Quick fact: e-commerce represented 14.5% of total retail sales in the fourth quarter of 2018 (source: U.S. Census).

Great American’s Retail Monitor March 2019 (PDF) issue focused on the continuing growth of e-commerce and how Amazon’s marketplaces are forcing retailers to either sell through Amazon or invest heavily in their own website product offerings and features. This post takes a look at GA’s findings, including: e-commerce sales trends, how retailers are adapting to changing trends, how shipping remains a crucial factor in online sales, and technological advancements in selling through mobile devices.

E-commerce sales trends

As shown in the chart, in the fourth quarter of 2018, e-commerce sales represented 14.5% of total retail sales, with steady progression from quarter to quarter. Overall, e-commerce sales increased around 15% year over year, in line with previous reports from CBRE and others.  

GA’s Retail Monitor March 2019

Retailers adapt to changing trends

When it comes to e-commerce, Amazon has staked its claim at the top of the hill by offering marketplaces for retailers to sell their goods. As GA reports, many small to medium sized retailers have opened a shop through the Amazon marketplace or they sell through the FBA program (Fulfilled by Amazon). For major retailers, competing with Amazon means investing heavily in their own third-party sellers for top categories, including toys, sporting goods, and electronics. Major retailers have also started to mimic Amazon by offering free, two-day shipping for qualifying orders.    

Shipping costs a crucial factor

Shipping is a major cost factor when it comes to e-commerce and it isn’t getting cheaper. Amazon’s Prime option is considered the gold standard for the industry. To qualify for free, two-day shipping, customers pay a yearly fee, which jumped to $119 in 2018. The Prime option is tough to beat for other retailers as offering free shipping cuts sharply into profits. To help offset the costs, one tactic is to offer free shipping with a minimum order of anywhere from $35 to $99, depending on the retailer.

In store pick up for online orders

For retailers with brick and mortar locations, the ability to order online and pick up in store is another way to reduce shipping costs. Plus, retailers have found that this type of omnichannel approach increases foot traffic (read more about how an omnichannel approach can help increase in store foot traffic).

Choose a specific shipping day

A new shipping feature recently announced by Amazon is to allow the customer to pick a specific day of the week to receive packages. This tactic reduces the total number of packages shipped and allows more items to be shipped in bulk; both of which reduces shipping costs.

Technological advancements in mobile sales

When it comes to e-commerce, retailers need to think outside-the-laptop, meaning, online sales are taking place more often on tablets, phones and even home hubs (read more on how consumers are shopping through smart hubs like Alexa and Google Home Hub). M-commerce sales (sales made through a phone or tablet) continue to grow and major retailers are investing in high-functioning apps that are personalized with targeted marketing built in.


Returns are the rule in retail. For items that can’t go back on primary shelves, talk to B-Stock for your own private, auction marketplace to sell returned, excess, and other liquidation inventory. This technology-driven approach will increase recovery rates on consumer returns and will keep warehouse inventory moving.

We also invite you to review our case studies and our suite of private marketplaces that we operate for 9 of the top 10 U.S. retailers, including hundreds more in the U.S and internationally across Europe.

Request Demo

Join the largest global network of B2B liquidation marketplace

Request Demo

More from the B-Stock Blog

Excess Inventory: The Losers And Wieners

Top Dog is an institution in Berkeley, Calif. serving gourmet sausages on toasted French rolls to legions of Cal students and Bay Area locals for over 50 years. My friends and I were regulars back in college, so when I…

Aug 13 2020 · 1 min read

B-Stock Europe Presents: Currys PC World Auctions

B-Stock is pleased to announce the launch today of Currys PC World Auctions,  an official liquidation channel of Dixons Carphone. What is Currys PC World Auctions? This B2B marketplace will give qualified European business buyers direct access to bulk quantities…

Aug 11 2020 · 1 min read

Introducing the B-Stock Minute

Wish you could keep up with the latest secondary market trends but don’t have time to sit through a 30-minute webinar? We figured. Introducing the B-Stock Minute, a video series dedicated to updating you on the most recent trends that…

Aug 11 2020 · 2 min read

Like what you see?

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest news from B-Stock.