The boom in online commerce has been especially pronounced in the UK, where web access is good and the relatively small size of the country makes deliveries a practical way to purchase items.
However, a new report has indicated that cross-border trade is increasing, something that could have a major impact on how digital marketers do their jobs as etailers interact with consumers across Europe.
A new study from etail trade association IMRG and Manhattan Associates suggested that the number of parcels delivered by British firms will rise by 70 per cent to hit 2.2 billion in 2017, indicating the increasing economic importance of ecommerce. Over the course of 2012 roughly 1.3 billion etail parcel movements took place - this includes returns, at an average rate of 22 per cent.
Much of the predicted boost will be driven by cross-border trading - something that could see businesses revamping their procedures, according to the study.
Andy Mulcahy, head of communications at IMRG, said that around one-third of orders will fall into this category in the next two years.
"The UK's online fulfillment infrastructure was intially set up to be very UK-centric, focusing on getting orders into the hands of domestic customers. As cross-border activity increases over the coming decade, with it will come a big shift in how stock is stored, managed, controlled and monitored to serve the requirements of the global consumer audience," he explained.
While this is clearly an excellent growth opportunity, especially given the need to diversify in the current gloomy economic climate, it will also pose challenges throughout the industry, not only for supply chain experts but also for marketers.
Seamus Whittington, managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Asia at ChannelAdvisor, wrote in a piece for Retail Week last year that companies need to be careful in choosing what markets to target overseas, as well as tailoring their marketing approach to each country or region.