From eBay to Amazon, PayPal to Apple Pay, and did someone say delivery drones?! The way we shop has undergone a radical change in the past decade.
In much the same way video killed the radio star, online stores are rapidly replacing their brick and mortar counterparts as consumer’s primary shopping destination. What was once looked at as a convenience has become the norm and any business that doesn’t get on the ecommerce bandwagon will be on the decline.
As with anything tech related, ecommerce tools and companies evolve so quickly it’s hard enough to keep up with current trends, let alone try and plan for the future. So to help give you an idea of where the ecommerce industry is headed we asked a group of industry experts…
What’s the future of eCommerce?
Their answers were compelling…
Matt Edstrom, Head of Marketing and VP of BioClarity
“My biggest prediction for the future of eCommerce pertains to the monetization models of future companies. Specifically, I see many upcoming companies choosing to go with a niche industry subscription-based product offering, just as we have done here at BioClarity.
Look at the success of companies such as Dollar Shave Club, Hello Fresh, Stitch Fix, and Trunk Club and it’s no surprise to see the future of eCommerce heading in this direction. These days people are busy, no doubt, and the peace of mind and convenience this business model provides is second to none.
There are many other benefits of choosing to structure your business this way, especially when taking into consideration Lifetime Customer Value.”
Eric Shannon, Founder of Big Barker Dog Beds
“In 10 years, traffic will be so expensive that it will be impossible to make money on a front-end sale. The only retailers that will survive will be those that can successfully take a loss on the initial order(s) and turn that customer into a regular purchaser. Brands will have a difficult time being discovered except through big retail distribution channels (like Amazon).”
Aran Hamilton, President & Co-Founder of Vantage
“Ecommerce will be more fragmented away from large players. Of course, ecommerce doesn’t just mean retail anymore, but also includes transactions such insurance and financial services, travel, auto sales and services and a lot more government services too. The balance of power is shifting to the nimbler organizations and that will accelerate. The window of opportunity for the large incumbents is smaller than we realize. Over the next few years, insights and power will flow to the agile players that truly leverage data and social media forms of communication and marketing, messaging, chatbots, etc. The winners will be extremely data-savvy, will use data to hyper-efficiently deliver consumer-centric experiences. The shift online requires privacy-enhancing systems of digital ID and authentication and our regulatory and tax systems should change. Our current systems focus on types of entities not services missing emerging players. (e.g., Is Amazon’s tax status sustainable?) That’s not fair or smart.”
Rishi Khanna, CEO of ISHIR
“There are a lot of experts who have tried to predict the future of the ecommerce industry. Customer experience and mobile are the two buzzwords that will dominate this industry.
But while all these are part of the near future, the long run of the ecommerce industry will be dominated by personalization and curation. There are a number of online brands which have already started working to make personalized experience a key focus area.
Augmented Reality (or AR) is the next big thing. It is only with AR that the uncertainty from online shopping can be removed. AR is defined as integration of digital information with user’s environment in real time, which is what makes it different from virtual reality. Virtual Reality aims to create a completely artificial environment. It will be with AR that online shopping experience can be personalized or digitally customized to the shoppers’ taste and preferences.”
Dexter Tarbox, CEO of SocianSelect.com
“With the rise of e-commerce in the 21st century, it’s inevitable that new and more contextual digital advertising tactics will continue to evolve. The use of Social Media Influencers and other organic brand advocates (whose promotions can convert directly to e-commerce transactions) is surely the present rising tide in the digital space as a direct result of online sales platforms.”
Brett Bastello, SEO Manager with Inseev Interactive
“Without a doubt, the future of ecommerce is in personalization. And I’m not just talking about the ability to personalize a product, such as NikeID, but in presenting the correct product, to the correct person, at the correct time. This is a 360 degree personalized ecommerce marketing approach.
As Google continues to capture user data on Android, Google Maps, and Gmail users, it will be able to integrate specific product ads into its Google Display Network. Meanwhile, as the IoT continues to evolve, these ads will be able to follow and appear at the perfect time.
For example: Google knows based on location data that I stop for coffee every morning on my way to work. In the future, it will be able to display an ad for a new coffee brand on my smart fridge on Saturday morning, since it can assume I’m craving my daily cup of joe.
This type of 360 degree personalized advertising will, without doubt, be the future of ecommerce.”
Joshua Uebergang, Head of Strategy at Digital Darts
“You can literally set up an ecommerce store overnight and I think we’re going to see more specialist online stores honing in on a niche. Not even a niche, but a single product within that niche. All industries will have several giant sellers that do a lot of things well as Amazon sells its own products, compete on price, and turnover high volume. But we’ll also see small business owners being profitable against the giant retailers by leaning down their product lines to focus on the best-selling items and selling those really well. Gone are the days of selling everything under the sun and then some. It’s about knowing your customers intimately, connecting with them personally via means like virtual reality and other content, and providing the exact products they want and need.”
Jan Bednar, CEO of ShipMonk
“Fascinatingly, eCommerce today has managed to avoid the immense barriers to entry of other methods of selling. The biggest question mark at this point is manufacturing, specifically as it pertains to China. Virtually all of our clients have their products manufactured in China, and their ability to compete in the marketplace is directly impacted by the United States’ relationship with that nation. Should it suddenly become impossible for a non-MNC to do business with China from the US, I fear you will see a lot of smaller companies simply priced out of the market, as manufacturing elsewhere costs too much money and eats into already thinning margins.”
Mark Tyrol, President & Founder of Battic Door Energy Conservation Products
“The future of ecommerce is that it will become the primary way to purchase goods – manufacturers selling directly to end users. Middleman, resellers, reps, distributors, brick and mortar stores; none of these are needed any longer. We created our ecommerce business based on this business model to sell our building materials and home improvement products directly to contractors, builders and homeowners. We design and manufacture our products, patent and trademark them, market & advertise them, and sell them direct via ecommerce. Distributors do not add any value and are no longer needed to grow a successful ecommerce business.”