E-commerce revenue is expected to reach a whopping $6.5 trillion by 2023. But what’s more astounding is that e-commerce sales still account for a mere 14% of the total retail sales.
The retail industry’s growth has remained quite flat for a few years now, whereas e-commerce has seen tremendous growth since the early 2000s. And seeing this opportunistic space between retail and e-commerce sales, it’s quite evident that the e-commerce industry is yet to peak.
Job Creation & E-commerce
We are expecting to see the market size doubling or tripling over the next few years which means the size of the opportunity in this industry is quite large and it’s not just for the likes of Amazon, but small and medium-sized businesses can also expect to see tremendous growth.
A program by Amazon called FBA (fulfillment by Amazon) is helping small businesses reach global audiences without the hassle of setting up in-house physical as well as digital infrastructure.
Such growth comes with a ripple effect, meaning we can expect similar growth in job creation for the roles of distribution center managers, truck drivers, workers, forklift drivers, customer service reps, and more.
The e-commerce industry is also known for outsourcing tech, marketing, distribution, and supply chain jobs which also means we can expect growth across industries and geographies.
This industry does create jobs but these jobs are usually temporary, low paying, and run a risk of being automated — usually goes to low-skilled workers. The ones that are high paying and require a definite skill set are fewer and also pose a risk for the blue-collar jobs.
We just have to wait and see how the e-commerce industry is evolving and with it, the jobs it’s creating.
A Peak into Automated E-commerce
Automation reduces redundancy, human errors, increases efficiency and growth while simplifying the processes. We are expecting automation to disrupt various aspects of e-commerce including supply chain & order fulfillment, operations, marketing, and data analytics.
Let’s understand in brief how automation will happen in the supply chain, customer experience support, and marketing.
Automation in Supply Chain & Operations
The automation dreams of the e-commerce industry are big and they definitely have the technologies to create a sound foundation for the same. Currently, their supply chains are part automated and part manual.
Meaning: the orders do come in through an automated Warehouse Management System which tracks the inventory and creates an optimized route for fetching and delivery of the order. But, here’s the twist, the fetching, packaging & labeling, and actual deliveries are done manually. This means most of the order fulfillment process is still manual.
Automation streamlines the ordering process, but still has a lot of gaps to fill when it comes to automating the entire supply chain of e-commerce.
What’s more interesting is that the jobs in the supply chain might be at the risk of being automated but with e-commerce companies focusing more on customer satisfaction and experience, we can see more jobs in customer services, user experience, and sales.
Automation in Customer Experience and Support
Customer experience is where a brand can stand out. Improving and automating your customer’s interactions at various touch points in their journey with your e-commerce brand can definitely score some brownie points for you.
The nature of the automation will depend on your goals. If you plan to focus on customer retention rather than acquiring, then automating the rewarding process for your loyal customers should be first on your list.
We all know it’s easier and cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to a new customer since the cost of acquisition is also added to the mix with new customers.
What you can do is automate the tagging of customers based on the frequency of their engagement and interactions with you and then further automate the emails with special discounts, offers, and VIP passed to sales, etc.
You can also automate the feedback emails and SMSs to customers who’ve recently purchased with you. Based on the category of product, you can set a trigger for the feedback emails and SMSs; for example, if it’s a perishable good like grocery, sanitary, etc., then you can set the feedback email after 3 days of purchase. By then, it’s most likely that they would’ve consumed or used the goods at least once.
Automation in Sales
Salespeople spend about 2000 hours a year on repetitive, time-consuming, and mind-numbing tasks like follow-up emails, scheduling calls, etc.
This is where automation comes in. With the right email and sales automation tools and CRM, salespeople will just have to click to set things in motion. Automated deal follow-ups, tracking calls, creating transcripts of phone calls, etc. can free your salespeople from adding repetitive data in various places.
Now salespeople can focus on nurturing clients and creating beneficial and long-lasting relationships with them.
The Future of Ecommerce is Here
What we talked about in the article might seem a bit futuristic but it’s not. Everything is happening right now and the future of ecommerce is here.
Not only all this, but we are also seeing developments in virtual shopping, drone deliveries, augmented reality shopping enabled by shopping apps, and more. But we can’t predict the future down to the last details, it has a way of surprising us in the most unrealistic and unpredicted ways.
So, we can say that with confidence that the future of ecommerce will be interesting.