52% of customers with physical stores have launched online stores during pandemic

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 25/08/2021 | 16:32

More than half (52%) of the Romanian entrepreneurs who owned physical stores launched online stores during the pandemic, considering that it is a much safer business in the current context, shows an analysis of CIEL Romania, one of the most important software producers for entrepreneurs. The trend of adding an online store to the physical one or creating an eshop is an upward one this year as well, many of the entrepreneurs even preferring to give up their presence in the marketplaces in order to have their own virtual store.

 

In addition, in 2020, the company recorded a total annual growth of 220% of new customers for CIEL eCommerce, software for managing stocks and online orders and for the delivery of products.

About half CIEL Romania’s customers are medium-sized companies, fashion, cosmetics, food, or flowers retailers, which allocate budgets of up to 1500 euros. Most of them already own a website and just need to integrate the software behind the site with the e-commerce software.

“The trend of moving physical stores to online and creating virtual stores is still visible this year. The pandemic has shown us that we can buy anything online, so more and more niche stores will appear, smaller, both in terms of the volume of products offered but also in terms of sales. It is very clear the tendency of entrepreneurs to invest more and more in efficiency through automations designed to simplify work, to provide an accurate record of stocks and to ensure the fulfillment of all orders received”, says Roxana Epure, Managing Partner CIEL Romania.

Building a website is essential for businesses and creating one is now easier than ever, thanks to user-friendly platforms that are very accessible, even for beginners.

CIEL Romania data also shows that in the pandemic 25% of the customers of the ecommerce solution launched their own online stores, although they did not have this in their business plan, in order not to depend entirely on selling through marketplaces. Some of them claim that they want to completely abandon listing in marketplaces because they find it quite expensive. Being in a marketplace gives visibility to the brand, but some entrepreneurs prefer to invest more in Google or Facebook promotion and attract potential shoppers directly to their own virtual store.

“The Romanian ecommerce market is experiencing the biggest and fastest growth so far. The pandemic has accelerated the expansion of this market, with more online stores being created between June 2020 and June 2021 than in 2019. The demand for the CIEL solution for managing online stores has doubled in the pandemic, because many physical store owners have launched online stores, and the existing ones have registered very high volumes of sales and have needed a more powerful software that supports all processes, automates and simplifies the activity of inventory and order management. Although the sale takes place online, there is still time-consuming manual work behind it and often generates mistakes that affect the business. In many businesses importing orders (made by customers in the virtual store) or issuing invoices to them are still done manually. Also, there are still online stores where the updating of stocks is not done in real time: once online orders are placed, an employee has to track their number and manually update each order, and at hundreds of orders per day this is almost impossible. But we note the clear trend of investing in automation for virtual stores, because any investment means reducing costs and customer loyalty, so higher sales,” says Roxana Epure.

If a few years ago, entrepreneurs considered that the development of their online business depends almost exclusively on marketing, product, promotion, in the pandemic they have become much more pragmatic and have realized that business development starts from what happens behind the online store (inventory management, automatic invoicing, automatic order transfer, automatic order transfer in management, etc.), continues with the customer’s buying process and ends with after-sales service.

In recent years, CIEL Romania data shows, more and more entrepreneurs in the e-commerce area are requesting the addition of new functionalities in the ecommerce software in order to manage more efficiently the stocks, orders and the purchase process. Thus, in the pandemic, the demand for improvements in software increased by 30%. In particular, customers ask for changes in the software to shorten the time allocated for completing the order, respectively to simplify the procedure of placing the order and making the payment.

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