The Future of Ecommerce: Expert Insights from BigCommerce

Written by Danielle Ricketts on 11 May 2017

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When you look at ecommerce statistics like how worldwide ecommerce sales are expected to reach over $4 trillion by 2020, that 80% of Americans have made an online purchase in the last month alone, and how the ecommerce industry continues to grow by 23% year-over-year; it’s hard not to get blown away by how ecommerce dominates the retail industry. That leads to the question of “what does the future of ecommerce really look like?”.

There’s a lot of discussion around virtual reality, robots and omnichannel in regards to the future of retail, but are they really the trends that are going to dictate the future of ecommerce? And what advice should brands adopt in order to increase sales and succeed in ecommerce?

We asked several members of the BigCommerce team to predict what they think is in store for the future of ecommerce by answering these two big questions:

  • What trend do you think will shape the future of ecommerce?
  • What's your top tip to succeed in ecommerce?

Let’s take a look at the trends that the BigCommerce experts predict will dominate the world of ecommerce, as well as their top tips for retailers to grow a successful ecommerce channel.

Travis Balinas, Product Marketing Manager

What trend do you think will shape the future of ecommerce?

From a payments perspective, I see the advent of alternate payment methods being a huge driver for merchants and consumers. There's a huge opportunity gap between paying with your debit card vs credit card that's just now getting explored. Options like paying in installments, starting an open line of credit, and digital wallets are all driving towards increased AOV for merchants, and increased spending power for consumers.

What's your top tip to succeed in ecommerce?

Cast a wide net, analyze, and refine. Don't limit your payment options, the channels and marketplaces you sell on, or the endless number of conversion tools out there. Nothing is set in stone with ecommerce and things are constantly shifting. Try what you can, assess the impact to your business, and make strategic moves that focus on increasing your audience reach and cart conversions. 

Stevie Huval, Sales Solutions Engineer

What trend do you think will shape the future of ecommerce?

I think social media is going to have a huge impact on ecommerce - people will expect to be able to buy in context, right from the post that they discovered their item.

What's your top tip to succeed in ecommerce?

My top tip to succeed: Whatever marketing you are doing, do more. Try different channels and make sure your content is actionable right where it is discovered.

Deniz Ibrahim, Senior Manager, Product Marketing

What trends do you think will shape the future of ecommerce?

1. Mobile - Mobile traffic has overtaken desktop on the web and with many merchants still struggling with mobile conversion, a steady stream of innovations (including things like digital wallets and Google's mobile-first web index), will make it even more important to stay up to speed--and ahead of your competition--to guarantee an optimal mobile experience for your shoppers--both today and tomorrow.

2. Personalization - Ecommerce will begin taking advantage of the vast amount of data available on prior purchases, shopping behaviors and geo-IPs. Shoppers will be served up more and more customized promotions and content, using content personalization capabilities (like customer groups and other tools) to ensure the right message is served up to the right customers in a way we've never seen before, increasing sales in turn.

What's your top tip to succeed in ecommerce?

When making decisions for your online store, don't just think about how shoppers shop today but also the shoppers of tomorrow. Using a SaaS platform will guarantee that you have a team of world-class technologists always working to ensure your store moves at the same speed as the ecommerce industry, freeing up time for you to focus on growing your business--not keeping your platform up to date.

Nigel Stevens, SEO Manager

What trend do you think will shape the future of ecommerce?

Being present on more than one channel — and delivering a consistent, personalized experience — is becoming more and more important for online retailers. If people go to Amazon first, you want to be there. While they're still considering a purchase, you want them to see you on Facebook. Searching Google? — solidify your SEO. Getting seen is the first step, but closing the sale (on any of these channels) and seamlessly handling the inventory is where the future is.

What's your top tip to succeed in ecommerce?

Really nail down what makes your brand and/or products unique. Customers are flooded with more options than ever before, while CPA across many channels continues to climb. Retention is key to ecommerce growth, and to retain customers, you need to give them a reason to think of you first when they have a problem.

Tracey Wallace, Editor in Chief, BigCommerce Blog

What trend do you think will shape the future of ecommerce?

I could rattle off an answer about VR or shopping bots, and while those really might be the "future of ecommerce," those futures are still pretty far out. It turns out that most of the merchants I work with are still super focused on site design (to improve conversion), email marketing, PPC (both of social and search) and SEO. In fact, the level of expertise and understanding business owners and ecommerce managers are gaining in terms of SEO (both on Google and Amazon) is fascinating. No longer are they satisfied with simple keyword recommendations. SEO is highly complex and technical, but it works, and more and more ecommerce companies are spending the time to educate in-house experts. That's the future of ecommerce –– doubling down on what is working and becoming a subject matter expert on that thing. In this case, that is SEO.

What's your top tip to succeed in ecommerce?

Remember that you need to do three things: 1. Drive Traffic. 2. Convert Traffic. 3. Earn Repeat Customers. Every single thing you do should be in attempt of those things. And, if you do any one of those things well, another area benefits. And it isn't always linear. If you drive more traffic, for instance, you get more conversions. Sure –– that's simple. But, if you earn more repeat customers, you aren't spending as much on driving traffic and are still getting those conversions. That is a better way to spend your time –– optimizing for customer experience so that every customer becomes a lifelong one. Over time, your business should be spending less and less on traffic acquisition and more and more on customer engagement.

 

We hope this article gives you some inspiration for growing your ecommerce business! What do you think will be the next big ecommerce trend to take us by storm? We’d love to hear what you think so let us know in the comments section below.

Danielle Ricketts
About the author
Danielle Ricketts

Danielle Ricketts is the Copywriter and Social Media Executive at Brightpearl where she spends her time following her passions of writing, retail and social media. She can be found writing away about all things retail or engaging with followers online.