Electronic commerce, generally shortened to e-commerce, is creating new challenges on a daily basis and across multiple markets. The number of businesses offering products and services over the Internet is on the rise. These companies want to be visible online and easily reached. The goal is to expand their presence in their domestic markets, and to then extend into international operations. At the same time, e-commerce activity varies considerably from country to country, and from region to region.
In Europe, the North and the East both play pivotal roles, but in very different ways. The Nordic countries, where 93 percent of the population uses the Internet, have been the pioneers. They account for almost a tenth of the continent’s e-commerce market, despite being home to just 4 percent of its population. And the Scandinavians primarily make their online purchases via mobile devices. The situation is very different in Eastern Europe, which currently generates just 6 percent of e-commerce market transactions. According to studies, this is in part attributable to an Internet penetration rate of less than 50 percent. However, the region is experiencing huge growth. In fact, its e-com market expanded by a third last year, making it the fastest growing market of Europe.
Overall, Denmark is the online leader, with an annual trade volume of around 16 billion euros. Norway has, powered by 100 percent Internet penetration, the largest potential market. In particular, exports are booming: almost one in three Norwegian businesses sells over the Internet, but only 5 percent of their customers are based in the European Union. Demand in Europe is strongest for clothes and sports goods, as well as electronic products and financial services.
New business models, and the new jobs that go with them, plus close interaction with customers, are accompanied by both risks and opportunities. Customers now expect next-day delivery as standard. This creates significant logistical challenges for online merchants. Automated intralogistics plays a vital part in ensuring storage of large inventories, rapid picking, and timely shipment. An effective supply chain is the key to consumer satisfaction. As a result, the core business mission in the Internet age is to satisfy customer demand by means of logistics processes and systems of maximum efficiency.
“The rising number of e-commerce orders on the Russian market is exerting ever greater pressure on companies’ intralogistics. We know that current warehouses and logistics centres are not able to cope with this pressure. Businesses must therefore build new warehouses and improve intralogistics in order to be equipped for the growing volume of online trade.” Andrey Belinskiy, Managing Director at SSI SCHAEFER Russia