CouriersPlease has conducted research that reveals up to 90 percent of Australian online retailers are expecting no sales revenue growth in 2023.
E-Commerce Under Pressure: A Survey of the Biggest Challenges Facing Online Retailers Today reveals the results of a survey conducted by CouriersPlease that asked over 200 online retailers about their concerns with the current economic climate and the challenges they are facing.
Challenges identified by the respondents to varying degrees of concern were: staff shortages, staff retention, customer acquisition, customer retention, competitor activity, cash flow availability, paying back business loans, overhead costs, cyber security threats, and technology advances.
Cash flow availability was flagged as the top concern for online retailers with 36 percent of respondents concerned over the matter, followed by customer retention (33 percent), and overhead costs (29 percent). Less than 10 percent of respondents said they weren’t concerned by any of the challenges listed above.
90 percent of Australian ecommerce businesses are expecting no sales revenue growth this year.
When asked if they were expecting their business to be financially squeezed this year, 50 percent of respondents said yes.
SMEs have the bleakest outlook with 57 percent expecting a sales drop, 50 percent of microbusiness (1-15 employees) expecting the same, and even larger businesses (200+ employees) in the same boat with 46 percent echoing the sentiment.
Cashflow availability is the biggest concern for businesses with 40 percent of respondents concerned over the matter.
For larger SMEs, the dominant concerns were equally weighted between cash flow availability and overhead costs 36 percent. This contrasted with larger businesses who were concerned about staff shortages, staff retention, competitor activity, cashflow availability and overhead costs.
When asked about sales revenue estimates, online retailers in Victoria were most pessimistic with 57 per cent expecting sales revenue to decrease in 2023.
“While the economic outlook is uncertain, I have no doubt that the E-Commerce sector will overcome the challenging environment and emerge ever stronger on the other side,” said Richard Thame, CEO at CouriersPlease. “As one of Australia’s leading parcel delivery services, we ship and deliver every day from across a network of over 1200 franchisees and contractors. In 2022 we delivered more than 30 million parcels, an increase of two million when compared with 2021. Both years were fraught with their own economic challenges, but as our records show, online retailers managed to adapt and strategise to secure sales.”
“The data reveals online retailers are facing a varying number of significant challenges and that there isn’t one universal issue affecting all businesses,” said Richard of CouriersPlease. “Concerns such as cash flow constraints and the ultra-competitive labour market can’t be resolved overnight, but by keeping the customer experience at the heart of their business journey, such as providing convenient delivery options or offering loyalty incentives, online retailers can mitigate avoidable revenue loss.”
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