Retail is undergoing a dramatic transformation, from bricks and mortar to clicks and orders. This shift was visible to nearly everyone during the 2020 pandemic, as deliveries piled up on doorsteps around the world and major online retailers experienced explosive growth. But this masked what may be an even more important trend: as people emerge from lockdown, the growth rate of e-commerce shows no sign of slowing down for 2021 and beyond.
Recent figures from eMarketer show just how profound this shift is – between 2020 and 2024, the percentage of retail transacted by e-commerce is predicted to nearly double, from just under 11 percent to over 20 percent. This year alone, the projected 2021 growth rate for retail e-commerce was revised upward from 13.7% in January 2021 to 17.9% as of this writing in June 2021.
Of course, there are social trends driving the overall growth of retail, particularly as the pandemic slowly ebbs. Growth rates will slow (but remain positive) for the food and beverage segment as well as consumer electronics, as fewer people are forced to stay and work from home. Conversely, apparel and accessories are projected to grow a substantial 28.7%, as overall retail tops US $6 billion for the first time ever.
What this means for your business
We are clearly undergoing a major cultural shift that is making permanent structural changes in how we do retail. In 1995, people went shopping at the mall. In 2020, the same people made curbside pickup orders, ordered clothes and furniture online, and met with service providers on Zoom. Today, we are seeing many of these changes become permanent and continue to grow, as purchasing habits change and many people never plan to return to an office.
This means that increasingly, e-business is just becoming, well, business as usual – it is now just one channel in an increasingly multi-channel retail environment. The same customers and the same retailers now have more potential touch points than ever, many of which are often online. And as a side effect, people are now purchasing more than ever as well.
Why retail is now driven by data
Perhaps the biggest change that e-commerce is bringing on is that fewer customers are standing in front of you, and many more of them now enter your business as data. This increases your marketing opportunities, but also increases your risks of data entry errors, missed deliveries, fraud, compliance issues, and more.
This means that data quality is an important part of “hardening” your retail infrastructure for e-commerce. We provide one-stop services for contact data quality that integrate directly into your business data environment via API interfaces, including:
- Address validation – to ensure correct deliveries and provide fraud protection, for over 250 countries worldwide
- Email validation – for reliable communication and customer support
- Phone validation – for accurate text and communications, and compliance with telecommunications privacy laws
- Tax calculation – block-level US sales and use taxes from your contact data
We also offer bundled services such as lead and order validation – which validate and cross-reference your contact data to give you a quantitative quality and confidence score – along with value-added services that power your data with demographics or missing contact data and address autocomplete capabilities that can reduce cart abandonment by 30% or more.
If you are just getting started with e-commerce and contact data quality, a good place to start learning about best practices is our solutions page. From there, you can try out any of our products live or examine complete documentation right on our website – or for a deeper dive, contact us for a free 500-transaction license key. And of course, our friendly product experts are here to help whenever you need.