Arne Andersson, E-commerce advisor at PostNord, presented the annual report E-barometern 2021. The year when we first thought that the Corona pandemic could end, but which has continued to shape our everyday lives and buying behaviour. Growth for e-commerce in Sweden in 2021 was 20%, a continued high increase, despite the fact that the fourth quarter showed a slight decline compared with Q4 2020, which was the strongest quarter ever during the 17 years the report E-barometern was presented. The winner for the year was Groceries with a 35% increase, the only category in the report where the inflection point has not yet been reached, the time at which all growth takes place online.
The Swedes' favourite store is once again Apotea, which ends up in a clear first place. Inet and Webhallen as well as Apoteket and Amazon are companies that take great leaps up the list.
Both Arne and the panel agree that the forecast for e-commerce growth for 2022 is extremely difficult, but somewhere between 5-10% is a reasonable guess. We have become accustomed to e-shopping and there is much to suggest that many of the buying behaviours we had during the pandemic will stop even when we now hopefully get out of it.
Read the entire report E-barometern and discover the interactive version at https://www.postnord.se/vara-losningar/e-handel/e-handelsrapporter/e-barometern.
How Lindex works with innovation, seamless channels and optimized customer experiences
Arne Andersson has met Susanne Ehnbåge, CEO, and Annika Elfström, CIO, at the fashion chain Lindex. They shared about how Lindex uses different tech solutions to optimize the customer experience and the importance of innovation. Lindex aims to become even more data-driven in order to be able to better anticipate needs and create more relevant offers to customers. They are in the middle of a major digital transformation where investments are being made in new tools and systems, such as a new checkout system for the stores and a new customer engagement solution. There are also ongoing projects with product tags to optimize the customer experience and exciting work on 3D design. Lindex has an omni team with employees who work agile with a focus on improving the customer experience and that the response should be the same in all channels. Susanne talks about the importance of innovation that needs to be present in all parts of the company, for example when the Baby Department launched Extended Size Solution, with a long cuff on the bodies and two rows of press studs in the crotch so that the baby can grow one size and still keep the same garment. One of the new investments is in Femtech with the Female Engineering brand with a focus on patented products that can follow women through the different phases of life.
We at 3bits, who have been part of Lindex's e-commerce solution since the start, think it is very exciting to follow how the customer journey changes and develops.
The importance of logistics for the optimized delivery experience
Daniel Johansson, Supply Chain Director at Stadium, talked about how they work to have the right product in the right place and at the right time. An extensive project that Stadium describes as a game changer is RFID for a perfect balance that is now used in all physical stores on almost all products. It is on the price tag so that each garment can be tracked. From being able to take 200 hours to inventory, a store can now be inventoried in 1 hour, which makes it possible to do every week to get more accurate stock balances. The store's staff can also receive digital reminders that it's time to refill from the back warehouse and the technical tool tells you where the goods are in the store. Daniel also says that when the stock balance is almost 100% correct, it is possible to use the stores as stock hubs for online sales.
Josephine Darlington is project manager for ASTER (Alliance for sustainable e-commerce) - a Vinnova-funded initiative started in the autumn of 2021 to be a catalyst so that all e-commerce actors can jointly meet the challenges within the framework of collaborative projects. An example is a project together with Swedish Digital Trade, 10 e-retailers and 10 distributors to work out an industry agreement on "The fossil-free delivery". Do not miss when Josephine talks about the E-commerce delivery in tomorrow's sustainable city at D-Congress at the Swedish Exhibition Center on April 28.
What is required in the future to achieve the optimal customer experience?
Finally, the panel, moderated by Urban Lindstedt from the podcast E-handelstrender, looked ahead and discussed tomorrow's shopping experiences. Magnus Ohlsson, Retail strategist and advisor Retailomania, emphasized the importance of the technology adding something new to the shopping experience and that you have a basic offer at the bottom – the technology will not solve everything if you do not have something to build on. Gamification in the trade is an exciting part to keep track of with Metaverse to get more senses to interact during the purchase price.
Margareta Boström, Business Developer and Insight Manager at Jula and co-author of the book Lojalitet på riktigt, talked about that the physical store will change and become more of a back warehouse and hub for e-commerce. She mentions Amazon's clothing store, which will open near Los Angeles, Amazon Style, where you can use an app to have the garments delivered directly to the fitting room. The app should also be able to give tips on other garments that may be of interest to you. If the customer has already selected garments in advance, these are ready to try in a fitting room, as well as a selection of others that have been selected using algorithms and AI. Also in the fitting rooms, touch screens should give the customer additional tips on other garments to try, and you can ask to get more garments directly to the fitting room.
Per Ljungberg, CEO of Svensk Digital Handel, emphasized the importance of creating commitment and building a brand. The TikTok generation and live shopping build a community where both knowledgeable employees and experts mixed with customers can share their experience and where entertainment and shopping go hand in hand. Kjell & Co is a good example of a company in Sweden that has succeeded well with live video shopping.
Q-commerce with ultra-fast deliveries is being tested in several different projects around Sweden. In the report E-barometern 2021, the younger generation in particular states that they are more willing to pay extra to get a delivery quickly – already on the same day.
In conclusion, we can say that we have no experience of coming out of a pandemic, but everyone agrees that e-commerce will continue to grow and that there is still great potential to develop.
On September 13, we take the opportunity to book into the calendar when it's time for Retail Day again.