OnBuy's Cas Paton

2020 year of the eCommerce boom

Cas Paton at OnBuy discusses the unmitigated explosion in online sales over the past year and how this has cast the future of Internet shopping.

While everyone expected that eCommerce would continue to be a growing market when we were all first going into 2020, nobody could have predicted just how wild this year turned out to be. Almost overnight, navigating the world of online shopping became customers’ number one priority, while businesses of every shape and size needed to demonstrate both competence and trustworthiness at fulfilling an enormous influx of orders.

The world of eCommerce has grown far ahead of most analysts’ predictions during 2020, and the same could be said of OnBuy – we’ve grown in revenue 600% for the second consecutive year, as well as tripling our workforce and expanding worldwide. Because our success is our sellers’ success, it’s great news for everyone – as well as for customers who are searching not only for what they need, but also for what’s the most necessary ingredient in online shopping today.

Customers are completely correct in wanting to know that the businesses that they buy from are on their side. The events of 2020 have made managing our budgets more crucial than ever, and everyone wants to see their spending power move towards the retailers who deserve it most.

Consumers have no tolerance for price inflation, profiteering off the pandemic or struggling to find what they need in stock. This puts enormous pressure on the vendors and retailers who make the goods we need available, of course – especially when those same sellers can have the rug pulled out from under them when trying to do business.

OnBuy’s commitment has been empowered by 2020 to bring trustworthiness and a fair deal to the fore. We’ve worked with our seller community to connect them to logistics partners and integrations specialists able to help them meet the rising sweep of demand in consumers today – as well as adopting a zero-tolerance stance for inflated prices on the essential products we know our customers need to feel safe, secure and satisfied.

2020 has shone a spotlight onto the world of logistics as never before, inspiring those businesses already active in getting customers their products fast to scale up and get smart. At the same time, gaping holes in those frameworks that haven’t kept pace or suffered cutbacks have led to plenty of frustration, dismay and more than a few horror stories.

While customers appreciate the difficulties facing fulfilment and delivery services, they’re also relying on eCommerce for their essential goods and little luxuries alike, and this seems to be something that will continue long after the current health crisis has faded – even in territories classically seen as more wary of online shopping overall.

Having faith that goods will make their way to customers safely isn’t just a buyer’s concern, but a seller’s issue too. OnBuy’s partnerships with fulfilment specialists, including Royal Mail, have been enhanced by our partnership with CedCommerce to bring leading eCommerce integrations online for our sellers – as well as alliances with partners like DHL, SmartFreight and Huboo to specialise in fast-moving product dispatches that buyers rely on.

In an era of sweeping change, consumers have spoken in one voice when it comes to making trust their chosen commodity of 2020. They want to know that they’re putting their money towards businesses who are honest, transparent and on the level – the key factors with which OnBuy was founded in 2016.

As many of us spent this year shifting our focus back to our local communities, the appetite for supporting independent businesses with entrepreneurial spirit has never been stronger. Growing mistrust of Silicon Valley giants and corporate behemoths has led many customers to shop around, and the need to know that those companies from which people are buying are ethical is very apparent.

OnBuy is a UK-based business that doesn’t hold stock of its own, and never will. Instead, it’s a platform for eCommerce entrepreneurs to reach an audience of millions. The consistent growth in uptake for OnBuy in both customers and sellers throughout 2020 has been sensational, not least since it’s proof of the hunger in the market for an honest deal at a fair price from an independent merchant. What could be greater?

Well, how about taking that outlook worldwide? As 2020 begins to swing to a close, the changing mindsets we have all adopted could well go global – OnBuy certainly intends to, with plans to unlock the potential of 525 million product listings worldwide to become the world’s first truly global marketplace.

All this, but with trust, faith, honesty and transparency at our core – issues that, as 2020 has proven, are the biggest appeal of online shopping of all.


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