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BizReport : Ecommerce : February 19, 2021

Report: US imports up 8% for 2020

The coronavirus pandemic may have slowed shipping throughout much of 2020 but it didn't slow shoppers' demand as is evidenced by new data out from the National Retail Federation. According to their report, retail imports in the US were up 22% (YoY) for 2020. This, as ecommerce also skyrocketed.

by Kristina Knight

NRF reports that November-December shopping numbers topped the $789 billion mark, an 8% YoY increase. US ports handing 2.11 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU) for December), and 22 TEU for the year. Prior to 2020, the TEU record was 21.8 million, set in 2018.

"The import numbers we're seeing reflect retailers' expectations for consumer demand to the point that many factories in Asia that normally close for Chinese New Year this month are remaining open to keep up," NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. "Regardless of whether it's in-store or on retailers' websites, the record holiday season and numbers for 2020 show consumers are buying again and have been for a while. This surge has been going on for months, and retailers are importing merchandise faster than ever."

The NRF offers US port tracking through it's website hub here.

This increase in ecommerce, and the influx of imports to the US has many merchants wondering just how to connect. And new data from Braze could help - according to their new 2021 Global Customer Engagement Review multi-channel is where more brands engage their customer base.

Researchers found that campaigns and messages sent across various channels had 58% higher retention rates than single-channel messages and a 4x increase in the lifetime value of that customer.

"Through the tumultuous environment of the last year, the leading factor that separated the brands that merely survived from those that thrived was the ability to nurture and strengthen their customer relationships through contextualized engagement," said Bill Magnuson, Cofounder and CEO of Braze. "We now have the data to back up what we always knew intuitively-that excellent customer engagement directly results in higher customer lifetime value and lower acquisition costs, driving efficient and durable business growth."

More data from Braze's report can be accessed here.

Meanwhile, according to new data out from SOTI about half of consumers say a single bad digital experience changes their trust in a brand and half expect BOPIS options should be same-day. As to what makes consumers happy - fast shipping and delivery times. Nearly 30% of shoppers polled say they choose merchants based on shipping speeds and 45% say if shipping is more than two days away, they'll go elsewhere.

"Speed and transparency are just as critical as user interface and inventory," says Ryan Webber, SVP of Enterprise Mobility, SOTI. "This requires significant backend infrastructure and mobile tracking to create a seamless consumer experience. Our advice to retailers is to pay closer attention to their consumer experience and how they can track and receive the item they purchase, as it is just as important as the item itself. If the past year has taught us anything, it is that having a mobile strategy is business-critical."

Other interesting findings from SOTI's From Bricks to Clicks: State of Mobility in Retail report include:

• 62% of shoppers want automated returns options
• 62% 'would buy more' from merchants if shipping was faster

More data from SOTI can be accessed here.

Tags: Braze, ecommerce, ecommerce trends, m:commerce, mobile commerce trends, National Retail Federation, online shopping trends, SOTI

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