Wondering whether you should take the plunge and sell your products online across the border??
If you do – you would be joining one of the fastest growing channels in retail.
E-commerce remained the fastest growing channel of the retail industry in 2011. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 2011 e-commerce sales in the U.S. totalled $194.3 billion, which equaled a yearly growth rate of 16.1%. More importantly, according to Internet Retailer Magazine (2012 edition), the top 500 web retailers (which includes both Canadian and U.S. retailers) grew their year over year sales by 20.4%. In particular, web-only merchants grew their market share faster than any other retailer, boasting a 32% growth rate last year.
Yes, the competitive backdrop of business is changing rapidly. Corporations and small businesses alike are spending liberally to attempt to remain relevant with consumers and prospects alike, in our ever-changing digital world.
Web-based businesses are in a unique position to optimize their operations to fuel growth, because they are able to focus on a single “product to consumer” distribution channel. Many of the technical aspects of e-commerce business such as social marketing, website design and content management continue to be executed by in-house staff.
However, web-based vendors are increasingly relying on outside service providers to fulfill such crucial business functions as payment system operations, email marketing, and shipping & order fulfillment. Outsourcing the logistics function avoids the cost of investing in brick and mortar, and can be easily and quickly achieved with the right partner.
According to the 2012 edition of Internet Retailer, only 1% of the top web-based vendors rely on in-house infrastructure to get their product to their clientele. Cost of ownership alone is a major factor in this decision to outsource. As important is the expertise that third-party logistics providers bring to the overall consumer buying experience, and the multiplicity of services that they can provide for quality last-mile distribution.