E-commerce evolves to fit business models and consumer needs

Near the beginning of its rise to prominence, e-commerce was seen as an “all or nothing” endeavor. Businesses were either entirely committed to a physical, retail presence or built their business around e-commerce. But as the platform has evolved, many businesses have achieved synergy by molding e-commerce to fit their existing business models in order to match the needs of their customers.

While both ends of the spectrum exist, the proportion of customers who make purchases exclusively in-store or online is relatively small and consumers have found a middle ground with their purchasing habits. According to an annual survey conducted by comScore, shoppers on average now make 51 percent of their purchases online. The percentage had slowly risen, sitting at 48 percent a year ago and 47 percent two years ago.

The evolution of e-commerce businesses began as direct delivery, but the market has split into three distinct forms: national shipping (i.e. Amazon), home delivery and pick-up in store. The adaption was spurred on as more retailers moved their inventory online. Consumer activity acted as an incentive for more retailers and businesses to create an online presence. According to the Harvard Business Review, online sales of everyday items, consumer packaged goods, more than doubled between 2006 and 2010. CPG online sales continued to grow by roughly 40 percent annually, reaching an estimated $10 billion in value according to 1010data Market Insights.


Businesses of all sizes have benefited from take an omni channel approach by converging their offline and online practices. Digital Commerce 360 recently published a profile on Tractor Supply Co., who saw a nine percent increase in their revenue from last year after implementing their “Buy Online Pick Up in Store” program. The program now accounts for roughly 55 percent of all their online orders, and increased the amount of unique visitors to their website and usage of their “Store Locator” function. “We are starting to see signs that the physical and digital sides of our business are working well together and support one another.” says Gregory Sandfort, CEO of Tractor Supply Co.

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