eCommerce Trends

It’s understood that the future of eCommerce is one of exponential growth. Purchasing goods and services online has quickly become the norm. It’s predicted that by 2021, over 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online, up from 1.79 billion global digital buyers in 2018. Questions about going global should no longer be in regards to when, but how.

2019 Logistics Trends - 1 - Digital Buyers Worldwide
“Number of digital buyers worldwide from 2014 to 2021 (in billions)”. Digital Buyers Worldwide 2021, Statista, 2019,

Grow Your Multi-Channel Operations

Customers are increasingly viewing a brand’s digital and physical marketplaces through a single lens, in turn pushing brands to better optimize their omnichannel approach. In order to effectively promote and sell anywhere your customers want to buy, a merchant must cultivate a universal customer experience across marketplaces, geographies, social media platforms, etc.

When looking at the global marketplace, the opportunities to grow your sales channels are massive by introducing your product via localized marketplace expansions.

“Biggest Online Marketplaces For Your Ecommerce Business”. A Complete List of Online Marketplaces Across The Globe, Linnworks, 2019,

On average, we see merchants listed in the following major marketplaces, ship to 3+ global audiences; emphasizing the importance in implementing your cross-border strategy and in turn, empowering your global growth.

eCommerce Platform
Average number of countries


The largest benefit of a merchant scaling their multi-channel network is increasing accessibility to new customers and growing brand recognition globally; this consequently reduces risk by providing diversified revenue streams. With that being said, the key to omnichannel success is a dynamic cross-border logistic strategy and integrated inventory management system to support scale.

2019 Logistics Trends - Marketplaces

The Rise of SME's

Small businesses are savvier today than ever before, and with that, recognizing that they are a very time poor audience is key.

We saw a 48% increase in the average amount of shipments our SME merchants did in 2018, versus 2017.

It is now more important than ever that merchants are where their customers are, both online and off, so they can continue to grow.


Tips for eCommerce Store Growth

1. Stay on top of your digital marketing efforts. Online and brick-and-mortar stores going omnichannel has become the standard, making eCommerce more competitive than ever.

Focus on SEO. As the paid marketing landscape becomes more competitive and expensive, do your business a favor by focusing on organic search. By doing keyword research, optimizing your product categories and product pages, investing in a blog - you can increase your direct traffic, customer efficiency and save money on paid marketing efforts.

Social media matters. Your digital presence is an extension of your product. It’s your voice, and in turn, your brand. Maintaining your social media platforms has effectively become a requirement of managing a healthy business. At the baseline, your engagement on channels like Facebook or Twitter helps your build awareness and create conversations with your potential buyers, while also allowing your products to stay top of mind amongst relevant tastemakers.

Diminishing returns on influencer marketing. Parallel to managing a lively social presence, there should also be a focus on authentic marketing. Your customers will continue to be overly saturated within their digital experience – your job is to no longer find the voice with the most followers to promote your product, but instead your most real voice. Customers are looking for “real” experiences and voices; hype-selling only works in the short term, but has a negative effect in long-term brand loyalty.

Get smart on paid marketing. As the eCommerce space continues to grow, the paid marketing space will continue to innovate and grow. It’s your job as a business owner to invest only once you’re set up for success. Set up your website analytics, conversion goals, and test, test, test! There is no one-way approach to success; instead, start small and have variants. Test one channel at a time, vary your creative assets, and try new paid ad types to generate leads; remember, if something doesn’t generate returns right away - it’s not a failure, try something new!

Don’t ignore email marketing. When done right, email marketing can increase engagement with your audience and drive sales. It is one of the most cost-effective and powerful tools at your disposal. It can drive sales, build your customer base, and, ultimately, improve your cash flow via an extremely personalized and targeting approach.

2. Exceptional customer service is key to eCommerce growth. As the internet continues to be the chosen place for people to buy, there is an increasing requirement for exceptional customer service, to improve check-out flow, and maintain retention.

Create a personalized experience for your customers. Shoppers expect a personalized experience throughout their journey. This can include having an account of their past purchases, check-out information, and offering a selection of similar items for future purchases. One way to do this is integrating your eCommerce store with Easyship for all-in-one inventory syncing, shipment information, and order history.

Live chat with your customers. Today’s market expects instant gratification; thus, having a live chat enables a customer to get their answers ASAP. Live chat can address customer concerns, provide a great experience, and result in profitable sales.

Connect with customers and help resolve issues through social media. One of the most asked for improvements in customer service are increased and easier ways to contact customer service. When done right, successful interactions on social media can be amplified and result in positive peer-to-peer recommendations. Using a social customer service solution such as Zendesk or Hootsuite can help you manage and prioritize interactions on all platforms.

Investment in guided solutions. Your customers are intelligent, and more often than not, are happy to self-serve; consequently, through an extensive knowledge base you can reduce the amount of queries to your customer service agents and improve resolution rates. Support pages also have the potential to become a top search result if the content proves to be extremely relevant.

