The rise of e-commerce has inevitable importance as companies branch out across the world and buying focus begins to change from traditional brick and mortar establishments to online marketplaces. In this blog we will explore major global companies that, through recognizing e-commerce as a vital tool, have thrived through its use and development.
In March of 1997, and again in May of 2016, the US Federal Trade Commission blocked the merger of office supply giants Staples and Office Depot. Although the FTC took these actions to prevent them from monopolizing the office supply market, their true competitor is not a brick-and-mortar retailer but Amazon, the e-commerce behemoth. Like many other companies in this new era of online shopping, these office supply superstores have had to adapt to survive.
The vast majority of retail sales still occur in stores. According to market research firm eMarketer, e-commerce sales accounted for less than 8% of transactions worldwide in 2015. However, some industries have been more affected than others. Staples was founded in 1986, and for much of its history it was focused on its brick-and-mortar retail presence. Less well-known is the fact that e-commerce sales accounted for 55.5% of its annual sales in 2015, the majority of which came from business-to-business (B2B) sales. In fact, with US$10.7 billion in e-commerce sales (including B2B sales), Staples was ranked the fourth largest e-commerce retailer in the US. Its success in this sector has not gone unnoticed by Amazon, which has made its own forays into B2B e-commerce with AmazonSupply and its successor, Amazon Business. To remain competitive, Staples has doubled down on its customer-centered approach by updating its online user experience and broadening its e-commerce offerings. Staples’ CEO has stated that its “expertise” and “reputation for providing the products business customers need” will help it survive even as its traditional sales decline.
Of course, succeeding in the global marketplace requires more than a just well-designed website. Any firm that wants to sell internationally must ensure that its products, and the services it offers, are properly localized. This has led to a virtual explosion in the translation and localization industry, as companies need to adapt their products and documentation if they are to survive in the global e-commerce marketplace. According to the Globalization & Localization Association (GALA), localization is estimated to be a US$40 billion industry in 2016, and it has been reported to be the 4th fastest growing industry in the US.
Like Staples, we at CSOFT see the customer experience as central to our success. For over ten years, it has been our mission to harmonize language and technology, and to help our clients better meet the needs of their own customers. The growth of e-commerce has helped fuel the growth of the localization industry – and our growth in turn – by driving home the critical importance of effective communication.
Written by Samuel Rosenberg – Technical Writer at CSOFT International