E-commerce M&A Review

Customer experience improvement as a deal driver in re-shaping online retail

Consumer behaviour is changing rapidly as e-commerce continues to expand. Online retailers are responding to evolving consumer expectations with a proactive approach, making the customer experience more personalized and convenient. E-commerce players looking to upskill their digital capabilities are eyeing M&A deals, frequently with a focus on customer experience improvement. How should online retailers react and keep up with shoppers’ changing expectations?

Customer centricity and M&A as accelerators for value creation

Online shopping is today’s new normal, which has deeply changed the shopping habits and retail landscape for today’s consumers. As growth on this market accelerates, online retailers are exploring new initiatives and solutions to excel in this highly competitive sector. Customer centricity is one of the key drivers of success on the online retail market. Customers who have a great shopping experience tend to buy more, remain more loyal and be more inclined to recommend the online shop to others. Convenience and consistency are the top attributes retailers must deliver for a good online shopping experience. 

In addition to developing customer centricity solutions in house, online retailers are actively seeking M&A opportunities to achieve their growth targets. The ability to improve customer experience is always at the center of M&A target assessments, when online retailers’ business and technical stakeholders evaluate potential deals.

Key Implications

Based on the M&A activity we have observed in the e-commerce industry, we have identified seven key implications for major market trends:

  1. Good customer experience across the entire purchase journey plays a substantial role in increasing revenue and customer loyalty for online retailers.
  2. E-commerce companies are actively looking for ways to improve the overall customer experience by meeting their customers’ individual expectations.
  3. Compared to developing a proprietary solution in house, acquiring or investing in target companies with a proven solution to improve customer experience is often a more efficient way to achieve strategic objectives.
  4. Expanding the portfolio through online-offline channel integration and entering new geographies are two key ways to grow the product range and satisfy cross-border consumer demand.
  5. Automation solutions and smart fulfilment networks are critical factors for online retailers to deliver outstanding customer experience with fast home delivery and minimized logistic costs. 
  6. Personalized marketing and recommendation-based customer insights significantly improve customer experience and subsequently increase revenue for online retailers. 
  7. To succeed in making a business more customer-centric in the e-commerce world, retailers must have advanced technical infrastructure with tools for scalable and real-time analytics.

Turning challenges into new opportunities with support from Deloitte

We expect market consolidation through mergers and acquisitions across geographies to continue in the e-commerce sector. The current COVID-19 pandemic can act as a catalyst for further acceleration of the “stay-at-home” economy, where online retail plays a predominant role. In response to the rapid transformation of this market landscape, online retailers are taking a proactive approach to enhancing their service offerings and optimizing their portfolio mix. The extremely diverse range of customer expectations remains a key challenge for today’s online retailers. The ability to provide top customer experience across the entire shopping journey will be a core factor for companies looking to win the market. 

To avoid being left behind by increasingly agile competitors, the time is now for all market players to take action and secure their chance at future success. Online retailers need to define which strategies will help them meet their specific challenges on the changing market. To meet evolving customer and market demands, it is never too late to take on existing challenges and keep pace with the latest market trends. Our team at Deloitte can guide you through all of the necessary steps to develop and implement the right e-commerce strategies for your organization. With our unique network of dedicated M&A experts and cross-industry specialists with deep expertise in both the retail and technology sectors, Deloitte can help you advance your business strategies. 

Deloitte paper 'Customer experience improvement as an M&A deal driver in e-commerce sector'
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