The future of ecommerce & online shopping in 2014
Written by Dean Ronnie, Content Marketing, Miromedia
So January is here, but what will the New Year mean for the future of ecommerce? Will 2014 finally be the much-heralded year of mobile shopping?
If the online sales figures reported by some of the world's largest retailers are anything to go by, 2014 will certainly be a pivotal year.
Mobile shopping to go mainstream
The way shoppers are purchasing goods of course continues to change too. Any retailers who have neglected to optimize their website for mobile usage will soon be left behind. And the figures show 56 percent of traffic to the John Lewis website on Christmas Eve came from mobile devices, while this rose to a massive 76 percent on Christmas Day. With around 56 percent of Canadian's being smartphone users and around 1 in 4 people owing a tablet device, it is definitely time for those who haven’t already optimized to make the move to mobile.
Read related articles in Business Review Canada
- Starbucks Canada launches Tweet-a-coffee program
- Tips for attracting and retaining new customers
- Canadian companies drawing success from Facebook
Online shopping will continue to grow and grow
Millions of people in Canada were said to have started browsing the sales early with retail experts estimating that six million transactions were processed on Christmas Day. Showing the rise and rise of ecommerce, online shopping in December broke all previous records with more than three billion visits to shopping websites taking place.
On the whole, Christmas 2013 consistently outperformed Christmas 2012 on virtually every single shopping day throughout the month.
Sales starting sooner
But what does this mean for 2014? One thing is for sure, gone are the days of traditional January sales. With the rise of mobile and tablet usage and the increasing dominance of ecommerce, retailers got wise and brought their sales forward.
2014 looks set to be a year of innovation and development. Mobile shopping emerged as a key driver of sales in 2013, something that is set to continue in 2014, though perhaps in a slightly different way.
More retailers to offer click and collect services
Shoppers want choice, but they also want things as quickly as possible. Using a mobile allows shoppers to purchase items on the go, but unlike shopping in the traditional sense, they still have to wait for their items to be delivered. This is set to change in 2014 with more and more retailers adopting click and collect. Click and collect brings retailers closer to their customer, allowing them to offer a personal and convenient service.
Also this year, expect to see retailers adopting click and collect. Unlike retailers which make you wait a day for delivery before you can collect your goods, consumers increasingly prefer to reserve goods online and collect them just an hour later in-store.
While for those with no bricks and mortar premises, expect more and more retailers to go down the ASOS route of utilising the Collect+ service. Giving customers the convenience to collect and return their online purchases at their leisure, Collect+ utilises 5500 corner shops around the country – many of which are open 7 days a week from early until late.
Faster delivery times
Click and collect won’t replace delivery entirely though, rather than having to go and collect goods themselves many customers still like the convenience of having goods delivered to them. Retailers know this and as a result of customer feedback, 2014 will see faster delivery times – the Micros Online Retail Delivery Report showed that 68 percent of retailers currently offer next day delivery, compared to 61 percent last year. 2014 could also see Sunday deliveries becoming the norm too – whilst something that is relatively unheard of but something that Amazon has now begun to trial to its Amazon Prime members. Perhaps something that many retailers will adopt this year?
Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda
New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.
According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.
And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.
Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.
Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax
Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.
According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”
Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models
Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.
Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected
in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.
"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."
Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities
Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.
At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”
Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting
Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.
Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact
Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements
Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.