2018 proved itself as a year of significant change for eCommerce and order fulfilment. Artificial intelligence and machine learning has begun to take the lead on managing longer periods of peak seasonal demand. Optimising the returns process has been a dominant pain point for retailers this year and there’s also been explosive growth in smartphone shopping and creating an omnichannel user experience. As we look forward to 2019, what new horizons are coming into sight for eCommerce? We think we have the answers.
Although profitability and sustainability are not mutually exclusive, 2019 will see businesses increasingly take the lead on the latter. Nearly three quarters of UK shoppers say that this year they have become more aware of the environmental damage caused by plastic packaging and it’s now become prevalent that retailers are no longer solely concerned with reducing waste- businesses must now make a positive, palpable impact.
Specialists in order fulfilment services and tech like ourselves must encourage our client base of ecommerce businesses to adopt a ‘sustainability by design’ ethos. At fulfilmentcrowd, our 2020 Vision will see the realisation of sustainability across the business, with a policy incorporating ethical sourcing, environmentally friendly packing alternatives, clean shipping and the endorsement of end-of-lifecycle biodegradability into our client’s products.
It’s possible that the future move by the retail industry towards sustainability can also show a natural alignment with fellow future trends of speedier ecommerce delivery and higher consumer expectation. The strategic sharing model of our Fulfilment Network Partnerships (FNPs), which utilises existent, under-used warehouse space, enables a near-infinite scalability of modern fulfilment centres across the UK and beyond. Decentralising fulfilment in this way not only reduces delivery miles and subsequent CO2 output for each order but also fuels future productivity by allowing same-day delivery for our clients -an existing expectation that is sure to become commonplace across internet retail in 2019.
A rise in subscription ecommerce
Quick and easy commerce is a rising trend that shows no sign of slowing down next year. With increased consumer expectation met by greater value placed by millennials on experiences, subscription ecommerce is fast-becoming an in-demand service that allows the consumer to do less while receiving a curated list of products that have been personalised to their tastes and sent to them on a monthly- sometimes weekly- basis.
The Royal Mail have reported that 27% of UK customers are already signed up to a subscription service, and the increasing convenience of subscription boxes providing a genuinely useful and cool experience positions the market on track to grow to £1 billion by 2022.
Growth of the health, supplement and sportswear sectors
The UK population are more concerned with adopting a healthy, active lifestyle than ever before. This rising popularity offers huge opportunity in the role of retail to enable and support the health and wellness of their customers and optimise their product range to promote cleaner living.
Already, there has been a noticeable prominence of health, supplement and sportswear retailers within the crowd of new customers welcomed onboard with fulfilmentcrowd in 2018, as well as continued steady growth of existing household sportswear names like client Ellesse. As January sees a peak in a percentage of the population determined to achieve new fitness goals, 2019 looks sure to start on a sustained high for the health industry.
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