Ecommerce is a goliath industry.
In 2018 alone we saw an increase of 23.3% in ecommerce sales when compared to 2017.
That’s huge, but it certainly isn’t a new trend.
In fact, there’s been an average growth rate of 25.6% in ecommerce sales from 2014 – 2017.
That’s proof, if you ever needed it, that ecommerce is thriving, and it has been for a while.
But it’s also an industry that is ever changing. It’s an industry that is constantly shifting in an attempt to shape the way that people in every corner of the globe purchase products.
This makes the future of ecommerce exciting, to say the least.
A lot of big things are expected to change in ecommerce over the coming years, and we’re here to help you understand what the future of ecommerce will look like.
So today we’re going to break down some of the top trends for ecommerce in 2019, discuss what we believe the most impactful changes will be over the next few years, and dissect why those changes might have come about.
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive in.
Device Usage Will Become Even More Important
When it comes to discussing the future of ecommerce, one thing is clear: there will be much more importance placed on the devices that buyers use when they’re shopping online.
But, why exactly?
Well, in the past, most ecommerce businesses built their shopping experiences to be desktop-first.
Now, it’s the opposite. Ecommerce businesses are hellbent on designing and building their online businesses with mobile users in mind before desktop users.
This might sound like a strange switch, but it actually makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider that an estimated 45% of all commerce decisions will be made on mobile by 2020.
For the sake of context, that equates to a whopping $284 billion in revenue.
But, this is potentially even more interesting: research has found that 56% of buyers have already used their mobile devices to research for products while they’re at home.
This goes against the past assumption that a lot of people made, which fixated on mobile websites being primed to be easily digestible for shoppers who are on-the-go.
Now, buyers want the full shopping experience on all devices.
And it’s going to be fairly simple to please your audience if you’re running your store on Shopify.
You’ll have access to a wealth of themes that are built to ensure a seamless shopping experience, no matter which device your customers are using.
Plus, you can easily check the adaptive version of your store’s design by simply resizing your browser – make it smaller when you’re on desktop and you’ll see exactly what your mobile audience sees. One of the many perks of running your business through Shopify.
Need help picking a theme for your store? Check out our guide on picking the best Shopify theme for your business.
Emerging Markets Will Play a Huge Role
Emerging markets like India, China, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa are projected to play a massive role in the future of ecommerce.
This might not be totally surprising, given the recent growth of some of these nations economies, but let’s look a little deeper.
It’s estimated that around 3 billion potential buyers from emerging markets will have access to the internet by 2022. That’s a lot of potential customers.
It’s also expected that 20 percent of all retail sales in 2022 will come from buyers who currently reside in those emerging markets. That’s a lot of potential sales.
The most exciting part about all of this is that a lot of these markets are relatively untapped by existing ecommerce businesses at the moment.
This means that there is a ton of potential for existing businesses to branch out and reach new audiences.
It also means that there is a lot of opportunities available for new ecommerce brands to pop up within those emerging markets, and tailor their services towards local audiences.
Curious which international markets Oberlo users are generating huge revenue? Check out this blog post about the biggest dropshipping markets.
The Physical vs Online Debate
We cannot talk about the future of ecommerce without mentioning the ever-growing physical vs online debate.
Generally, people within the ecommerce industry fall into one of two camps in this debate.
There are those people who believe that it’s just a matter of time before brick-and-mortar stores fade out in favor of an even bigger shift towards online shopping.
And there are those who see physical shopping entering a renaissance period.
It’s undeniable that the growth of online shopping is far outpacing the sales from brick-and-mortar stores.
But that doesn’t mean that brick-and-mortar stores aren’t still incredibly valuable assets for ecommerce brands.
Instead of functioning as a real-life version of their online stores (which typically have access to a lot more inventory), brick-and-mortar locations seem to be switching towards offering unique shopping experiences.
At Nike’s new physical stores you can pick up exclusive products, customize products with your own two hands, partake in fitness tests, try out brand-new products by playing fun games, enroll a personal shopper, and more
These are experiences that you simply cannot get online, and go a long way in solidifying loyalty to their brand.
You’ve also got Shopify, an ecommerce giant, who have recently opened up a retail location in LA to help current and aspiring entrepreneurs. Again, this helps customers new and old to experience their products and their brand in a whole new light.
All in all, exclusive experiences are what we see as the future of physical retail locations. These are experiences that last, and cannot be found elsewhere.
Video Is On The Rise
Ecommerce businesses are going to need to hone their videography skills, because video is projected to play a massive role in the future of ecommerce.
