Looking at Ecommerce: Past, Present, and Future

Ecommerce Past Present Future

Oh, shopping online! One of the most convenient things about the internet and modern-day life. It provides an endless amount of options, easy payment methods, and quick shipping. No more finding a parking spot, vying with other customers, or waiting in line at checkout. What more could the modern consumer want? Well, a lot.

Let’s take a look back before we dive into the future of ecommerce. While ecommerce has been around since 1969, it wasn’t until Amazon and eBay launched in 1995 that ecommerce really started to grow exponentially. Followed by AdWords in 2000 and Etsy in 2005, searching, browsing, buying, and selling online continued to expand in unexpected ways.

Over the past decade advances and trends included:

  • a rise in drop-shipping, otherwise known as direct to customer shipping
  • constant addition of new channels like Shopify, Yahoo, and Facebook Ads
  • shorter shipping windows, and buy-up memberships for quicker shipping
  • clothing resale apps focused on re-use of goods as an environmental and cost-saving measure
  • while not lasting in all countries or industries, QR codes were hot around the globe for several years

Beyond this list were several other transformations; however, it was only the beginning of what ecommerce will become. There are a number of trends emerging and changing as they become more acceptable and preferred by consumers. These trends in ecommerce include integrating shopping channels, free standard shipping or in-store and curb pickup options, voice shopping through your favorite device, integrated inventory and auto-shipping, and alternatives to cookie-based tracking to protect privacy and increase security.

A particular concern in ecommerce today is having a mobile friendly environment. With smaller screens, readability and functionality of sites is critical.  Customers will simply not bother with slow-processing cart updates, extensive checkout processes, or cumbersome sites. The tech behind ecommerce is a key here, which is always evolving.

Industry reports all agree that ecommerce continues to grow and in was nearly a four trillion-dollar industry in 2019. Some of the growing trends and other movements producing interest that we’re sure to see in 2020 include:

  • personal product/item recommendations
  • using social media for ecommerce
  • one-click checkout options
  • further integration of e-wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and Stripe
  • in-store beacons that alert customers of sales in-store
  • flexible and customizable sites for new online vendors

Just when one begins to think it can’t possibly get any better, or something new can’t make a difference, the ingenuity of humanity sweeps in and changes life as we know it.  Among the possibilities, the future of ecommerce is already focusing on several key ideas such as:

  • integrating artificial intelligence (AI)
  • contextual and programmatic advertising
  • creating product visualization through augmented reality

Ecommerce has grown and developed into modern day life as a way of shopping for things we need and want. The future holds extensive opportunities, and, as it has in the past, will continue to focus on the end-user’s experience for best sale growth. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens in this coming decade!