According to the latest figures released by the UK-based Centre for Retail Research, US online spending was expected to reach $349.20 bn [£215.39 bn] in 2015 - an increase of 13.8 per cent on the previous year.
If the forecast figure proves accurate it would mean that in 2015 online orders accounted for some 12.7 per cent of all US retail goods sales.
But, with the home market buoyant, there is a feeling among some analysts that many of the US’s most successful online retailers are overlooking the opportunities that exist overseas – particularly Europe, where consumers have embraced internet shopping with the same enthusiasm as the American public.
In fact, e-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe and is predicted to be worth US$300bn in 2016.
Furthermore, according to the Centre for Retail Research’s analysts, while the US online retail industry remains much larger, e-commerce is expected to grow by 19 per cent across Europe this year - compared to 14 per cent in the US.
So how can the thousands of small and medium-sized US retailers reproduce the success they are enjoying in their home market in the buoyant European internet trade zone?
“Supply chain efficiency is the key that will allow US retailers to open the door to the European market quickly and cost effectively,” says Mark Elward, managing director of the UK supply chain and fulfillment solutions specialist, DK Fulfilment Ltd.
He continues: “US companies with current or future plans to take advantage of the rapidly expanding European online retail market can gain a significant commercial advantage by using a Europe-based logistics specialist to store their products and fulfill their online orders.”
“For example, the European Union (EU) is a free trade zone so by fulfilling orders from within Europe, US retailers will not incur additional taxes or duties.
In addition, shipping orders to European customers from a European base means no custom delays which speeds up the delivery process and makes it more cost effective which, in turn, results in increased customer satisfaction and repeat purchases.”
And, while US retailers could choose to fulfill their e-commerce orders from any location in Europe, Mark Elward believes it makes the most sense to choose a UK owned and operated fulfillment company that is capable of servicing the whole of Europe.
“For a start, we share the same first language, so there will be no barriers to effective communication - and we all know how important good communication is in the world of business,” he says.
“And, being located in the center of your market place, allows you to compete on a level playing field without incurring costly shipping expenses from the US. Not only will this allow you to compete on price, but you will have all the advantages of the same transit times as your competitors and in today’s fast moving e-commerce arena, one extra shipping day could mean a lost sale.”
“In addition, simply having a physical presence in a country allows you to ‘behave’ like a local company. And locals like to buy from locals.”
With three modern and secure UK-based facilities and other sites located in Germany, DK Fulfilment has helped a diverse list of clients to grow by delivering exceptional and consistent online customer satisfaction.
DKF’s presence on the European mainland contributes significantly to the company’s value proposition, as Mark Elward explains:
“From our German facility the average transit time to most EU countries is to 1-2 days – and for online retail operations quicker transit times mean more sales.
“By utilizing our transport partners in Germany, we can get your products to your European customers at a fraction of the cost and time that shipping from the UK mainland would incur. These savings alone offset the fulfillment costs of many of our existing clients. “
“What’s more, because the DK Group has significant buying power in Germany, our clients benefit from the volume-related discounts that DKF is able to negotiate with Europe’s major carriers. “
Mark Elward adds, ”DKF has years of experience in delivering innovative B2B and B2C fulfillment solutions and our large international client base is expanding rapidly as more and more export-focused companies appreciate the benefits of servicing their European online customers through a Europe-based logistics partner.”
To discuss how DK Fulfilment’s portfolio of fulfillment services and solutions can benefit your company, visit Booth 4573 at Modex 2016 (April 4-7, Georgia World Congress Center) or visit www.dkfulfillment.com
January 21, 2016