What 5 Experts Say About the Future of E-Commerce

What 5 Experts Say About the Future of E Commerce image HiRes 300x300What 5 Experts Say About the Future of E CommerceDisruptive technologies in social commerce, mobile and customer experience have transformed the retail industry. The mission for all brand marketers now is to stay ahead of the curve and spot trends that will boost sales and provide customers with the most efficient and pleasurable online shopping experience. While there’s a lot of crystal ball gazing in the retail industry, we’ve gathered key insights from five experts on what the future of e-commerce holds.

By 2022, brick and mortar retail spaces will be little more than showrooms. – Eddie Machaalani & Mitchell Harper, CO-CEOs of BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a provider of e-commerce software for small and independent retailers and has achieved tremendous success since launching in 2009. It has received $75m in funding and boasts a client roster that includes Gibson Guitar and Zaggora.

In a recent Forbes CIO Network post, Machaalani and Harper boldly predicted that the shopping mall as we know it today will be much different 10 years from now. “Instead of loading up carts with goods to purchase in store, consumers will try on or sample the products in store, quickly scan and purchase items they desire, and have them delivered to their homes within hours.” To help future proof, they recommend small businesses invest in mobile, video content, social advertising and digital couponing.

Curation and personalization will be a big part of e-commerce moving forward. – Danny Rimer, Partner at Index Ventures

Danny Rimer has been with Index Ventures for 11 years where he established the firm’s London office and currently serves on a number of boards including e-commerce sites Etsy and Nastygal.

During a recent episode of Tech Crunch’s “Ask A VC” series, Lena Rao chatted with Danny about venture capital, entrepreneurship and what he envisioned for the future of e-commerce. Index Ventures has their eyes set on fashion and have a heavy focus in that space. They estimate that fashion will end up accounting for about one third of all e-commerce. Danny commented that future fashion e-commerce success won’t be based on flash sales or celebrity endorsements. It will be all about a differentiated product. He also stressed the importance of curation and personalization and said these things “point to a direct relationship with the customer.”

Mobile commerce is critical to success. –Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-Founder and CMO of Gilt

Wilson needs little introduction as an innovator and thought leader in the e-commerce space. With an extensive background and experience in luxury retail, Wilson co-founded Gilt in 2007 and completely revolutionized the fashion industry. She is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller: By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop.

In a recent one-on-one interview with Anthea Tsoukalas of The Fashion Group International of Toronto, Wilson focused on mobile commerce and a global perspective as core elements to future e-commerce success. She believes that brands that figure out mobile commerce are the ones that will ultimately succeed. She commented that “we [Gilt] are focused on creating a mobile culture first and many of our business decisions are based on this culture and how it will look and feel on a mobile phone screen.” Wilson also stressed the importance of global markets, citing that more than 40 percent of Gilt’s business is happening through mobile devices globally and that number is growing.

Don’t neglect these more modern forms of content marketing. –Linda Bustos, Director of E-commerce Research at Elastic Path Software

Bustos oversees online conversion rate improvement and profitability for some of the world’s biggest brands at Elastic Path Software. She regularly speaks at e-commerce industry events such as the X.Commerce Summit and also heads up the Get Elastic blog, which is the #1 subscribed e-commerce blog.

In a recent blog post titled “Beyond Blogging: 13 Content Marketing Opportunities for Ecommerce,” Bustos talks about the decline of traditional blogging as a marketing tool for commercial products but pointed toward future opportunities for content marketing in e-commerce.  Her list of 13 includes video, social profiles, social updates, curated content, qRated content, reverse guest blogging, reverse guest blogging, mobile apps, free digital downloads, user-generated content, co-creation, newsletter/email, Google+ hangouts, and inforgraphics. Regarding blogs, she does advise “If you’re going to shutter your existing blog, consider leaving it live or redirecting to your online shop instead of throwing up a 404 page. There’s SEO benefit in both the content and the links, don’t flush it away!”

We’re seeing a trend in the direction of NFC; it’s a big bet we’re making, and we think the industry is following suit. –Spencer Spinelli, Director of Emerging Media at Google

Spencer is Director of Emerging Media at Google, and in a recent thinkvoices, he explains why Near Field Communication (NFC) could be the future of e-commerce and a link between mobile and an improved brand experience for consumers.

NFC technologies like Google Wallet enable consumers to do things like tap a phone with their credit card and not only provide payment information but also receive and exchange coupons, offers and loyalty program perks. Spencer says that Google is doubling down on NFC because the infrastructure is already there. For example: MasterCard PAYPASS already has an install base of 140,000 merchant locations. That coupled with the security layer that NFC technology provides consumers and the continued proliferation of the smartphone is what makes Google bet that NFC is a big part of our e-commerce future.

While there’s always an element of uncertainty to the future and sudden disruptions can change everything, these five experts give us a glimpse into what lies ahead in the world of e-commerce. Innovative technology will drive change and create new ways for consumers to shop online. Retailers must respond to emerging trends and continue to keep pace with brisk changes in the e-commerce space.

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