Online trade in Bulgaria grew by 8.83% last year on an annual basis. In total for the last five years the annual growth of this digital segment in our country is between 21% and 35%, according to a study by the Bulgarian E-Commerce Association (BEA).
The past year has been a turning point for the development of online commerce. The closure of physical sites for long periods of time has forced many businesses to reorganize their operations and rely on a stronger Internet presence.
This has led to a significant increase in new inquiries for online stores and other digital projects according to Lyubomir Rusanov, managing partner of SuperHosting.BG and a member of BEA, this trend will continue to expand its influence, even after the pandemic subsides.
Automation and artificial intelligence will still be at the heart of the sector’s development. This means that in order to sell more successfully, Bulgarian retailers need to constantly invest in innovations that will bring them opportunities for better customer service, flexibility, visibility and even easier management of business processes. -the new report of the Bulgarian E-Commerce Association.
Having an e-shop is the basis that needs to be upgraded with investments in a number of other technologies, digital marketing and a better consumer experience (UX, UI), experts say. SuperHosting.BG and BEA recommend business owners to rely on technology partners who have proven experience in digital services and who can provide them with support services.
Forecasts suggest that in three to four years, trade will become largely mobile.
The consumer survey shows that purchasing surveys in most cases start over the phone, whether the order is made online or from the merchant’s physical store. The conclusion is that trade will merge in the near future – there will be no boundary between physical and online trade, and the connection will be made by mobile devices. That’s why it’s important for online retailers to continually improve the consumer experience through their store’s mobile device, experts advise. The conditions and changes require retailers to be present everywhere – both through physical and online stores.
The challenge for many of them in 2021 will be to launch a second dimension in their business. If they have only operated online so far, it will be time to open a physical store to expand their presence. If they have operated entirely physically, then the Internet will help them reach a new type of customers and increase their orders, experts recommend. The data for the growing market also correspond to the statistics presented by SuperHosting.BG, according to which the number of new installations of online stores has increased by 45.5% in 2020, compared to a year earlier. The strongest month last year was October, an increase of 55% compared to the most inactive months of the year (February and July).
Meanwhile, it is clear that according to the annual report of E-commerce Europe, the volume of B2C (business to end user) e-commerce of products and services in Bulgaria in 2020 has exceeded BGN 1.9 billion. It is expected to see double-digit growth on an annual basis in 2021.
From the information of the Bulgarian E-Commerce Association (BEA) it is understood that 60% of Bulgarians prefer cash on delivery as the most preferred payment methods for online purchases. In second place are credit and debit cards with 32%, and in third place – bank payments with 8%.
For comparison, in 2018 the same indicators were 70%, 20% and 5%, respectively. According to BEA data, last year 75% of the population of Bulgaria has access to the Internet, and for comparison in 2019 this indicator was 71%.