); and buy online, return in-store – is a critical differentiator for retailers, as detailed in the key findings of Digital Commerce 360’s 2021 Top 1000 Report.
To successfully implement an omnichannel retail strategy, companies need a comprehensive multi-carrier shipping strategy to support fast delivery times and meet customer expectations. For retailers striving to scale their business, while optimizing customer service and increasing profit margins, an effective omnichannel strategy must include a cloud multi-carrier shipping system.
A cloud multi-carrier shipping system seamlessly integrates with a retailer’s WMS, OMS, e-commerce, and ERP solutions to automate high volume, multi-carrier, omnichannel shipping. Regardless of which delivery option a customer chooses, the system automatically selects the right carrier service for each order according to parcel origin, parcel destination, carrier contracts, and business rules; and creates or acquires the tracking, labels, and documents. Therefore, retailers can satisfy customers’ delivery requirements and drive down the cost of shipping while transforming logistics into a profit center within the business.
Logistyx was named the #1 fulfillment software provider to Digital Commerce 360’s Top 1000 retailers for two consecutive years. As e-commerce continues to surge, Logistyx ensures top retailers and others with large fulfillment operations have the right mix of shipping and omnichannel capabilities at their fingertips, while tapping into more than 550 global carrier integrations for an optimal transportation strategy to effectively achieve omnichannel fulfillment.
To learn how you can improve your omnichannel shipping strategy to take advantage of e-commerce growth, contact us today.