A lot of high-level analysis is pointing to the most important eCommerce trend to watch: brick-and-mortar retail is on the downswing, and eCommerce is on the upswing. MarketWatch predicts that the market penetration of eCommerce will reach 25% by 2025 – that’s about a 10% increase over the next 4 years.
Ecommerce is the future, so it’s essential that we understand the future of eCommerce. How will the increased market shares of eCommerce stores influence how they compete and operate? How will e-commerce brands leverage the advantages that brick-and-mortar retailers have traditionally held?
Higher Levels of Competition Breed Innovation
Adapt or die. A harsh statement, but one that’s highly applicable to the world of eCommerce.
If you think that digital marketing strategies that served you well in 2010 are going to work in 2021, you’re wrong. You might, for example, buy into the idea that eCommerce sites don’t need to create an SEO-friendly homepage.
Be careful: if other sites are focusing on SEO and you’re not, you’ll plummet in search engine rankings.
The same goes for having a strong social media presence, merging traditional and digital marketing channels, and innovating new ways of leveraging customer data. You’ll also want to focus on fulfillment – 60-day customer-paid shipping with no tracking is no longer an option.
Believe us – no matter what your niche is, you’re going to have competition. There’s no time to rest on your laurels when everyone and their grandmother is getting into the eCommerce space.
While this might all seem dire, it’s actually a very good thing for business and consumers. More competition means a better customer experience, better products, better fulfillment, and lower prices.
More eCommerce Sites Lead to an Influx of Malicious Actors
There’s a simple rule for malicious actors: the easier it is to conduct criminal activity, the more malicious actors there will be. After all, if the barrier for entry is low, then any given payoff seems that much sweeter.
This rule means that more ecommerce sites will necessarily lead to more malicious actors. The more sites there are, after all, the more insecure sites there will be – insecure ecommerce sites are a subset of all ecommerce sites.
That means we can expect ecommerce sites to try to decrease their risk. They may do this by ensuring that they have SSL certification. While this certification doesn’t stop hackers from doing much (other than looking at shopping carts), it might act in a similar way to a sticker from an alarm company on a home. It’s a sign that the site takes security seriously, and that might be enough to dissuade hackers.
We can also expect to see more sites using multi-factor authentication – both for their consumers and for their staff. And you heard it here first – multi-factor authentication could be a way of dissuading scalpers who try to mass-buy electronics. Hard to scalp if you need to confirm each purchase on a different cell phone.
The Digital and Physical Begin to Merge
Expect to see more ecommerce sites using AR in order to emulate the brick-and-mortar experience. Want to try on makeup or glasses before you buy them? There are filters for that. Want to see how a piece of furniture is going to fit in your house? AR technology can make it happen – in a way that’s even better than the retail experience. There are also interactive user manuals to make troubleshooting simple.
As ecommerce continues to take over the retail space, we can expect more AR technologies to emerge in an attempt to emulate what makes retail so special – the tangible customer experience.
Diversified payment options
You’ve probably heard of NFTs being “the next big thing”. NFTs use the blockchain – your ecommerce store should too.
We don’t mean you should accept GIFs as payment – but you should consider accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other blockchain-based currencies. You’ll also want to accept a variety of major credit cards, and offer simple currency conversion.
The future is looking exceptionally bright for eCommerce. You need to be willing to adapt quickly and try new things – if you are, you may see your fortunes rising with the tide.