3. Develop a strategic shipping policy. Your shipping solution can make or break your sale, and is your first point of interaction for your product and your end consumer. It’s growing increasingly important to deliver happiness with a strong shipping strategy.

Your best shipping solution varies by customer. By working with multiple couriers and offering a variety of shipping solutions at checkout, you can meet and exceed expectations by giving customers more flexibility on their delivery options, ranging from cheapest, to fastest, to best valued. It can also help you appeal to a wider variety of customers who have different delivery needs.

Fulfill from warehouses that are close to your customers. Amazon has set a new shipping precedent around 2-day shipping. Make your store competitive by leveraging well-located warehouses to lower shipping costs and shorten delivery times – both domestically and cross-border.

Offer simple return policies. One of the leading concerns customers have is the difficulty of returning a product, so it’s critical to have a simple, easy to understand shipping policy in place. Luckily enough, Easyship has created a simple tool to help you create your custom policy. Check out our shipping policy generator and be sure you promote your policy on your homepage and product listings.


The Increasing Role of Shipping in Consumer Marketing

Shipping seems complex and expensive when you’re not familiar with it. Easyship was developed to demystify your business’s approach and serve as a strategic partner, simplifying and streamlining your customer’s inbox to mailbox experience – and empowering your cross-border marketplace. 


Here’s how to grow your business with your shipping strategy:

  1. Have multiple shipping solutions at checkout. On average, we saw merchants offer at least 2 different shipping solutions at checkout. Having multiple shipping solutions allow merchants to provide customers flexibility in delivery, thus, encouraging customer retention.

    In 2018, the most popular SME shipping solutions on our platform turned out to be postal solutions, including: USPS First Class, Hong Kong Post e-Express, and USPS Priority Mail. The popularity of postal solutions suggest that customers remain cost conscious about shipping, thus requiring less speedy delivery times.

  2. Offer free shipping responsibly to protect your margins. There are a lot of alluring statistics that claim free shipping will help increase sales. However, for many SME’s, it’s simply not possible to pay for every customer’s shipping costs without it negatively impacting margins. Instead, try offering free shipping when customers are in purchase mode (for example, during peak season or after a specific minimum spend) which helps you cover the cost of shipping.

    Fact: Only 2% of our sellers offered free international shipping.

  3. Tracking is a must. Continue building trust with customers by choosing a shipping solution that provides end-to-end tracking for your shipments. This allows customers to closely monitor their parcel, keeping requests to merchants about delivery to a minimum. Additionally, frequent tracking can help reduce the risk of loss for parcels.

    The majority of our merchants understood this, as they shipped with solutions that offered some type of tracking.

    Fact: 61% of our merchants shipped with solutions that offer regular or frequent tracking updates.

Tracking options our merchants used in 2018

In 2018, less than .01% of our merchants offered no tracking on their packages. Easyship helps automates the tracking process by allowing merchants to automatically send tracking emails to their customers once their items are sent for delivery.

Additionally, we provide branding opportunities by allowing merchants to personalize both their tracking emails and tracking pages with their company logo, customer service contact information, promotional messages, and their social media handles.

2019 Logistics Trends - Tracking Options

Going Global Trends

Crowdfunding backers are a global audience!

The crowdfunding industry continues to make it easier than ever for makers to bring their ideas to market. The World Bank estimates that by 2025 the global crowdfunding industry will be worth the upwards of $95 billion. As inventors and techies keep their eye on the coming year, it’s important to set yourself up for success from the very beginning. Of the fully-funded crowdfunding campaigns we worked with in 2018, on average they had backers from 15+ countries.

Set yourself up with global fulfillment to get your product and rewards to your backers!

Top Destination Countries for Cross-Border Shipping

35% of the shipments we processed in 2018 were international shipments.

2019 Logistics Trends - Shipment Breakdown

As you begin to expand into eCommerce business, expanding your borders is your next logical step. Below are our merchants’ top destination markets by origin.


Our merchants’ average order value of an international sale was $100 in 2018, making it 10% higher compared to an average domestic sale, according to Statista.


Top Destination Countries from the United States:
United Kingdom
New Zealand
Top Destination Cities within the United States:
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco, CA
Chicago, IL
Brooklyn, NY
San Diego, CA
Houston, TX
Miami, FL
Seattle, WA
Austin, TX
Top Destination Countries from Hong Kong:
United States
United Kingdom
Top Destination countries from Singapore:
United States
United Kingdom
Hong Kong
According to our data, mature eCommerce markets were the most receptive to cross-border eCommerce. Our top destination countries overall included: The United States, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia & Canada with the highest import growth to Hong Kong, at 226%! Notably, Germany saw high import volume, growing by 133%, in technology and health products.
Country Growth percentage 
Hong Kong 226%
Canada 206%
United Kingdom 155%
Germany 133%

The table above shows the increase in the number of shipments we processed to the destination country from 2017.

