Retail E-commerce is already a massive industry and, according to projections, will continue to steadily grow in the immediate future. According to Statista, worldwide E-commerce sales were over 2.8 trillion US dollars in the year 2018, and are projected to reach over 4.88 trillion US dollars by the year 2021. Based on these numbers, it is easy for business owners to conclude that a successful E-commerce strategy is a must, and no longer a luxury. Since all signs point to retail E-commerce being here to stay for the long haul, it is important to understand its future and where the retail E-commerce industry as a whole is heading. In this article, I will be discussing the future of E-commerce in 2019 and beyond.
Before we get into specific details about the future of E-commerce, it is important to understand the impact that Amazon has on the industry as a whole. Amazon is by far the most successful and profitable retail E-commerce company in the world. This is likely due to the fact that you can buy almost anything you would ever need on Amazon and because they have remarkably fast delivery times, free returns and low prices. All of these incentives that Amazon offers its customers force competing companies to offer the same, if not better, incentives than Amazon. For many companies, this presents a problem. This problem is also known as the Amazon effect.
Since Amazon is the leader in the E-commerce retail industry, it would make sense for business owners to try to replicate their strategies. For example, since Amazon offers extremely fast shipping, you need to be able to offer your consumers fast shipping as well. If you can’t offer that, you are already being beat by Amazon. As a general rule of thumb, all companies who are trying to compete with Amazon in the E-commerce retail industry should closely monitor what the company does each and every day. In doing so, you will have a better understanding of what strategies work, and which strategies don’t.
The first important thing to understand about the future of E-commerce is the role that mobile devices will inevitably play. Back when E-commerce was first introduced into society, smartphones were in the early stages of their development. They were nowhere near as popular back then as they are now. According to Statista, 2.53 billion people worldwide owned a smartphone in the year 2018. Furthermore, this number is projected to increase every year for the foreseeable future and is projected to reach 2.87 billion by the year 2020. This increase in the number of people who own smartphones has resulted in more and more people using their mobile phones to purchase goods and/or services online as opposed to their computers. All of this means that in the very near future, more E-commerce transactions will be made through mobile devices than any other platform. Therefore, you need to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile, and that you develop a mobile app. Doing both of these things will help you stay afloat when mobile commerce inevitably explodes.
As we move into 2019 and beyond, chatbots will be used more and more frequently in E-commerce. Chatbots help to improve the overall customer shopping experience. By improving the overall customer shopping experience, you increase customer satisfaction and customer engagement. By increasing customer satisfaction and customer engagement, you will ultimately increase your bottom line. For example, implementing chatbots onto your website or mobile app allows customers to get fast answers to any questions that they may have regarding your store. This is much more convenient for consumers than physically calling a store and being put on hold just to get one simple question answered. Another benefit that chatbots offer is the ability to evolve. For example, chatbots are now able to learn from customer conversations and use that knowledge to offer a more personalized E-commerce experience for each individual. There is no doubt that in the very near future, a vast majority of E-commerce stores will have chatbots on their webpages and mobile apps.
In summary, retail E-commerce is a massive industry that is only going to get bigger as time passes. Although it is impossible to predict with 100% accuracy where the future of E-commerce is headed, it is possible to make educated guesses based on data. Two of these educated guesses include the explosion of mobile commerce and the increased use of chatbots.