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HOW HAS THE INDUSTRY ADAPTED TO THE GROWTH IN ONLINE COMMERCE? In a year where most of us had to move our professional and personal lives online due to multiple lockdowns and social distancing, we speak to the industry about how this shift looked in their businesses


and their ability to handle online orders, reducing the


need for staffed customer service teams.

In 2020, COVID changed

We saw new channels open. B2B2E – Business 2

everything. It touched the

Business 2 Employee; home workers requiring supplies

way we work, and where we

to facilitate home working - ordered through their

work; it stopped us working

normal business supplies provider, but delivered direct

and it caused more work. Data

to the employee’s home.

suggests that online retailing

From a capability perspective the industry is already

increased by 46.1% in 2020, the highest year-on-year

well-positioned to handle online orders; the biggest

increase since 2008.

challenge to overcome is around the quality of data/

According to the Office for National Statistics, in

content and imagery available to populate their web

Quarter 4, immediately prior to lockdown two, 38% of

stores with. Crucially for consideration is also how any

the UK population worked from home. The impact on

orders will be fulfilled/delivered to the point of need.

our industry varied significantly by region, with London

Today, data/content/imagery is probably adequate

reporting rates as high as 59% of the population

for transactional business - i.e., existing customers

working from home; this change in where we work

simply using the web store as a convenient method to

left offices empty, and often closed, particularly in the

order and re-order what they consume. Where this is


challenged is around consumers using the web stores

Many resellers were able to take advantage of government support and dramatically reduce resource; they were able to capitalise on previous investments,

[18] MARCH 2021


to browse, primarily because they do not always know exactly what they want - or in fact need - to purchase. Let’s take the situation over the last 12 months,

Profile for Intelligent Media Solutions

Dealer Support March 2021