New Year’s Day has come and past and thousands of predictions have been made about the future of technology, the future of e-commerce, the future of the economy, the future of this and the future of that. So here is a a quick summary of the 2014 e-commerce predictions that we feel are most relevant:
1. Merchandising Evolves
Giant marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Staples will continue to focus on price, selection and user experience. In contrast, smaller competitors will need to focus on merchandising of their products, and unique product selection, to avoid head-to-head competition with the giants. If they don’t, they will be competing on price with giants that can operate on very slim margins with very high volume. We have already see mid-sized companies like FAB and Wayfair developing private label brands to avoid price based competition and to differentiate through merchandising. This merchandising based approach will be adopted much more extensively.
2. Mobile e-commerce will transform
We are in the early stages of mobile e-commerce with many companies still launching their first light-weight mobile sites or responsive websites. The development of apps by brands, and retailers has trickled off as they realize the challenges of driving adoption and usage rates, as well as the costs associated with the plethora of devices and platforms that need to be developed for. Given these trends, we anticipate that mobile e-commerce will rapidly evolve using browser based interfaces (HTML / CSS) that have both responsive elements as well as some device specific capabilities. The best of both worlds without the need to force downloads.
3. Magento will continue to excel
Magento’s acquisition by eBay resulted in a brief lull and slowdown in the product roadmap and community engagement. That is in the rear-view mirror and we see tremendous adoption of Magento going forward. It is a very solid e-commerce platform, it has a strong feature roadmap, and an extensive open source developer community that contributes a wealth of relevant applications. All the elements need to propel further growth in 2014. While Accorin is technology agnostic, and we choose the best solution for our clients specific needs, Magento is increasingly a good option.
4. Data driven marketing will continue to expand
If our customers are any indication -and I know they are- data driven marketing will continue to expand in 2014. For the last decade, our digital marketing team members have been immersed in metrics, KPIs and analytics. We have been beating the “data driven marketing” drum and at times our message has fallen on deaf ears (which is strange since we are pretty loud). But that is changing. More and more, our clients are focusing on results driven eCommerce marketing and the power that it gives us/them. We see data driven marketing accelerating in 2014 and look forward to the conversations and tactics that it enables.
5. B2B e-commerce catches up to B2C e-commerce
Historically, B2C e-commerce has taken the spotlight in the e-commerce arena. That’s changing. More and more we are working with manufacturers, distributors and other organizations that need a B2B focused e-commerce strategy or B2B e-commerce platform. Interestingly, with this evolution we are also stressing that customers are not content with utilitarian enterprise designs and user experiences. Intuitive B2C user experiences are expected in B2B sites. Fortunately there are a number of good B2B e-commerce platforms, and traditional B2C platforms like Magento that have increased their B2B e-commerce features to be solid options. We anticipate 2014 being a banner year for B2B e-commerce.
E-commerce is evolving at a tremendous pace and that is great! Call us if you need help navigating through the coming changes.