The eCommerce landscape has expanded in leaps and bounds over the years and the future looks increasingly bright. The ease and efficiency of just a few clicks to buy items online at the comfort of your couch is a trend that is unlikely to go away. This article will shed some light on what the future holds for this multi-million-dollar industry while mentioning the changes that may positively impact on customers.
Will online shopping continue to grow?
Given that close to 3.6 billion people of the globe’s population have internet access, ecommerce is widely tipped to continue growing exponentially. Owing to sites like eBay and Amazon, customers can now easily gain access to all types of products and services they can think of, which is only a taste of what’s to come. As such, over the next few months and years, the consumer shopping experience will get a shot in the arm once new technologies burst to the scene. It is expected that there will be an unprecedented brand explosion of online retailers which is good news for customers considering there will be a variety to choose from.
Social Media has become part and parcel of our daily lives. Rather than just being websites where people can connect and engage, social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have become ecommerce advertising channels. Customers can now partake in online shopping in a convenient way on their preferred social media platform. Social selling features have improved how ecommerce business advertisements are carried out on these platforms. For example, Instagram recently introduced its ‘shoppable post’ feature, which enables businesses to activate product tags when putting up a post or when adding stickers in stories.
Will ecommerce replace physical stores?
It’s indisputable that the rise of ecommerce is by far eclipsing the sales from physical stores. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that brick-and-mortar locations aren’t valuable possessions for ecommerce brands. Most online stores (mostly feature lots of inventory) are not attempting to duplicate their online versions on the ground, instead, they are focused on giving customers unique shopping experiences. A great example is Nike who have dubbed their new shopping locations “Houses of Innovation.” At Nike’s brick and mortar stores, customers are treated to exclusive and customized products, fitness tests, and new products and services through playing of fun games. Such experiences cannot be found online, and end up strengthening loyalty to their brand.
How will ecommerce change?
When discussing what lies ahead for ecommerce, one aspect stands out – much more emphasis will be placed on the gadgets that customers use when shopping online. You might wonder, why exactly? Intriguingly, in previous times, most ecommerce stores modelled their shopping experiences for desktop computers. Nowadays, things have changed. Ecommerce businesses are now building and designing their business experiences with the interests of mobile users at heart before moving on to desktop users. It may look like a weird switch, however it does make a lot of sense especially when you take into account that nearly 45% of all commerce resolutions will make use of mobile by 2020.
By 2021, it’s widely expected that robots will be used in online stores. The robots include chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) and are meant to improve the buyer’s overall shopping experience. In normal cases, AI assistants are capable of handling a variety of tasks assigned to humans such as handling inventory. In addition, these digital assistants execute diverse processes, thereby giving you more time to focus on other facets of running the business. Moreover, AI and chatbots are capable of learning from buyer conversations which can assist in the refinement of the ecommerce experience. One other trend that is slowly shaping the ecommerce world is voice technology. Voice devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home have introduced innovative ways on how customers interact with online stores through voice-activated web browsing. Voice browsing had been extensively adopted by mobile users and voice commerce is set to surge in popularity too.
How big will ecommerce get?
Ecommerce business is an enormous industry. According to statistics, eCommerce sales are predicted to reach a colossal $4.9 trillion by 2021. In 2019 alone there was a huge 23.3% rise in ecommerce revenue when compared to 2018. At the worldwide level, China leads the way in terms of revenue with a whopping $636 billion and hot on their heels is the United States with a revenue estimated to be $505 billion. The United Kingdom, Japan and Germany are not that far behind either. However, when it comes to software, online service transactions and SaaS, the U.S have their noses in-front, accounting for 50% of sales globally, followed closely by France and the UK. A growth in mobile usage is expected to improve the share of sales through mobile by 69% by 2021. To tap into the ecommerce trend, businesses need to amalgamate offline and online features to achieve multi-channel shopping. Ecommerce will continue to grow and its paramount that online stores understand what consumers are looking for. To drive sales, businesses should strive to create a unique shopping experience rather just giving the odd products or services.
Ecommerce is ever-expanding and looks to have pleasant surprises in store not only for businesses but for customers as well. It’s important to keep tabs with the changes revolutionizing the ecommerce landscape. Key among them is the adoption of mobile phones and artificial intelligence that’ll make this multi-million-dollar industry more vibrant than ever. Brick and mortar stores have also upped their game and for businesses with both online and physical stores, it’s all sunshine and rainbows.