Ecommerce News

EMEA: Fulfillment Tech Keeps eCommerce Moving

Having risen steadily for years, eCommerce growth experienced a marked acceleration during the COVID-19 pandemic. This week in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, there are signs that growth in the eCommerce sector is beginning to slow.

As research carried out by Mastercard and the International Monetary Fund discovered, the online share of total spending globally rose sharply from 10.3 percent in 2019 to 14.9% at the peak of the pandemic. But the data also suggests that by mid-2021, that figure had fallen to 12.2%.

Looking at that study and others, in 2022 it appears that although the pandemic spike seems to have permanently increased the total share of sales that are made online, the growth rate itself has normalized.

In fact, in some parts of the world, that growth rate may be in decline.

For example, this week the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) put a 40% YoY increase in retail business closures during Q2 2022 down to a wave of eCommerce dropouts, adding that “these closures follow significant increases in creations during the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021.”

Read more: Wave of eCommerce Flops Behind Record 113,700 UK Business Closures in Q2

Of course, part of the U.K.’s slowdown in eCommerce activity is driven by a general decline in retail sales currently being experienced across Europe. Over the border in Ireland, the Central Statistics Office on Thursday (July 28) revealed that across the board, retail sales in June were down 6.4% compared to last year.

EMEA Tech Firms Deliver eCommerce Fulfilment Solutions

Yet the picture is not all one of stagnation or decline. Elsewhere in the world, challenging economic conditions are being met with technological solutions to buoy the eCommerce sector.

Nigerian startup Kwik this week launched KwikStore, a free online storefront builder that helps businesses design and manage eCommerce stores.

Read on: B2B Logistics Firm Kwik Launches eCommerce Storefront

KwikStore is the latest addition to the Kwik platform, which is increasingly positioning itself as a one-stop shop for Nigerian online businesses. Having started out as an order fulfillment solution that connects retailers to delivery partners, Kwik has added a range of features including payments integration and the new store builder in an effort to make eCommerce more inclusive.

As part of that mission, Kwik has developed its solutions with an emphasis on ease of use and mobile accessibility, recognizing that a mobile-first approach can help deliver eCommerce tools to a greater range of Nigerian businesses.

Whether it’s merchant fulfillment, third-party fulfillment, or drop shipping, technologies that streamline and digitize the order fulfillment process are on the rise the world over and helping to drive the eCommerce sector forward even as consumer demand weakens.

In Lithuania for example, the Baltic Times reported on Tuesday that the need for e-fulfillment services is growing by about 40% to 50% every year. Stepping up to meet that demand, the Estonian e-fulfillment platform Venipak is helping Baltic businesses tap into an increasingly international online retail market by opening distribution centers in neighboring countries like Poland.

Related: Market Forces Driving Down Fees as eCommerce Becomes Increasingly International

Meanwhile, ahead of its launch in August, U.A.E.-based startup recently invited suppliers and sellers to register their companies and list their products on its online quick commerce platform.

Businesses that join the new digital marketplace will be able to outsource fulfillment to Veppy, which has its sights set on a three-hour or less turnaround time between customers placing an order and receiving their item.

While the viability of certain q-commerce business models may be under international scrutiny, as PYMNTS recently reported, in the Middle East and North Africa at least, the sector continues to thrive and innovate.

Read more: MENA Food Delivery Service Bucks Global Downward Trend as Europe Business Retreats

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About: The findings in PYMNTS’ new study, “The Super App Shift: How Consumers Want To Save, Shop And Spend In The Connected Economy,” a collaboration with PayPal, analyzed the responses from 9,904 consumers in Australia, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. and showed strong demand for a single multifunctional super apps rather than using dozens of individuals ones.

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