As we all know, e-commerce continues to grow and it continues to radically alter the retail landscape.
In 2017, e-commerce accounted for approximately 13% of all retail sales in the United States. The growth in e-commerce is accelerating - in 2017 e-commerce sales grew by 16%. This increase was the largest percentage increase since 2011, and there seems to be no end in sight. E-commerce is projected to exceed 20% of all retail sales by 2021.
Virtually every brick and mortar retailer has been impacted by surging e-commerce sales. Bankruptcy filings in 2017 included large retailers such as Toys R US, The Limited, Payless Shoe Source,Radio Shack, Rue 21, and many more. Major Department Stores including Macy's, JC Penney, and Sears closed hundreds of stores. 2017 had more store closings than any other year on record.
Small retailers have been the hardest hit segment of the retail industry. Only 55% of small businesses have websites , and 74% of small business websites have no e-commerce capabilities. Developing a website and an e commerce platform are daunting tasks for owners of small retail establishments who are already stretched so thin. Many small retailers believe that they are not able to adapt their company to engage in e-commerce, or that they cannot afford an e-commerce platform. E-commerce solutions are actually not as expensive as many small businesses suspect - a website with e-commerce capabilities can be purchased for as little as $5,000. This expense will vary based on many variables including the platform, the design of the website, payment solutions, fulfillment processes, returns, and marketing.
The biggest question is " can any retail establishment in 2018 afford not participating in e-commerce"?