Unless you are one of the youngest Millennials, you probably remember the days when ecommerce was a novelty – because e-anything was a novelty. In those days, the thought of doing most of your shopping with a mouse click or a smartphone still seemed pretty wild in a world of shopping malls and catalogs.
By the dawn of the 2020s, of course, all of that changed dramatically. Ecommerce grew from noise level to become over 14% of all retail sales in 2019, Amazon.com had grown to become a $300 billion a year powerhouse, and the vast majority of Americans had now shopped online. But there was still a great digital divide, particularly in countries where people historically preferred to use cash and shop in person.
Then along came a great equalizer – in the form of a global pandemic.
How 2020 changed e-commerce
The worldwide COVID crisis of 2020 changed everything about how we live. Many people now worked from home, avoided shopping in crowded stores, and stayed inside their “bubble” – sometimes under strict lockdown orders from their governments. And e-commerce exploded, growing over 44% in the US alone in 2020. But the impact was even more profound on the global stage, pulling many countries more fully into the digital shopping era.
DigitalCommerce360 points to Mexico as one example: in a country where most people still do not have bank accounts, with ecommerce rates barely a third of those in the US, millions of consumers switched to the web as stores closed during the pandemic. The result was a 54% increase in online sales.
This story has been repeated in numerous countries over the past year, such as Russia, India and Brazil, fueled by rapid changes to outdated infrastructures and changing social attitudes towards financial systems. As another case in point, analysts at major bank HSBC now predict that the share of e-commerce in Latin America will jump from 5% to 25% over the next decade, and its major ecommerce marketplace MercadoLibre (often referred to as Brazil’s equivalent to Amazon) saw a 28% year-over-year growth rate in 2020.
What this means for you
If history is any guide, the pandemic of 2020 will fade away. But the changes it has made to the way we do commerce are most likely permanent. The necessity of moving business and shopping online has not only greatly expanded the presence of ecommerce, but has quickly leveled the global playing field for it. And this landscape is here to stay.
This means that businesses of every size will be increasingly functioning in a digital space, and data quality will become more important than ever. When customers transact business with you online, there are real and tangible costs associated with contact data errors, from lost marketing opportunities to misdirected shipments, customer satisfaction problems, and compliance penalties. As you build out your own digital infrastructure, it will be critical to have processes in place to ensure your data is accurate, genuine and up-to-date.
Thankfully, Service Objects products are engineered to help you maintain accurate global contact data. Our DOTS Address Validation – International product works with addresses from over 250 countries worldwide, and for many of these countries – including top-ranked digital buyers such as the UK, South Korea and others – it can now validate addresses down to the apartment, suite or premise level. Also, we recently released DOTS Global Address Complete, a real-time service that suggests correct addresses from only a few keystrokes and is the only autocomplete service that uses CASS-compliant, USPS data. By using a business-ready service like Global Address Complete, you do much more than save data entry time – you save your company considerable downstream costs resulting from data entry errors, undeliverable addresses and formatting errors, while improving user experience, cart abandonment and transaction completion rates.
Adding cost-saving data quality safeguards your global ecommerce, with API interfaces for common business automation platforms, expert implementation assistance and free trial licenses. You can even test-drive our products right on our website! To discuss your specific needs, speak to one of our friendly product experts today. There has never been a better time!