Each brand in e-commerce had a significant increase in sales during COVID-19 pandemic. Brands that focused on online stores in this process stepped forward in the competition. E-commerce brands predict that e-commerce developments during the pandemic will increase and continue. Pandemic revealed opportunities for e-commerce firms Ecom Leaders Club (ELC) members evaluated e-commerce developments in COVID-19 period.
The first and only C-level e-commerce club in Turkey established under international cross-border e-commerce platform WORLDEF has taken the pulse of e-commerce. E-commerce leaders were gathered in gala-night organised by ELC. The gala-night organised with Türkiye İş Bankası main business partnership and Fortune Turkey media partnership got full marks from e-commerce directors of the famous brands. E-commerce managers and directors of the most important companies in Turkey attended the program organised in Nart Resort. 100 e-commerce leaders received plaquettes on the night.
ELC members who attended the night that took the pulse of e-commerce assessed the developments in e-commerce during the pandemic, future of e-commerce and insights for the ecosystem.
Özlem Can: During the pandemic, we gained an audience that we can never gain.
Derimod E-Commerce Director Özlem Can explain that they had the chance to see the return of investment they have been doing for the last 3 years with the pandemic. Özlem Can said, “I would like to thank the pandemic like this. We had the chance to have users to visit our website with no previous e-commerce experience. We gained an audience that we would never gain. We had a profile who was afraid of online shopping, who didn’t want to do online shopping and said my package will arrive late and with the problem. We had the chance to gain them in Turkey. This pushed us to do more investments.”
Can explained, “naturally we had problems in the operational sense. Actually, all our investments are in the following year… Structuring once in every 2 months is of course positive… There are good movements on our channels and other marketplaces. Growth rates are above than we have expected and they are not falling. We continue to bring back these users. This is good.”
E-commerce professional Can who informed about abroad operations said, “Actually, we entered this process but we gave a break with the pandemic. Our structuring continues. Of course, we want to be abroad. We are making collaboration meetings. I hope that this structuring will end and we want to work on cross-border e-commerce again.”
Mehmet Türkel: Our orders increased by 7-8 times.
Joker E-Commerce Director Mehmet Türkel assess the latest position of e-commerce with the pandemic. “Pandemic has serious negative effects on global retail. But we had great benefit since we were on the digital side” and further added, “If I should elaborate this benefit, 1 unit of tasks expanded to 7 units in terms of scaling. Therefore, we did serious investment and allocated resources in all channels to meet the increasing volume, take suitable actions, improve warehouse and logistics, online ad budgets, sales operation processes and CRM services. In this sense, we were able to answer the increase.”
E-commerce professional Türkel experienced in the firm that offers services in mother, baby and child sector with two brands continued his words as follows, “The number of orders, calls, sold products increased by 7-8 times than normal. Although e-commerce is a successful process, this was a negative process for the general Turkish retail market. But we saw that as a chance for development and I believe we did some beneficial work. We are communicating with other retailer shareholders in this sense and they believe that it is beneficial and positive. I hope that the pandemic will end without the second wave.”
“This is the best time for SMEs to digitalise.”
Mehmet Türkel provided recommendations to SMEs who have not completed the digital transformation and do not think about digitalisation and said, “Now, digital transformation is a wide topic. We need to divide it into sub-topics. This is the right time for SME-focused firms that want to carry their operations to digital and invest in digital. Because increasing volume and transforming shopping behaviours created a serious potential for e-commerce.
If you are a good manufacturer, the financer of a good product or distributor, this is an important time to introduce them to the digital market. It is the right time to sell your product on the marketplace or your own e-commerce website or social media channels. In this period, sellers and SMEs can clearly analyse the product and market size. They need to get support from professionals and experts and I think this is a beneficial process to invest in these areas.”
Uğur Akbıyık: We grow by 600%.
Rue Online E-Commerce Director Uğur Akbıyık talked about how ready-wear and textile sector was affected by the pandemic. Akbıyık said, “Pandemic has negatively affected stores. Of course, we have positive reflections as the e-commerce side. We are talking about 600% growth on our side. We are working for a foreign market especially for Europe. Since the process is slow there, we are moving slow. In this period, everyone that evolved for the people’s need was successful. We are one of them.”
Akbıyık who is experienced in e-commerce said, “Now, new normal is the reality of life. This period shows what and how people should do things. We need to get used to a contactless life. This is not only brought by the pandemic. When the firm evolved into this, they will be successful. This is the inevitable truth!”
