Monitoring eCommerce trends needs to be most than just a pastime for entrepreneurs and business owners. These trends determine the direction the industry is going and, as a result, the direction any web-based business needs to go, as well. Costa Rican businessman and entrepreneur Jorge Zuñiga Blanco shares some of what’s in store for 2019 and beyond for the eCommerce ecosystem.
Brick-and-mortar retail has been dying a slow death for years. As eCommerce solutions are able to offer a more efficient and faster shopping experience, traditional retail channels are losing the race. Explains Zuñiga, “These days, consumers are only interested in one thing – the transaction. This is fulfilled by an eCommerce solution better than a conventional retail channel, which is why web-based shopping has taken a huge chunk of the complete commerce pie.”
Competition in the eCommerce space is picking up, and what sets one retailer apart from another is its ability to listen to the consumer. Consumers know better than anyone else what they want and eCommerce solutions that can respond best to those wishes are the ones that will succeed.
The traditional commerce path that included wholesalers, distributors and other middlemen is now being replaced by a direct-to-consumer (D2C) path. This allows the retailer to establish a closer relationship with the consumer, which is helping to drive the previous trend.
While eCommerce has taken the place of brick-and-mortar, there is a fascinating occurrence being seen. Explains Zuñiga, “eCommerce companies are now setting up brick-and-mortar locations. Most often, these are not permanent stores but, rather, temporary shops in festivals or popup vending operations in certain high-traffic areas.” This gives the vendor another channel to interact with the consumer and increase its marketing footprint, while not having substantial financial outlays.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is helping enhance the shopping experience in ways never before possible. AI-powered platforms can now offer highly targeted, personalized experiences, and even marketing campaigns, which will drive sales higher. Tether this to another trend, that of smart home assistants and voice recognition systems, and the result is a standalone valet, ready to make a purchase at any time. Asserts Zuñiga, “Imagine a digital and virtual home assistant that knows that 15 loads of laundry have been washed and the bottle of laundry detergent is good for 18 loads. The assistant will automatically place an order for you.”
Business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce is going to continue to become a main component of the space over the next several years. Digital channels are able to open new markets and reduce the friction that makes marketing sometimes difficult. By the end of next year, B2B eCommerce could be worth as much as $1.1 trillion and could control as much as 12% of all B2B sales.
Personalization is going to continue to become more integrated into the shopping experience. Says Zuñiga, “eCommerce platforms recognize and track previous shopping patterns. When a consumer returns to the site, the platform is ready to make recommendations based on those patterns in order to simplify the visit and deliver the results consumers want.”
eCommerce is going to be a standard component of daily life in ways never envisioned. These trends are showing the importance of digital retail and how it continues to thrive. The next few years are going to bring with them some incredible advances in the industry.