Romania’s first B2B study report on ecommerce
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought ecommerce platforms all over the world to the spotlight, demonstrating that they play a very important role both in the process of accelerating digital transformation and in adapting businesses to new generations of buyers. Through this study, VTEX Romania set out to capture the retailers’ perspective on ecommerce, as well as the challenges they faced during the pandemic. Next, you will find out what expectations Romanian merchants have from their online business, but also what they would want from the technological platforms that support it.
What it takes
The team of VTEX Romania successfully put together the first ecommerce B2B study report to have a clearer overview of the local market for digital platforms and how those were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The methodology uncovers as follows: the target contact was sent to business owners, managers, C-level personnel from all industries using ecommerce platforms. The sample size included 163 companies that currently do ecommerce and another 56 that will launch their online operation in the next 12 months. The data was collected and analyzed with the help of iSense Solutions.
Impact of COVID-19 on the Romanian digital market
Faced with declining store sales, most businesses have shifted to the online environment, which saw a significant increase in 2020. Both the results of the study and the estimates of iSense Solutions show that online sales did increase significantly in the year of the pandemic, which indicates that this was a growing trend even before the pandemic took place.
But, of course, in 2020 numbers have skyrocketed: our figures show that the ecommerce business has grown by no less than 41% compared to 2019, reaching EUR 6 billion in 2020. Promotion and marketing campaigns have been the main tactic of adapting to the market and increasing the share of online commerce, with 50% of the businesses interviewed mentioning investing in campaigns.
What are companies looking for
However, there were companies that did not want or could not take their business online, continuing to conduct their business in the same way as in the pre-pandemic period – they represent 34% of all respondents; on the other hand, 66% of companies would be willing to diversify their online offer.
From the answers to the question “how much would you be willing to invest in an ecommerce platform during the launch period?” It can be seen that, with the company’s turnover, the availability to allocate more funds for an online platform increases.
Asked how they would prefer to be charged for the implementation of their new platform, 17% of respondents said they would prefer a share of sales to a fixed amount or a traditional subscription. Asked what difficulties they currently face in conducting ecommerce, most respondents indicated fluctuations in supply and demand and delays due to courier companies, both problems often encountered during the pandemic.
Is Romania future-proof for ecommerce?
At the level of ecommerce platforms, the Romanian market is still very fragmented, with old players having less than 40% of the market, over 60% being occupied by a multitude of new or customized platforms.
Asked how satisfied customers are with the chosen platform, 60% said they were satisfied. When it comes to the reasons for satisfaction with the chosen platform, most respondents emphasized the easy management of the platform on low maintenance costs. In terms of dissatisfaction, respondents who said they were dissatisfied indicated the difficult management, lack of flexibility and scalability and ease of use as the main obstacles in adopting an ecommerce platform.
Asked about what improvements would be made to ecommerce platforms, respondents focused primarily on speed, followed by integration and ease of use. Also, when asked how they see the ecommerce platform of the future, respondents again referred to ease of use, reliability and scalability, some of the answers showing that many users still do not know what to expect from the platforms of the future. Some of the interviewees described the desired platforms, insisting on the ease of use, but also on the integration of new technologies such as systems based on AI.
VTEX looks forward to the future of ecommerce and to delivering the best results to their customers. From this study done by VTEX Romania in partnership with iSense, we understand that while people have turned to ecommerce like never before, we still have a long way to go in educating both business owners on their online potential and customers on how their preferences can be satisfied and cared for. You can find the complete study in its original language here.