Çağrı Ayten: People understood the importance of e-commerce in this period
Hoagard Co-Founder Çağrı Ayten highlighted that people understood the importance of e-commerce in the pandemic. “We saw and tested this with 400%, 500% and even 800% increase” and Ayten told that their own firm experiences 500% increase on average. Çağrı Ayten known for his success in e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce remarked that
“Expanding abroad was a good opportunity because ad costs decreased and it became easier for people to enter the market in countries with high purchasing power. Naturally, we moved fast in cross-border e-commerce. Of course, we had problems with tight shipment schedules but you can solve everything fast in cross-border e-commerce and e-commerce because everything develops with electronic transformation. So, we no longer have this problem. Of course, there is this beauty; increase in pandemic did not decrease, it is stable. The intensity of the campaign period has become stable and constant. This made people in e-commerce happy.”
Emre İlban: In this period, gaps in e-commerce are visible.
E-Bebek E-Commerce Director Emre İlban highlighted that the e-commerce sector gained a significant acceleration during a pandemic. Experienced e-commerce expert said, “the sector reached a long-term goal in a short time with the pandemic” and remarked,
“Of course, we need to divide this into two. As E-Bebek, we have stores and e-commerce. While the store of omnichannel retailers affected more, they are now investing more on the internet and e-commerce. Therefore, we tried to grow and develop in our stores and e-commerce websites with the pandemic. E-commerce is growing already. In this period, gaps in e-commerce are visible. Because capacities and operations are growing. Actually, E-Commerce Leaders Club will serve that. We will try to inform and guide the sector as a professional and entrepreneur.”
Emre İlban evaluated cross-border e-commerce in a pandemic. “Cross-border e-commerce in pandemic was affected negatively because we had customs problems and İlban added. “shipment costs increased very much. When passengers planes did not take off, the shipment was only done by shipment planes and costs increased. Problems started in customs. But this is temporary. Cross-border e-commerce will accelerate again. Because e-commerce accelerated around the world with e-commerce. Therefore, this temporary process will be behind us. There are changes already. But it will take some time for everything to be open. We will continue to follow it closely.”
Levent Elmas: We tried to invest in logistics.
Dagi Clothing E-Commerce Director Levent Elmas evaluated the latest state of the e-commerce sector. Elmas said, “logistics have gained importance on our side with the pandemic… We tried to transform everything we do especially on the logistics side to investment. We tried to invest because with the pandemic, we manage to generate more revenue than we expected and we reached our revenues and shipments on special days like Black Friday.”
Elmas said, “this is why, we started to be more involved with the warehouse problems on the e-commerce side” and remarked, “we saw that cargo firms and cargo sector in Turkey struggled to support us. We tried to work with cargo firms that offer same-day delivery and used scooters when sending products to customers. Currently, we are expecting another pandemic. To be honest, we try to organise the precautions and working conditions of our friends in the right way.”
Elmas gave the following advice to SMEs, “SMEs should consider any investment especially on e-commerce as an investment with a short return. Because with this pandemic, e-commerce volume started to increase significantly. Various e-commerce firms who were not in e-commerce around me are trying to dive into e-commerce. They are working on this. The important thing here is to consider the e-commerce infrastructure and to correctly integrate this infrastructure to the programs they use.”
ELC: E-commerce leaders community in Turkey
Ecom Leaders Club is established with the vision to be the most important e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce society in Turkey. The club has important e-commerce managers in Turkey and gathers retail brands that want to be in e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce. ELC that enables retailers to improve their business with closed-circuit international experience sharing meetings give opportunities for e-commerce players in Turkey to collaborate with e-commerce players in different countries. The club aims to make the e-commerce ecosystem in Turkey into a society. The club has managers and directors from top 100 companies in e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce ecosystem. The club offers opportunities to members to sell global markets and develop business and it is only possible to become a member with a special invitation.
Ecom Leaders Club organizes B2B marketplace matchmaking meetings for its members. This way, the members find the opportunity to sell in global marketplaces. It organizes meetings which are joined by e-commerce directors of global retail brands. Roundtable meetings are organized in which the problems of the sectors are discussed. The data obtained in these meetings are shared with public and private institutions and non-governmental organizations. This way, the assumptions acquired during the meetings help a cause.