6 min read

Why eCommerce is the future of retail

Ipad ecommerce
Updated on 07 Mar 2024

Why go eCommerce and is it essential for your business? How can your shop thrive in 2021 and beyond?

eCommerce is at an all-time high because of lockdowns, travel bans and shop closures during 2020. This boom is not only happening for the younger generation, older generations are now turning to eCommerce to keep up with the competition and market.

The benefits of an eCommerce site

Having an online presence in the modern-day is a must for any company, and eCommerce has always been a great way to sell products to a large number of people. There are a wide variety of benefits to an eCommerce website. Unlike a physical store which is restricted to one location and smaller target audience, coupled with the bills and costs associated with a brick and mortar store. An eCommerce shop can target a large audience and will bring in customers from all around the world. All maintained from the comfort of your own home.

You can also reach a larger audience online through search engine visibility. More people are using computers and especially tablets/phones to shop online. Thanks to integrated SEO it is much easier for your target audience to find and locate not only your store but quickly locate exactly what product they are after. Also, due to this level of accessibility, you will have a higher checkout rate. Overall, this will result in bigger and better sales. It is also very easy for the customer to shop online. With just a few clicks they can find your online shop, choose a product and checkout, all without leaving the house.

Another great benefit is that you can sell products online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's really convenient for the customer and it doesn't matter which time zone you're in. You also don't have to worry about the scale of your shop, you can sell as little or as many items that suits you. The running cost of an eCommerce operation is far more scalable than operating a shop on a high street or in a retail park.

Selling online is also financially better. It is as little as £21 a month for a Shopify site, unlike retail space which can be somewhere like Manchester at £1,545 or London at £14,355 annual cost per square metre. Coupled with staff, utility bills, taxes and maintenance. Running an online shop can be orders of magnitude cheaper.

Overall having an eCommerce site is not only easier and cheaper but you are also more likely to get higher revenue and reach your target audience.

eCommerce in 2020 pandemic

2020 has been a crazy year, with coronavirus affecting businesses big and small. One of the main businesses that have been hit hard is retail, who have had to largely close because of lockdown, for several weeks and on multiple occasions. If these shops only income was through their physical store, their business would be desecrated and many have had to shut down because of it.

It is this reason why a lot of stores have turned to operating an eCommerce website. Well-known stores have supplemented their businesses with an online store. With some to massive levels of success due to the majority of the population not being able to leave the house and spend their money elsewhere.

Logos stats

Stats soured from Financial Times

Such well-known companies like Amazon, Apple and JD.com have been benefiting from people shopping online and not being able to leave the house.


During the third quarter of 2020, Amazon generated total net sales of almost $96.15 billion, surpassing the $69.98 billion in the same quarter of 2019.


Even though Apple had to close 500 stores around the world, their revenues in the opening quarter were strong thanks to robust online sales. They managed to rake in $58.3bn in revenue in the March quarter.


When China’s lockdown hit in late January, JD.com was the only eCommerce player reliably delivering packages. Ryan McMorrow said shares jumped almost 6% on its trading debut in Hong Kong on June 18.


Another company to benefit from the pandemic was Shopify. Because businesses had to close their stores they had to turn to alternative ways like eCommerce. Their total revenue in the first quarter was $470.0 million, a 47% increase from the comparable quarter in 2019.

Ecommerce graph

Image credit: Shopify, sourced from McKinsey

eCommerce websites that have performed well during 2020

During the last decade, eCommerce has become more than just a simple online catalogue. They have become a full-time business revenue. Here are a few eCommerce sites that MadeByShape have developed and have succeeded during 2020

Painters world graph

Painters World From MadeByShape

Painters World

DIY shops have boomed in 2020. Due to lockdown and being furloughed during COVID-19, a lot of people were stuck at home with nothing to do, so naturally, they decided to buy DIY materials to vamp up their homes and gardens. Painters World has been very successful with their eCommerce site selling paint and painting tools. January 2020 they had 465 orders and then during peak lockdown in April 2020, it shot up to 3,824 orders. That's 9 times increase from the first month of the year.

Mysa graph
Mysa Skincare From MadeByShape

Mysa Skincare

Mysa Skincare is a small independent salon that sells natural and beautiful skincare products. Previously they only sold these products in store but because of 2020 lockdowns, they decided to launch an online store and are very pleased with the results. In the first month, they sold 62 products and nearly sold out of all their stock. That is 6 times as many as they would sell in the store.

Jess the founder of Mysa Skincare told us "Having the new website has made such a great impact on sales. It has allowed me to really gain a wider audience around the UK and has been a great promotion for the products.".

Riley graph copy

Riley Studio From MadeByShape

Riley Studio

One of our sites that has seen an increase in sales during 2020 was Riley Studio. They sell sustainable clothing and accessories. All their revenue come from their eCommerce site. In 2019 they had 353 orders and during 2020 they had 665 orders, that is double the amount compared to last year.

Rosebud graph copy

Rosebud Preserves From MadeByShape

Rosebud Preserves

Another one of our sites that has seen an increase in sales during 2020 was Rosebud Preserves. They specialise in making preserves like jam and chutney. Their eCommerce site has done really well this year. In 2019 they had 743 orders and during 2020 they had 3,274 orders. That's 4 times as many compared to last year.

The future of eCommerce in 2021

No matter how you feel about it. eCommerce is definitely the future for retail and has drastically increased because of COVID-19. Shopify’s cumulative data anticipates a 276.9% increase in worldwide eCommerce sales over the most-recently tracked period. Nearly 150 million people shopped online for the first time in 2020, and the number of eCommerce buyers will only continue to rise in 2021 and eCommerce will continue to grow over the next five years. With eCommerce being in such high demand, the market will become more crowded and competitive. Having a simple online catalogue will be seen as a basic requirement for any shop. And the companies looking to go bigger, will have to go even further when advertising their brand.

Ecommerce graph v2

Image Credit: Shopify, retail eCommerce sales compound annual growth rate forecast (CAGR), 2020–2024. Sourced from Statista

Here at MadeByShape we are here to help you thrive in 2021 and beyond. Going eCommerce could be vital for the growth or survival of your company. Contact our team of eCommerce experts today.

I'm a web developer here at Shape but outside of that, I'm a hockey team captain.