pexels-photo-132589Great Britain, quietly leaving the European party and accustomed to getting thrashed in the Eurovision Song Contest, has finally found something it can beat Europe at. That something is mobile ecommerce.

HR service provider SD Worx asked almost 500 retailers in Britain, Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands what impact ecommerce is having on retailers. Results show that having a physical store without ecommerce to back it up could be as painful as a razor-blade tombola.

Britain, once renowned as being good only at hosting snail-racing championships and watching the Antiques Roadshow, is blazing a trail in mobile ecommerce, with 40% of retailers having a mobile online shop. That’s against an international average of 31%.

The survey found that 62% of retailers have an online shop. Clothes and shoe shops lead the way. However, DIY retailers simply haven’t nailed e-commerce at all. (See what I did there?) Here, the Netherlands is the winner, with more than 76% of Dutch retailers boasting an online shop. And, no, not a coffee shop.

Great Britain is second here, with 70% putting their stuff online. France scored a paltry 48% on this, but most of their time is taken up with eating Brie and playing boules, which are far more important matters.

One in five of the retailers has a dedicated app for their online shop, with Belgium trailing behind and the UK surprisingly on the ball in first place.

Retailers report that ecommerce has boosted sales, and three out of four expect further growth. More than 60% reckon those that avoid ecommerce will come a cropper. However, shopping in real stores is still important for customers, and most retailers believe that a physical store and an online presence is the way to go.

SD Worx retail expert Peter Van Ostaeyen said that a thriving ecommerce industry will affect employment in the retail sector: “Employment might decline due to ecommerce in certain segments, such as small retail outlets. In contrast, other segments, such as new online chains and flagship stores, will actually require more people.

“We’re therefore talking about a shift in employment. Don’t forget that ecommerce also creates a number of jobs in logistics, such as warehousing and distribution. Retailers that bet on an omni-channel strategy and merge online and offline customer experience will triumph.

“Physical and online stores complement each other and intensify customer experience. Our sample indicates that only 60% of the retailers surveyed apply such an omni-channel strategy. So, there’s still a long way to go.”

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Author Chris Painter

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