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The future of ecommerce, 2015 and beyond

Friday January 9, 2015 | By Dan Hawkins


Amongst the rain and cold new ecommerce trends are emerging. Last year we saw a rise in m-commerce and initiatives such as click and collect. This year, social shopping, smaller merchants making it big, and designing an engaging customer journey will be thrown into the picture.

The giants of retail managing smaller sellers (and larger brands)

As a smaller merchant, being present on a marketplace like Amazon, eBay or Rakuten comes part and parcel with developing your mark in ecommerce. But there are also other big players out there who offer a wide range of services. Most people have heard of Etsy by now, and India’s leading marketplace Flipkart had its biggest year yet in 2014. Other offerings come from ecommerce site creator Shopify which helps smaller businesses on a low budget develop original websites. Multi channel management platforms are also having their heyday. They can manage the core and everyday issues merchants have to deal with, such as pricing and logistics. Bigger brands are also becoming more confident with handing the reigns over to the bigger multichannel sellers. Ultimately, there could be a shift from individual ecommerce retailer sites to powered platforms.

The social side of shopping

Apart from Twitter’s ‘Buy Button’ and Google shopping getting in on the action, there is very little in the way of ecommerce happening by networking on social networks. The biggest site that promotes this at the moment is Pinterest (the top social referrer to ecommerce sites). Users can set up their own ‘mood board’ which comprises of picture links to a larger blog/website ecosystem. This visual style layout is replicated on sites like The Hunt, where users post images of products they have spotted around the web onto a board. Others then post links to help them find what’s in the picture. This generates discussions and reviews on a platform separate to retailer websites, but also produces a large amount of added traffic from the links. The fact that it was developed as a mobile app and claims to have over 3 million registered users is exciting in itself.

Google’s still flexing its retail muscles

Apart from Google dominating the web analytics market (a necessary tool in any website marketer’s box) they also have the most largest and most usable email service. Every one of us who owns a Gmail account knows that email marketing campaigns are still used frequently with both large brands and smaller merchants. These promotional campaigns continue to add impact and click through rates for ecommerce still look healthy, even after Google implementing segmented email tabs. Old school rules stills apply though. The better you target your audience the higher the click through rates. However, there will now be a shift to promotional emails being used mainly for prospects, not present customers who they already have a strong relationship with.

The rise of the mobile/tablet website

The retail trend everyone was talking about last year was without a doubt the escalation of m-commerce (with a third of online sales made via devices). This will no doubt continue into this year. Consumer confidence in using mobile devices has increased. This means customers will start to visit better designed UX sites with more functionality rather than apps. The opportunity for marketing campaigns here is huge. Cross device targeting will become one of the most important things to think about in terms of communicating information appropriately to customers and understanding each individual’s usage. For example, times and geographical locations will be integral to any ad campaign. Businesses wanting to develop better retail sites will also have to think carefully about increased website security and managing transactions through obstacles such as hidden cookies. However, if mobile transactions are set to contribute to over half of online sales, this may be worth the risk.