In Poland, as in the rest of the world, e-commerce is constantly evolving. Whereas two years ago this evolution was being driven primarily by the impact of the pandemic, today it is being shaped more by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, other economic challenges, growth rate normalisation, and intensifying competition. Despite all these issues, e-commerce clearly has the potential for continued development. Indeed, in Poland, 38% of absolute retail sales growth from 2022 through to 2027 will be driven by online sales. At the same time, to uncover new opportunities, retailers and brands must sharpen their e-commerce strategy. At the Future Forward Summit hosted by Euromonitor International in Warsaw, we engaged in discussions with prominent industry leaders Ikea, Google, and Allegro. Our panel discussion revolved around exploring potential strategies and key areas of focus to drive the continued growth of e-commerce.
Providing a seamless experience is key
In times of inflation, consumer shopping behaviour undergoes a significant shift. People tend to conduct extensive research before committing to purchases, particularly for big-ticket items, to find the best value for money on offer.
In light of this, Polish consumers are increasingly shopping across various retail channels, blurring the lines between online and offline. This shift underscores the importance for brands and retailers to deliver a seamless experience across all customer touchpoints. Creating a seamless retail experience requires a deep understanding of customer behaviours and preferences, investments in technology and infrastructure, and a commitment to ongoing improvements. The process may include the pursuit of multichannel integration, the development of user-friendly interfaces, the provision of greater personalisation, the establishment of unified customer data and loyalty programmes, and the exploration of new ways of engaging with customers, such as the use of social media and livestreaming.
Leveraging technology is critical, but must be done with a clear rationale
In their ongoing pursuit of digitalisation, retail professionals are placing significant importance on technology investments. According to Euromonitor’s Voice of the Industry: Retail Survey, 45% of retail professionals in 2023 identified technology investments as a strategic priority as they formulate their 5-year investment plans. At the same time, there has been a great deal of hype surrounding technological advancements in the industry recently. Many retailers are adopting these technologies to stay in sync with evolving trends, but they do so with a lack of clear understanding of how these implementations will enhance their performance and operations. Every business must assess and establish a well-defined vision of how a particular technology can contribute to its profitability. Technological solutions should be purposefully integrated, aiming to enhance either front-end or back-end operations, or ideally both, rather than simply following the industry hype cycle.
Brands must explore new business models
Given the intensifying competition in the e-commerce industry and the imperative to stand out in an environment where many businesses appear similar, it has become necessary for companies to explore innovative business models. These models include direct-to-consumer, marketplaces, and retail media networks, among others.
In Poland, almost half of total e-commerce sales in 2022 were generated by marketplaces, with Allegro – a Poland-based e-marketplace platform – being the most prominent among them
Source: Euromonitor International
Even traditionally organised businesses are adapting to this shift. For instance, Decathlon, a well-known retailer, is transitioning its model from a more traditional wholesale approach to a marketplace-led one. In fact, Decathlon has launched multiple online marketplaces of its own around the world over the last few years, enabling other brands to offer their products through Decathlon's sales platforms.
Another promising avenue for growth lies in the realm of retail media networks, with 61% of brand manufacturer professionals already directing ad spending towards them
Source: Euromonitor’s Voice of the Industry: Retail Survey, 2023
One of the primary advantages of leveraging retail media is the ability to achieve enhanced consumer targeting. This capability allows brands to deliver their messages to precisely the right audience, increasing conversion and brand loyalty. Given Allegro's prominent position in the Polish market, working with its retail media network can be a game-changing decision for brands. Through highly targeted promotions, retail media offers brands and retailers the opportunity to broaden their potential audience, boost per-click revenue, and diversify the range of product categories within their consumer portfolio.
Learn more about e-commerce potential in our report, Back from the Boom: E-Commerce Opportunities Amid Uncertainty to learn how to discover and capitalise pockets of e-commerce growth, and download our on-demand webinar, Mastering E-Commerce Growth: How to Win Online Amid Uncertainty.