Research has already found that 60 percent of shoppers would rather watch a product video than read a product description when they’re shopping.
In addition, 64% of shoppers make a purchase after watching branded social videos.
These changes in shopping behaviors could be due to the evolution of popular social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, which have all pushed updates (think Instagram Stories) which prioritize video content.
Or, it could be due to the wide array of massively successful YouTube channels which focus on unboxing, reviewing, and critiquing brand new products.
Combine those two factors, and it’s no surprise that buyers are becoming more and more accustomed to consuming video content during their shopping process.
You don’t need to look too far to see ecommerce businesses adapting to this change too.
Take fashion giants ASOS – check any product listing on their website and you’ll see multiple pictures, an in-depth product description, and a catwalk video showcasing the product.
Here’s an example product video from one of their menswear product listings:
Essentially, ASOS provide everything a buyer would need to find a product and make the decision to purchase a product without ever leaving their website.
So, adding video elements to your product listings, and incorporating video into your marketing strategy, is a must if you want to succeed with ecommerce in 2019 and beyond.
Looking for video marketing tips and tricks? Check out our complete guide to video marketing in 2019.
The Future of Ecommerce Marketing
Ecommerce businesses cannot succeed with great products alone – they need to draw in customers to purchase them.
This is exactly why great marketing will always be a quintessential part of success in ecommerce.
But great marketing often means adapting, so what will the future of ecommerce marketing look like? How will brands need to adapt to ensure that they’re reaching the right buyers through the right channels?
Well, we’ve already spoken about how important mobile is going to be for ecommerce businesses in the future, and this is also true when it comes to marketing.
As buyers become more and more familiar with browsing and making purchases on their mobile devices, it’s essential that businesses learn to optimize their marketing campaigns for mobile too.
But it isn’t just mobile marketing which is expected to increase in importance for ecommerce businesses.
Essentially, great content helps brands convince potential customers what their business stands for, and that’s one of the biggest marketing wins that brands can hope for.
Personalization is Key to Success
Ecommerce companies are constantly honing the shopping experience for their customers.
There are now algorithms in place which have been collecting data about your behaviors, and they probably know more about your tastes than your closest friends and family do.
This enables companies to ensure that their marketing campaigns are consistently optimized.
They’re constantly working to show you the products that they believe you’re most likely to purchase.
But, we might be reaching a breaking point.
Across the web, people seem to be fatiguing from knowing that algorithms are messaging them, rather than real people, and are now craving personalization in their shopping experiences.
Buyers want to feel that there’s somebody behind the computer screen who cares about them. It doesn’t need to be anything too complex either – it could be as simple as a personalized email, a curated discount codes, or otherwise.
Research backs this sentiment, with 41 percent of buyers claiming to have already switched from companies that they like due to poor personalization.
Plus, 48 percent of buyers actually end up spending more money with a company when they’re provided with a personalized shopping experience.
So what does this all mean?
Well, if you’re anything like us, you’ve probably received countless emails from companies recommending products to you “based on your recent purchases.”
Here’s a scenario. You buy a blender from an ecommerce company. Great. The next week you receive an email from that same company. Subject line: “Hey, we saw you bought a blender. Here are some more blenders to look at.”
That’s where algorithms fall short.
We don’t need another blender, of course.
Humans would know not to send us that email – all it leaves us with is a feeling of an impersonal shopping experience.
This is exactly why an integral part of the future of ecommerce will revolve around businesses and entrepreneurs finding ways to build direct relationships with their customers.
And adding personalization into your marketing campaigns is an easy way to start building those relationships.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Address your audience by their name whenever you’re sending out email marketing campaigns.
- Send them sneak-peaks to your latest product launches, simply because you value them as customers. Bonus points if you send them content related to previous purchases.
- Ask your customers for feedback on the products that they purchase. This will also help you to utilize social proof as a marketing tactic.
This is just scratching the surface. You know exactly what resonates with your audience best, so don’t be afraid to run some tests and see if you can find success.
Closing Thoughts on The Future of Ecommerce
The future of ecommerce is undoubtedly going to be full of exciting changes and innovations for both businesses and buyers.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, or you’re working at an ecommerce company yourself, it’s important to try to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to changes in the ecommerce landscape.
Our best advice is to keep on learning.
Read articles. Watch videos. Listen to podcasts.
Try to consumer as much information you can about the field of ecommerce – that’s how you’ll get an edge on your competition.
So, what do you think? Do you have any predictions for the future of ecommerce in 2019 and beyond?
Was there anything that we missed off our list that you’d like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments section below – we read them all!