Just ten years ago you may have been one of the few and first people to shop online but now, everyone does it. It is hard to imagine our past without e-commerce being part of it, but in the history of the Earth, the trend has not been around very long.
In the last decade we’ve seen e-commerce grow from just a small number of retailers, to having nearly every high street brand have an e-commerce presence online. Looking ahead, there are amazing things happening to the world of e-commerce. I’ve got a few predictions to share for 2014 and beyond:
With tablet shopping starting to happen this year we think this trend will continue growing in 2014, but not necessarily in a straight-forward way. It seems that the shopping process often involves; browsing on a tablet, visiting the store to look at the product ‘in real life’ and then buying online, having compared costs, probably using a laptop. This has fundamentally changed the way that customers browse for shopping ideas and it means that they have better ways to look at their options and buy.
We expect the tablet shopping phenomenon will see a rise in the use of wish lists next year. Being able to browse, store and share liked products to buy later, will become a key part of the online shopping process. Browsing is happening everywhere now, in all sorts of previously unused time spots. We expect to see an increase in sales through sharing and third-party sites, as consumers click on ideas that their virtual friends have shared. The retailer will have to work hard to harness the power of wish lists in 2014.
We see shipping and the drive towards ever more rapid delivery, like the same day services growing in major cities. My initial thought of Amazon’s moonshot idea to use drones to deliver? I love it, I want one! It does seem impractical though, what happens if the package gets lost? I loved this spoof ‘while you were out’ card! At the moment drone technology does not seem to stack up against the motorbike in terms of costs, weather proofing, security and reaching the majority of customers. So while customers do want rapid delivery for certain items, it will probably happen on the back of a motorbike in 2014.
The year of the marketplaces
Amazon, eBay and Rakutan are becoming search engines for shopping and recommendations and I think that will grow in 2014. Better user experiences online have changed browsing habits, moving them out of the store. Being able to compare prices is also an advantage of online marketplaces. Our relationship with Amazon has opened up a new way of selling our shop-partners’ designs in other retailer outlets and marketplaces. We expect this type of partnership to grow in 2014.
Whatever the top stories are, now that e-commerce has caught the public attention, there is always something to be working on to improve your offering. 2014 will definitely be a busy year for online retailers.
Philip Rooke, CEO of customised t-shirt e-commerce platform Spreadshirt.