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  February 21st, 2017 | Written by

Automate Global Trade Operations to Handle Ecommerce Growth

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  • Survey of supply chain professionals shows 75 percent have an online sales channel.
  • Most who don’t have existing online channels are planning to implement them in the near future.
  • 36 percent is survey experienced shipping challenges that impact strategic goals and objectives.

Retailers who are slow to adopt new online channels have suffered in slowing brick-and-mortar sales leading to store closures or bankruptcy. Innovative retailers and importers experienced a huge uptick in sales from ecommerce channels in 2016. According to a report by Adobe Digital Insights, between November 1 and December 31, online sales hit $91.7 billion, up 11 percent from $82.5 billion a year ago.

In order to provide the industry with timely information that can be leveraged to take advantage of this opportunity, American Association of Exporters & Importers (AAEI) and Amber Road launched the inaugural Benchmark Report: e-Commerce Impacts Global Trade.

“While the disruptive force ecommerce has on the economy appears most prominently in the retail sector, this latest digitalization of trade will continue to change industry trade patterns and product distribution for years to come,” explains Marianne Rowden, president and CEO, AAEI. “With growing internet penetration, a consistent customer shift from store to web shopping, and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, the growth of online shopping is massive.” Fifty-one percent of survey respondents experienced an uptick in sales through this channel.

The report draws on data from a January 2017 survey of over 250 supply chain professionals, manufacturers, shippers, logistics providers, and other related service providers. Among the results, 75 percent have an online sales channel; 65 percent of those who don’t are planning to implement them in the near future. Nearly 36 percent experienced shipping/transportation challenges that impact retailers’ ability to achieve strategic goals and objectives. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) accounted for the largest percentage of delays for imports.

Cybersecurity was the top concern for shippers, followed closely by changing global trade regulations.

Ecommerce isn’t new, but it has reached a critical mass to significantly impact global trade. According to the report, ecommerce has revolutionized business-to-consumer sales, resulting in a newly empowered consumer with higher expectations for their retail shopping experience.

“While there is clearly a large market opportunity associated with global ecommerce, there are challenges identified in the report that companies must face to create a successful ecommerce infrastructure,” says Gary Barraco, director, global product marketing at Amber Road. “To stay ahead of the ecommerce curve, companies must address primary gaps with a combination of technology, trade compliance knowledge, and automation.”