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E-commerce enablement platform CommerceHub, which hosts more than 12,000 retailers, brands and suppliers, reported that its online order volume across its network more than doubled year over year between April 1 and May 31, 2020.

Furthermore, a late April poll of nearly 1,100 consumers throughout the United States by Namogoo revealed that 75 percent expect to maintain or even increase online shopping after the pandemic ends — and more than 60 percent of those who shop for groceries plan to maintain or increase their online shopping.

The trend toward online shopping has repercussions worldwide which extend to offline shops. Inditex, which owns various luxury brands including Zara and Massimo Dutti — and is one of the world’s largest clothing retailers — is closing up to 1,200 stores, mainly in Asia and Europe, to cut losses and focus on digital sales.

Inditex plans to invest US$1.1 billion into online shopping platforms and another $1.8 billion in stores to integrate better with websites, with the goal to grow online sales from 14 percent of total sales in 2019, to 25 percent by 2022.

“I see the future of retail as being more of the showroom model that companies like Warby Parker, Tesla and even Amazon, with their Amazon 4-star stores, are doing,” Mark Lewis, CEO of Netalico, told the E-Commerce Times.

“In-person retail will be an optional way to try before you buy, but ultimately the transaction will likely be fulfilled in a traditional e-commerce way,” Lewis said.

“As technology evolves with things like augmented reality, it will be possible to emulate the in-person experience more and more.” This year distribution and services spending on AR and VR technologies is expected to hit $4.4 billion, and the pandemic could give that a boost.



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