Growing e-commerce technology helps SMEs meet new consumer demands

Find out how technology companies like ShipStation can improve your company’s logistics capabilities.

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The advent of the pandemic has brought about seismic shifts in consumer behavior as quarantine measures early on altered the way people consume goods. This quickly boosted online shopping to unexpected levels, launching e-commerce growth to levels not expected for a few years. Yet here and now, we are witnessing the evolution of retail, e-commerce and what constitutes the epitome of the consumer shopping experience.

The pandemic has created several drastic shifts in consumer mindset, the most prominent being the influx of digital purchases. During the shutdowns, most consumers left their homes as little as possible, meaning shopping was mostly relegated to online shopping. Much of that steady stream of consumers have taken to Amazon, looking for ways to pass their time and kickstart the checks. However, the mostly brick-and-mortar businesses that have seen e-commerce success have ended up adopting some form of digital commerce in an effort to keep sales from dying out altogether.

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More than just the method of purchase has changed for consumers over the past two years. Perhaps one of the most significant changes has been the decline in income levels for many households. A third of the US population has reported a drop in household income during the pandemic. This has led consumers to be wary of what they spend their money on. As a result, brand loyalty has taken a hit as many consumers – now more price-conscious – have been more willing to try unknown brands to cut costs. This practice has only grown due to rising inflation, with 2022 bringing the highest rate of inflation in over 40 years.

How ShipStation can help adapt to ever-changing consumer habits

With the continued growth of e-commerce and the increase in conscious shopping habits, there will undoubtedly be an increase in return logistics. It is estimated that around $573 billion worth of goods will be returned to retailers throughout 2022, four times the total e-commerce volume in 2008. Logistics capabilities will be stretched even further as businesses face the flow of products incoming and outgoing.

While consumer trends will continue to evolve and change, the past 24 months have exposed weaknesses in the global supply chain. Simply put, the logistics capabilities of many businesses and industries have fallen short, especially in their e-commerce capabilities. Tech players such as ShipStation and other technology-focused third-party logistics providers will take a more active role as many companies look to augment their logistics capabilities with new technologies.

These capabilities include batch label printing, automations, order tracking updates, return portals, and deeply discounted shipping rates that allow businesses of all sizes to operate and scale more. effectively.

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Small and medium-sized businesses can now be competitive, thanks to a variety of logistics visibility tools, transparent delivery solutions, and freight matching platforms that help navigate the chaos of the supply chain. Such solutions democratize and level the playing field, allowing SMBs to resist the might of Amazon even if they lack the economies of scale that Amazon has enjoyed over the years.

Ultimately, this results in the creation of an ecosystem where end consumers have more choices to buy from and, more importantly, expect the same level of service across all different platforms – whether it’s be it an SME playing in a niche segment or a giant like Amazon that lists just about everything on their carousel.

Find out how ShipStation can help your business adapt to ever-changing consumer habits.

Author Adam Foster is the Director of Content Marketing at ShipStation. Adam and his team create various types of content that drive ShipStation’s mission to help merchants make shipping easier and more affordable, enabling them to grow their business. He believes that access to e-commerce information and trends is essential for small business owners to make the right choices for their business.