The onward march and transformation of ecommerce

PART 1

This is the first article in a series that seeks to provide some leading insights into the rapid transformation of ecommerce, and the trends that are powering this.

Every day we are constantly reminded of the challenges facing the high street and how bricks & mortar retailers are constantly struggling to maintain consumer interest, footfall and conversion. It can sometimes appear as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel, as every week another retailer issues a bad news story. There is limited optimism that this flow can be stemmed anytime soon.

However, the opportunity for establishing a successful ecommerce business continues to develop and grow, but this is also not without its challenges. As with any digital business, the rapid speed of change required to implement a successful program can put a huge strain on a leading brand or retailer to keep up, let alone flourish.

“To successfully respond to the myriad of changes that shake the world, transformation into a new style of management is required. The route to take is what I call profound knowledge — knowledge for leadership of transformation.” Philip Sheldrake

So, what are the challenges and leading trends for companies wishing to establish a successful ecommerce business today? They are broad and deep, and constantly shifting as new disruptors and players enter the market. It can be likened to a Perfect Storm. There are multiple and varied trends that are converging to transform this space, and all within a seemingly very short time period. They include but are not limited to:

  • Rising consumer expectations: There is the increasing consumer perception, as to what an acceptable online experience should be. This is being driven and accelerated by other digital innovations like AirBnB, Uber, Deliveroo etc.
  • Rethinking business models: There is the increasing importance of engaging Direct to Consumer. The growing power of companies like Amazon, along with the rising commoditization that results, is highlighting to brands why they must establish direct consumer relationships in order to build and sustain emotional brand connections.
  • New engagement channels: The options for consumers to purchase are continuing to expand and blend with the rise of Internet of Things (IoT), social shopping, increasing use of mobile (up to 75% of total purchases in fast fashion) and marketplaces etc.
  • Changing product discovery: The very nature of product discovery is expanding through an increasing range of ways to interact, such as visual search, voice search and the use of virtual assistants, etc. There is a coming of age of conversational search.
  • More data points: There is an explosion in the number of different data points that can inform shopper intent. This opens up many more ways to create an outstanding experience, by using this data in a way that better personalizes the shopper experience. The trick is knowing what data really does inform consumer interest and purchase intent.
  • Evolving platform technology: Cloud technology is changing rapidly. There is a clear move in the market to more open, extensible architecture that can deliver flexibility, agility and the ability to rapidly test & learn. The ability to continuously innovate is now becomes a must-have.

As you review this list, you realize just how significant these changes are. Consumer habits and expectations are changing, business models are evolving, and routes to market are transforming. It seems that nothing is remaining stable. The reality is that the winners will be those that are able to rapidly address a multitude of different business challenges, whilst keeping pace with the speed of change.

“It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and to adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” Charles Darwin in his book ‘Origin of Species’

In addition, add in the growing importance of supply chain sustainability, identifying and tracking provenance, incorporating corporate social responsibility and taking care of the environment. When you consider all these factors, it is clear that companies that are able to adapt, embrace and lead these trends are the ones who will establish and sustain success.

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” Mario Andretti, F1 World Champion

Success, in the future world of ecommerce, will be defined by those companies and brands that are able to achieve competitive differentiation and a clear distinctive positioning in the eyes of the shopper, whilst still achieving their critical business goals.

Please feel free to reach out to me directly on dnewberry@attraqt.com if you have any questions. Alternatively, watch our video to discover how Attraqt is transforming the ecommerce experience for the world’s best retailers.