There was a time, not too long ago, when shopping necessarily meant driving down to the nearest supermarket. At times, that could mean driving several miles for something as trivial as buying a packet of salt to cook your food.
While something like that could still happen to you, thankfully technology offers options that did not exist a generation ago. Since the turn of the twenty first century e-commerce has made life easier, with companies like Amazon offering doorstep delivery of most items you are ever going to need, including your groceries.
E-commerce currently accounts for nearly 10 percent of the total retail sales in the United States. It would be a fair bet that its slice of the pie is only going to increase in the years to come, especially given the trends discussed below.
- Social Media: More than 75 percent of all Americans have a social media presence. Not surprisingly, it has become one of the key drivers of growth for the e-commerce industry. In fact, more than half the total number of consumers buys stuff after discovering them on social media platforms. That trend is only set to grow in the future. E-commerce has also crept into those platforms by providing “shopper services” such as what Jetspree offers.
- Digital Marketing: Marketing is now increasingly going digital, with American businesses likely to spend about $120 billion on digital marketing by 2021- more than the current GDP of Ukraine. As one would readily imagine, the e-commerce industry is one of the most enthusiastic adopters, with Amazon alone spending more than 2 billion on it every year. The digital advertising company is going to be an important contributor to the growth of e-commerce.
- Convergence with Brick and Mortar: Unlike what was expected a few years ago, brick and mortar retail is not going away anytime soon. If anything, the distinctions are only blurring, with e-commerce companies adopting the brick and mortar model and vice-versa. In fact, Walmart recently acquired a controlling stake in Flipkart, the biggest e-commerce company in India , while Amazon has just opened a brick and mortar outlet in New York.
- Visual Content: Human beings by nature process visual content best. With the proliferation of hand-held devices and high speed internet, customers have the luxury of viewing HD videos wherever they want, whenever they like. Predictably, e-commerce is increasingly turning to visual content to achieve greater customer engagement and ultimately drive sales.
- Mobile Friendly Content: The smartphone has been the single biggest game changer for the e-commerce industry, with more than half the online sales in the US now happening on smartphones. That number is only going to grow in the foreseeable future. Consequently e-commerce players are increasingly working at keeping their content mobile friendly.
- Voice Search: More than one out of every five search queries on mobile devices is a voice search, a number that is bound to increase, given that the concept is still at a nascent stage. E-commerce is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this new technology, with virtual assistants like Echo and Home increasingly becoming their interface with the customer.