How Sellers Handled Tax and Duty

The majority of shipments on our platform with duty applied were delivered with duties unpaid.

Depending on the destination country, choosing between delivering duties unpaid versus duties pre-paid can make a huge difference in delivery lead times. For example, countries like the United States, Hong Kong, and Singapore have high tax and duty thresholds, making shipments to these destinations less prone to having issues on clearance - even when the parcel does have a higher value than the threshold.

However, if a country has a low duty and tax threshold, choosing delivery with duties unpaid can increase processing times by as much as 20%. This is because the customs department would have to contact and wait for the recipient to settle payment before releasing the shipment for final delivery.

If you are shipping to a country where recipients will most likely have to settle duty and tax payments, we recommend pre-paying duties. By collecting funds directly from the customer at checkout, they would no longer need to be bothered by customs for payment and the shipment will pass through customs quicker, resulting in a smoother delivery experience and a shorter delivery time frame.

Delivery times can be reduced by as much as 20%* when choosing pre-pay duties and taxes for the following destinations:

United Kingdom
European Union

*Dependent on shipping service provider.

The Risk of Returns

Unfortunately, international shipping isn’t perfect and issues will arise. Our data shows that certain European destinations were more likely to have shipments that are returned to the sender.

High Risk Countries for Returns
Portugal: 7.38%
Greece: 6.20%
Russian Federation: 4.10%
Brazil: 3.98%
Slovenia: 3.70%
Qatar: 3.57%
Italy: 2.76%
Denmark: 2.63%
Spain: 2.58%
Ghana: 2.44%

Tips on avoiding failed deliveries

  • Use an address verification system (AVS) at checkout. An AVS is designed to accurately check a customer’s address as they enter it to ensure it matches with their registered address for major shipping couriers. This will effectively reduce the chances of failed deliveries due to typos or other human errors.

  • Choose shipping solutions that offer multiple delivery attempts. While some couriers may charge additional fees for delivery attempts, it’s a lot cheaper than having to process a return back to the origin country - especially for international destinations where duty and tax will apply.

  • Consider adding insurance to shipments. Insuring your shipment doesn’t cost much (it can be as low as 3% of your declared value) and can easily be done when you’re paying for shipping. You can even automate this by setting up a shipping rule to add insurance for certain destination countries.

  • Make sure you have the correct details of the receiver. By having important contact information such as an email address or local phone number, receivers can be reached in case there is an issue with their shipment.

Return Rates for High Volume Destinations

While our most shipped to destinations did experience some returns, percentages remained below 1%. This suggests that these developed eCommerce markets have the basic infrastructure needed to support the influx of orders that are processed every day.

Return Rates for High Volume Destinations
United States: 0.06%
Canada: 0.67%
Australia: 0.25%
United Kingdom: 0.40%
Germany: 0.93%
Singapore: 0.68%
Hong Kong: 0.34%
New Zealand: 0.12%
France: 0.89%
Norway: 0.63%

Trends To Watch

Looking at our logistics crystal ball, we predict the following:

  • More SME’s will offer same-day and next day delivery to remain competitive. While it may not be possible for SME’s to offer free 2-day shipping, one way they can still provide value in this space is by offering a paid shipping solution that delivers within one day. Easyship recognizes this demand and has partnered with DHL Parcel Metro in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles to provide sellers in this regions same and next-day  local-to-local delivery at affordable prices.

  • Express couriers will have to compete with the postal service for eCommerce share. We predict USPS parcel volumes will rise due to the popularity of eCommerce, the demand for affordable shipping, and the government mandate that they must deliver to every postal address within the United States. If they can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em - express couriers like UPS, DHL, FedEx are already working with USPS for improved last-mile services.

  • Average Order Value will continue to rise in order to offset rising shipping costs. Many couriers have announced that their prices will increase in 2019. We predict sellers will have no choice but to increase AOV in order to protect margins.

  • AI, IoT, and big data analytics will continue to transform the centuries-old logistics industry. Additionally, other technologies such as blockchain can allow teams to be leaner, ship smarter, and grow organizational efficiency for 2019.

  • The US-China Trade War will encourage SME’s to shift their fulfillment hubs to ports like Hong Kong. With potential tariffs possibly increasing costs on many different consumer goods manufactured in China, American small and medium sized business will be looking for alternative places to manufacture and/or export their goods. We advise that SME’s can still keep their manufacturing in China, but instead should fulfill their shipments from a free port like Hong Kong, as setting up delivery from the factory to the warehouse is manageable, and there are no additional import taxes when shipping from Hong Kong.

  • A no-deal Brexit will negatively impact eCommerce in the UK.  EU member states currently make up 45% of British exports. Depending on the outcome of Brexit, slower delivery times and higher costs from new tariffs would discourage EU citizens from buying British goods. Additionally, UK consumers would have to pay additional tariffs on products coming in EU countries, most likely encouraging them to buy local and in turn, affecting global eCommerce.

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