The world of e-commerce has come a very long way in the last decade. Since the financial crisis began in the latter half of the previous decade, a ‘retail apocalypse’ has been underway. A number of businesses and chains whose positions seemed so secure suddenly began falling like dominoes. Big corporations are constantly looking to shut down less profitable or loss-making brick and mortar locations.In order to compensate for declining numbers of visitors to physical retail outlets, many retailers are refocusing their efforts on their e-commerce offerings.
Current market data suggests that the majority (51%) of Americans prefer to do their shopping online, driving the e-commerce market as a whole to an annual growth rate of 23%. Many analysts are predicting that the rate of growth will increase as voice assistants in the home become commonplace. These devices, in particular, Amazon’s Echo enabled devices, are increasingly being used to order basic household items. This trend looks set to continue and by 2020 it is thought that around 50% of millennials will be using voice assistants to make online purchases.
Understanding the e-commerce market is key to understanding where the future of retails lies for the industrialized world. Here are some of the e-commerce trends that look set to play the biggest role in the growth of the market throughout 2018.
With voice assistants playing an increasing role in the way that we approach online ordering, there are plenty of opportunities for technology to be used to alter and improve the online shopping experience. Virtual personal shoppers are becoming a reality. For years, websites such as Amazon have been able to analyze previous purchases to offer recommendations for future purchase. Soon a website could look at your previous fashion choices and would be able to work out, with accuracy, whether you would also like leather top hats or a statement necklace with your new maxi dress. A smarter, more personalized, consumer-friendly approach to e-commerce will feature heavily in 2018.
Subscription services are becoming increasingly popular and they are no longer restricted to memberships and passes. An increasing number of physical products are reaching consumers because of subscription services. Everything, from socks to beer, can now be regularly delivered to customers for a fee. Who knows what else could be being delivered to customers through a subscription model by the end of the year?
Individual retailers are increasingly selling products through their websites, and they are making good money doing so. But Amazon remains the king of e-commerce. They really are the only supermarket in cyberspace.Their Echo devices are battling it out with Google’s home for the home voice assistant market, and the integration of Echo with Amazon’s e-commerce site gives the retail giant a further edge over the competition. Amazon also recently teamed up with JBL to offer high-quality audio speakers with Echo technology built-in.
These are just a small selection of the e-commerce trends which look set to dominate the landscape in 2018. The role of technology in online shopping is shifting towards the incorporation of AI, something that has been predicted for a long time but is now coming to fruition.