A year in eCommerce – levelling up the future of retail

Jonathan Newman, CEO, Motive
By Jonathan Newman, CEO, Motive

The eCommerce landscape has undergone a jaw-dropping transformation since the pandemic, leaving retailers of all sizes scrambling to keep up. As the CEO of Motive, an eCommerce ethical search platform, I have witnessed firsthand the remarkable changes that have engulfed the retail landscape. With the industry predicted to hit an eye-popping $6 trillion in 2023, the pressure is on to deliver unforgettable customer experiences, stand out from the crowd, and keep increasing revenues.

However, over this last year since we launched Motive, I’ve seen how difficult it is for small businesses and how they’re at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to staying at the forefront of eCommerce trends and technology. While the reasons for this may vary, it is clear that technology plays a big part and the playing field needs a serious level-up. The retail industry must give small to medium-sized businesses a fighting chance. It’s about ensuring that all players, no matter their size, have access to the tools, expertise, and funding needed to meet customer demands without sacrificing integrity.

The future of eCommerce is bursting with potential for businesses of all sizes when the scales are not tilted against them.

The shift online and the need to level-up

In the ever-evolving world of retail, there has been an undeniable shift towards eCommerce in recent years. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed retailers, both large and small, racing to establish their presence online. However, within this rapid migration, small businesses face an uphill battle in establishing and maintaining a strong eCommerce platform that matches the established presence of their larger counterparts. How can a small retailer stand out and create an outstanding online experience to compete with the giants like Amazon who invest billions each year into their eCommerce platforms? The challenges are numerous, from financial and resource limitations to a lack of staff expertise and limited access to affordable, innovative technology. It’s a playing field that tilts heavily in favour of larger players, leaving small businesses at a distinct disadvantage.

Small businesses need to feel empowered to step into the eCommerce space and comfortable that they can succeed. Barriers to entry like a lack of affordable technology that doesn’t need a large tech team to implement is a key one. Here, the responsibility lies with technology providers to create affordable, scalable solutions that small businesses can easily integrate into their eCommerce strategies. If technology providers were willing to offer big business solutions tailored to small businesses with access to support teams and more intrinsic customer insights, the eCommerce landscape could quickly become a more level playing field. Small businesses want to be able to offer the same online shopping experience as their larger counterparts and the responsibility lies with the technology providers to get them there.

Promising Future for eCommerce

The potential benefits of a level playing field in the eCommerce industry are nothing short of transformative. Small businesses, armed with better technology and more knowledgeable teams able to understand buying habits and trends to deal adeptly with changing customer demands more efficiently, can make their mark in the evolving eCommerce landscape. They can tap into the immense potential of online sales, reach wider audiences, and unlock new avenues for growth. Moreover, the industry as a whole stands to benefit from the fresh perspectives, innovation, and healthy competition that small businesses bring to the table. We love visiting small businesses on our high streets and we should enjoy the same experience online without the frustrations of not finding what we’re looking for or finding the site clunky or difficult to navigate.

What’s next?

The challenges faced by small businesses in the eCommerce industry are clear, and the need for levelling up is more pressing than ever. By providing equal opportunities and access to resources, an environment can be created that nurtures growth, innovation, and healthy competition. It is the responsibility of stakeholders in the retail sector, such as industry bodies and technology providers, to work together and ensure that all players, regardless of their size, have a fair chance to thrive. By levelling up the retail and eCommerce industry, it can transform into a vibrant and inclusive landscape where every business can flourish.


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