Experts are warning China’s recent string of tight lockdown restrictions are about to send another shock through global supply chains—possibly worse than Wuhan’s lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic. China’s President has not budged on his “zero-Covid approach,” which has many residents in tight lockdown conditions and desperate for food and basics.
While ports remain open and full of trucks struggling to unload cargo, shipping containers continue to stack due to strict permit regulations that prevent workers from leaving home to work if there’s even just one positive case in their high-rise home.
In many cases, Shanghai’s port is running out of capacity for many types of cargo as importers cannot collect their goods and with the recent outbreak in Guangzhou, export volumes out of China will begin to increase drastically.
This is disappointing and frustrating for eCommerce businesses trying to get products to American consumers, given that it imports more goods from China than anywhere else in the world. Once lockdowns end (or more likely just lessen), there will be an “overwhelming movement of goods that cripples supply chains” similar to the last reopening in 2021.
So, what’s ahead and how do you plan accordingly?
Landscape is More Competitive
According to a recent industry report, eCommerce will account for 20.4% of global retail sales by the end of 2022— up from only 10% five years ago – confirming the eCommerce space is becoming more crowded. Covid definitely helped to expedite this shift, but the race to gain customers’ attention through online advertising propelled it as well.
Recent changes to Apple’s privacy updates in iOS 14.5 now prohibit cross-app data sharing unless users opt-in, halting this gravy train of constant lead generation and impressions drastically. Ramifications from this shift have been felt immediately across Instagram and Facebook advertising platforms and are much less effective for digital ads, shifting eCommerce businesses to focus more on newer advertising channels like TikTok and Snapchat.
With market saturation from the influx of new eCommerce businesses and less effective marketing channels, customer retention is another way to reduce customer acquisition costs. Creating and implementing a differentiated customer experience has never bene more critical for eCommerce businesses before, as many seek options other than large-scale retailers with empty shelves and out of stock inventories online.
As businesses continue to see impacts of lockdowns throughout the world, it is important to continue to expand into new markets and provide products to and purchase products from areas of the world that are untapped and open.
A recent survey showed that 76% of online shoppers have made purchases on a site outside their own countries, a shift that is likely due to continued supply chain issues with major retailers. Consumers are tired of empty shelves and out of stock options online, so they are going directly to eCommerce business sites to purchase goods—making marketing and the need for automation of backend fulfillment and shipment absolutely critical without the support and lead of larger retailer processes. Cross-borders business will also require adjustments to eCommerce business operations as governments seek to protect shoppers and online retailers from fraud.
There has never been a more critical need to shift to automation as there is now. Little to no room for error and a steep increase in competitors offering identical or closely similar products requires efficiencies in an economy where supply chains are halted and consumers want their products.
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As complications continue to arise around the world and supply chain issues continue to grow, it is time to enhance your systems through automation with OPAL to keep up with this competitive industry.
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