Q: What are the 3 next big trends in ecommerce?
-- Sophie Kazickas
A: If you were to have asked me this question at any time over the past five years, I would have started with the same answer: mobile.
My answer is no different today, but it comes from a different place. The mobile phenomenon is already upon us. In fact, even the word “ecommerce” feels a bit antiquated, because it fails to recognize the magnitude to which mobile commerce is increasingly dominating everything else that we do. We live in a “heads down” society with more mobile connected devices than people on the planet.
With that in mind, here are my top three trends:
1. Commerce will become more seamless.
The commerce part of ecommerce will become more invisible. People are developing a taste, and even a demand, for convenience in everything that they do. This is true in the ways that they listen to music, move through airport security, and even in how they order their coffees at the local barista. Some would refer to the “Uber” experience as the ideal here, and it is predictably dependent on a seamless mobile experience. Technology has increasingly evolved to reduce the distance between what customers want and their ability to get it. Ultimately, this makes pesky things like checking out and paying disappear into the background behind a beautifully designed mobile site or app.
2. Digital wallets will be a must.
Digital wallets will move from being a good thing to a necessary thing. In many cases, the only way to facilitate the types of experiences alluded to in my last point is through a digital wallet such as PayPal. These types of products will help unlock the mobile experience by extracting the complexity of checkout and payment into the cloud, so that customers can simply pull out their phones and do the things that they need to do. The effect will be both increased use of digital wallets by consumers and a more ubiquitous presence of embedded checkout experiences among merchants of all sizes.
3. Innovations will be available to all businesses.
Technology will increasingly be democratized for small and mid-sized businesses. Perhaps the best news is that even the most sophisticated capabilities necessary to enable these sorts of experiences will very shortly be available to businesses of all sizes. The reason for this is the emergence of powerful “software as a service” platforms that have made it easier for small businesses to build powerful storefronts online and offline. These platforms are building connections into social networks, and are doing the heavy lifting necessary to deliver sophisticated marketing, CRM and general business services.
A close number four for me relates to social commerce. But, I think the important point here is that even the continued success of social networks will depend on the quality of the mobile experiences that they deliver to their customers.