Online Sales


Ecommerce News Europe recently published an article that states that Ebay and Amazon together account for 66% of all online sales in Germany. A staggering amount although it did not surprise me since I was recently looking into Ebay’s marketshare in Europe by country and Amazon’s success in Europe is well known.

But what should we conclude from this? One might think that these giants simply have acquired a huge market share through efficient marketing but honestly that is not how I look at it. I am more inclined to think that the demand for online purchasing is there but local businesses are not involved enough in this potentially much bigger market.

The main reason for their lack of initiative is that setting up an online store is a considerable investment and it takes at least a year to achieve reasonable sales. To launch an online store brick and mortar stores need to adapt their storage facilities to small order picking and packaging. The web store may require an additional investment depending on what a company sells. Then there is the cost of marketing to draw buyers.  Obviously more staff should be hired for all this and maintaining the webstore is a big job which requires an experienced manager. In Europe hiring people is quite expensive due to high taxes. Bottom line it comes as no surprise that online sales are dominated by a few big players since it really comes down to starting up a whole new department of a business.

But does that mean there is no easy and low cost way for a business to build up a marketshare online? Given the fact that 90% of all online purchases are impulse buy there sure must be. I’m thinking of an ‘easy to reach – quick to buy’ kinda system that does not offer a wide range but just the spearpoints of a range. It should be a mobile app with one product per page and a buy button and it should be easily accessible. Obviously the software should be managed externally so sellers would only need to have an account and post products but the site should be personalised to the seller.

Such a system would reduce the overall investment dramatically and make the step to achieving online sales a lot smaller for any size company without much hassle. Creating such an app may not be too hard but getting consumers to use it is quite another matter if it is not supported. How many apps on your mobile do you use at least a few times a week? Because that would be a condition to keep it alive. So companies should promote this access point to the customers and a joint marketing effort would be necessary to get such a thing going.

We have seen plenty of social media efforts but I find them mostly chaotic and more focussed on advertising than on direct sales. Communication between the user and the company also tends to be slow and very limited. And if any of those social media products would have hit a big buyers market we surely would already have heard of it by now.

So until such a product finally hits the market I foresee little change in the current state of e-commerce.