The Retail Revolutions report by international real estate adviser Savills published in June shows how retail stores are being turned into showrooms, where products are not stored but put out for customers to see.
“The line between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retailing is growing increasingly blurred,” Marta Mikołajczyk-Pyrć, Head of Retail Property Management at Savills, said. “The shopping experience has become longer with several pre-purchase activities, both online and offline, affecting consumer decisions. There is no escape from digitization. Multi-channel retailing is not a thing of the future, it is a process that is already taking place.”
Another trend on the rise on the retail market is the use of store space for various events. On the Polish market, dominated by shopping centers, common areas serve the purpose. Such use of physical stores indicates that they offer additional shopping experience to drive sales, irrespective of the channel in which the actual purchase takes place.
Also in Poland, mobile apps provided by retailers are moving up in popularity. Essentially, they keep customers updated on products offered and current promotions while returning customers can earn points. Such solutions have already been put in place by health and beauty retailer Rossmann and H&M fashion stores, while hypermarket retailer Carrefour is offering virtual fitting rooms and an electronic sommelier advising shoppers on their choice of wine in the Posnania shopping centre. This is evidence of ongoing digitization of the in-store experience by both retailers and shopping center owners.
“In Poland, modern solutions for customers are being implemented primarily by property managers,” Mikołajczyk-Pyrć said. On the Polish market, in addition to hosting events in common areas, shopping center owners are introducing their own mobile apps and beacons on an ever larger scale. These technologies provide valuable statistics helping improve sales and enhancing comfort and the shopping experience,” she concluded.
The eCommerce market in Romania will be worth about EUR2.5bn this year and could double by 2020, the Romanian Association of Online Stores (AMRO) said.
Out of the 28 members states of EU, Romania is in last place in terms of digitalization and progress has been slow, but AMRO noted that Romania has good growth perspectives, as indicated in an EU intermediary report on the digital sector, published recently by the European Commission.
In the DESI report 2017, Romania is one of the countries with low performance, together with Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Poland, Cyprus, Hungary and Slovakia. On the other hand, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Netherlands are the most advanced digital economies from EU.
Romania has the highest share of internet subscriptions from the EU and the mobile services on broadband is growing. Although Romanians use social media and video calls, they are reluctant regarding the online transactions, registering one of the lowest EU levels on online shopping and online banking services, according to the report. Only 56 per cent of Romanians use the internet on a regular basis.
“Online commerce can develop on a digital solid infrastructure and having a population with good digital skills. The good news is that we have favorable growth perspectives in both directions, which enables us to anticipate a doubling of the online commerce until 2020,” said Florinel Chis, executive director of AMRO.
The report focuses on the progress registered by the member states in digitalization, combining quantitative data supplied by Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) and qualitative data on the specific policies of each country.
Hungary’s online retail trade generated EUR1.4bn in turnover in 2016, more than 5 per cent of the total national retail trade volume, according to a recent report by eNET Internet Research based on responses from web stores. The online retail (e-tail) sector grew in 2016 and is expected to continue growing its share of the total domestic retail trade, the report said.
The most popular product categories were IT and entertainment electronics, clothes, toys/gifts, and household machinery/white goods, according to the eNET research. Additionally to the size of the market, cart values also grew, according to eNET data. Online shoppers spent an average EUR42.18 in online purchases last year, EUR5.52 more than in 2015.
Hungarian web shops primarily offered cash payment on delivery, bank transfer or cash payment on site as payment options in 2016, eNET data reveal. Although a 25 basis-point expansion was seen in bank card payment on delivery, cash payment on delivery remains the most popular option in terms of both the number and value of orders.
According to eNET, the recent e-tail boom indicates that Hungarians have grown accustomed to this buying method. The number of online shoppers purchasing goods from domestic online shops grew by 600,000 in 2016 from just above 4 million in 2015. The number of shoppers ordering goods from foreign online stores also grew from 1.5 million in 2015 to 2.2 million in 2016.