The Covid-19 crisis has put a huge spotlight on e-commerce. With physical commerce forced to close, consumers have rushed to online stores. Since then, many social media influencers have declared that becoming an e-merchant is a royal road to getting rich. But what is it really?
If a jump in e-commerce was observed in 2020, this growth actually declined in 2021, so that the total impact of the crisis in 2022 was generally zero in the development of e-business over a period of 10 years.
Because, in fact, half of e-commerce consists of the sale of tickets (transportation, accommodation, shows), which collapsed in 2020, while in 2022 the consumer resumed the habit of buying sometimes in the store sometimes online depending on the circumstances.
E-commerce is still a peripheral in Belgium and is now shaping up About 10% of retail.
We all keep in mind the names of multi-billion dollar companies valued in the stock market. But, on the ground, it’s not really about El Dorado: in Belgium, more than 90% of e-shops fail to pass above €100,000 in turnover. So it is difficult to be able to live solely from their online store. Even during the year 2021, which was favorable for online commerce, one in five e-merchants suspended their activities.
Many have embarked on a little improvisation in this area. Nor do they retain guilt compared to those who have become highly professional. Because in fact, a few beginners quickly adopted a very efficient process and managed to break through internationally.
E-commerce is a lever for export
And here is perhaps Belgium’s biggest delay in catching up: the online trade balance is very negative. Belgians buy about 30% more from foreign online stores than in the opposite direction. Our Dutch, German and French neighbors are taking market share every day, not to mention our major non-European markets.
It is a little easy to blame wage costs and Belgian social regulations for explaining the delay in the introduction of e-commerce in Belgium. Conversely, some dream of taking the country out of e-commerce, believing that this is a threat to local commerce, while the consumer adopts a “connected commerce” approach. The battle in the 1960s and 1970s seemed to be against mass distribution. However, homegrown e-commerce is a vein in growth, value, and functionality.
There are effective strategies for placing yourself next to these “ghouls”. However, they are still not known enough, and actions taken by public authorities and professional associations are often limited to raising awareness and discovering tools while the challenges are not technological. Efforts are still to be made to train business decision makers on the right foundation in online e-commerce and export.
A field survey revealed that a large percentage of entrepreneurs realized in retrospect that they started on the wrong foot. They regret being unprepared for it, often focus too much on the technical aspects and in the end more or less forget that online selling is above all about respecting the rules of the art of commerce: good commercial differentiation, Sources good negotiation, trade Attractive, elegant customer journey at the ergonomic level, empathy, good after-sales service, and finally, good management!
Being a trader has never been synonymous with an easy and profitable job, but being well prepared to do so greatly increases your chances of success.