52% of customers with physical stores launched online stores during the pandemic

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More than half (52%) of Romanian entrepreneurs who owned physical stores launched online stores during the pandemic, believing it to be a much safer business in today’s environment, CIEL analysis shows Romania, one of the most important producers of software for entrepreneurs. The trend to add an online store to the physical store or to set up an online store is also on the rise this year, with many entrepreneurs even preferring to give up their presence in marketplaces to have their own virtual store.

In addition, in 2020, the company recorded a total annual growth of 220% of new customers for CIEL eCommerce, online inventory and order management software and for product delivery.

About half of CIEL Romania’s clients are medium-sized businesses, fashion, cosmetics, food or flower retailers, which allocate budgets of up to 1500 euros. Most of them already own a website and just need to integrate the software behind the site with the e-commerce software.

“The trend to move physical stores to the web and create virtual stores is still visible this year. The pandemic has shown us that you can buy anything online, so more and more niche stores will appear, smaller in size, both in terms of volume of products offered but also in terms of sales. It is very clear that the trend of entrepreneurs to invest more and more in efficiency through automations designed to simplify the work, provide an accurate record of inventory and ensure the fulfillment of all orders received, ”says Roxana Epure , Managing Partner CIEL Romania.

Data from CIEL Romania also shows that during the pandemic, 25% of the customers of the e-commerce solution launched their own online stores, although they did not include it in their business plan, in order not to not depend entirely on sales in the markets. Some of them say they want to completely abandon listing on marketplaces because they find it quite expensive. Being in a marketplace gives visibility to the brand, but some entrepreneurs prefer to invest more in Google or Facebook promotion and attract potential buyers directly to their own virtual store.

“The Romanian e-commerce market is experiencing the largest and fastest growing to date. The pandemic has accelerated the expansion of this market, with more online stores established between June 2020 and June 2021 than in 2019. Demand for the CIEL online store management solution has doubled during the pandemic, as many owners of physical stores have started online. stores, and existing ones recorded very high sales volumes and needed more powerful software that supports all processes, automates and simplifies the activity of inventory and order management. Although the sale is done online, there is still tedious manual work behind it and often generates errors that affect the business. In many companies, importing orders (placed by customers in the virtual store) or issuing invoices is still done manually. Also, there are still online stores where the inventory is not updated in real time: once online orders have been placed, an employee must track his number and manually update each order, and in the hundreds orders per day is almost impossible. But we note the clear tendency to invest in the automation of virtual stores, because any investment means reducing costs and customer loyalty, therefore higher sales, ”explains Roxana Epure.

If a few years ago, entrepreneurs considered that the development of their online business depended almost exclusively on marketing, product, promotion, in the pandemic they have become much more pragmatic and have understood that business development starts. of what goes on behind the online store (inventory management, automatic invoicing, automatic transfer of orders, automatic transfer of orders to management, etc.), continues with the customer’s purchase process and ends with after-service -sale.

In recent years, data from CIEL Romania shows that more and more entrepreneurs in the field of e-commerce request the addition of new features in e-commerce software in order to manage inventory, orders and process more efficiently. purchase. So, in the pandemic, the demand for software improvements has increased by 30%. In particular, customers request modifications to the software to shorten the time allowed for the completion of the order, respectively to simplify the ordering and payment procedure.

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