The trends online retailers should be paying attention to this year
Here are 8 rules for eCommerce in 2019, and how we can expect the digital economy to keep expanding into every corner of our lives.
Online shopping has successfully integrated itself into nearly every facet of modern life, with customers being able to purchase almost anything off the internet and have it shipped directly to them with just a few clicks of a button. However, despite the growing importance of e-commerce in the modern economy, many professionals from all walks of life are still unfamiliar with the rules and trends that are coming to shape the contemporary business world.
E-commerce remains more important in certain areas of the world than in others, but it's becoming increasingly obvious that even developing economies are embracing its power and adopting new regulations to tame the growing digital marketplace. For those who don't want to be left behind by changes in the e-commerce industry, here are 8 e-commerce trends to be aware of in 2019, and how they will continue to drive the digital economy into every corner of our lives.
1. Continued importance of mobile devices
Mobile phones and tablets have long been important parts of everyday life and business alike, but we can expect them to take on a renewed significance in 2019. More e-commerce businesses are realizing that if they're not luring in mobile customers they'll struggle to make any profit whatsoever. This is leading e-commerce web design into a pro-mobile direction. Immensely popular e-commerce giants like Shopify are already issuing guides on how to be accessible on mobile devices because they understand that modern entrepreneurs who can't cater to the smartphone generation are unlikely to ever succeed.
2. Chinese e-commerce giants come into their own
Another e-commerce trend that will become readily apparent in 2019 is that the Western monopoly over the digital age is quickly coming to an end. Chinese e-commerce giants are rising at just as rapid a pace as their American and European counterparts, with online retailers like Alibaba’s TMALL luring in countless customers who want the convenience that digital shopping offers.
This means that future e-commerce operations will have to think about the international market much more than they previously did and that innovation and regulation in the e-commerce industry will steadily migrate away from the West and towards emerging markets.
3. Direct connections with consumers
One of the most obvious trends over the last few years has been that e-commerce businesses are moving towards direct outreach to customers instead of relying on third-parties or advertising campaigns. Manufacturers, for instance, are waking up and realizing that they can skip the middleman altogether and pitch their products directly to customers, rather than finding expensive retailers who would make their products more expensive for end-consumers.
Brand manufacturers, in particular, are going right to customers with impressive marketing pitches and enticing prices that are too good to pass up. A review of the state of the “direct to customer” model in manufacturing illustrates that companies like Nike are expecting to grow their direct to consumer sales from a paltry $6.6 billion in 2015 to a whopping $16 billion in 2020. As Nike's competitors and other brands see this success, they'll undoubtedly move to copy the company’s ambitious e-commerce-driven plan.
4. Reliance on drop shipping
Despite criticisms of the drop shipping model, it's becoming apparent that businesses still find it to be a viable means of turning a profit. Online training from sites like Ecom Elites has made this simple and retailers are discovering that they can significantly cut the costs of doing business by allowing a third-party to manage their inventory for them. This method moves away from traditional business models that have high overhead costs, which are simply unacceptable in the e-commerce industry.
5. Social selling sites remain vital
While some have been worried that digital disruption will end the importance of social selling sites like Instagram, the e-commerce industry will likely continue to find such s services imperative. The popular social media site, which is owned by the even bigger behemoth Facebook, has recently taken steps to introduce a new "stories" feature which enables brand influencers to peddle even more products to their fawning followers.
This is also indicative of the fact that personality will continue to be a vital part of the e-commerce industry throughout 2019. As long as influencers can market their personalities as a basis for scooping up new products or services, e-commerce businesses will continue to find influencer-heavy platforms like Instagram essential towards shaping the future of the industry.
6. Disruption of existing e-commerce models
One of the more jarring developments to have taken place recently is the realization by the e-commerce community that its established business models aren't entirely safe from digital disruption. While eCommerce operatives have frequently enjoyed being the ones who get to disrupt other industries, the rise of alluring new services are challenging traditional online retailers.
In established e-commerce areas like the fashion sector, for instance, new ways of delivering products to customers are challenging those who simply want to sell products. Companies like Rent the Runway and Le Tote are enabling consumers to rent clothing options via e-commerce platforms, which means that the future of the e-commerce industry could very well become defined by renting instead of selling in a number of key sectors
7. Amazon growth
One of the most foreboding trends in the eCommerce industry has been Amazon’s ceaseless growth, with the company establishing itself as perhaps the greatest monopolist of our era. E-commerce operatives have been trying to get around Amazon’s business model for years, intent to cut out the middleman and market directly to consumers, but the company’s platform has remained by far the biggest vehicle for e-commerce transactions in the world.
With Amazon continuing to spread into as many industries as possible on its quest to become everything, online retailers that refuse to cater to the company's whims could quickly find themselves isolated and locked out of the market.
8. The new industrial revolution
The most important trend for e-commerce in 2019 is that it's becoming the next industrial revolution, with the industry set on a ceaseless path of growth and innovation. As thorough research from the likes of McKinsey has made abundantly clear, developing parts of the world are latching onto e-commerce as a means of uplifting themselves from poverty. Nations like Indonesia are literally witnessing e-commerce become the central facet of economic life, with countless entrepreneurs and everyday workers alike starting their own online businesses or finding employment in one.
Thus, we shouldn’t expect the e-commerce industry to start slowing down anytime soon. Despite the hectic nature of the digital world, inundated as it is with countless scandals and data breaches, modern consumers are clearly embracing online shopping with gusto thanks to the wondrous products and services. When it comes to the developing world and bolstering lackluster economies in particular, e-commerce will become a central tool of economic growth relied upon by private businesses and government officials alike to soothe consumer demands
E-commerce may have had some time to establish itself, but don't make the mistake of thinking it's settling down and becoming stagnant anytime soon. As the rest of 2019 unfolds, we'll encounter even more e-commerce developments that disrupt current industry leaders while propelling new entrepreneurs to the forefront of the economy.