What is the future of e-commerce? Right now, it’s going strong, with no end in sight. eMarketer explained in its 2013 forecast that U.S. retail e-commerce sales in 2013 were expected to have a 14.8 percent increase over sales from the year before. Nonetheless, these are only U.S. retail sales, and retail only makes up a tiny portion of this major industry, and e-commerce sales go far beyond the United States.
Zacks explains that in 2010, business-to-business companies were making up 90 percent of sales in this industry. The main players were manufacturing, with 46.4 percent of sales, and merchant wholesaler companies, with 24.6 percent, compared to business-to-consumer companies, which include retailers, with 4.4 percent, and service providers with 2.3 percent. However, the retail section had already increased its sales to 5.4 percent by 2012 and is expected to continue growing to 11 percent by 2015.
E-commerce companies continue to find new ways to keep their businesses alive and to help them grow. With new methods and major new e-commerce companies popping up, the industry has become a quick changing one. So where will the industry go from here? We will go over some of the expected changes in the industry that your company can get excited about.
Taking Advantage of Emerging and Growing Technologies
This industry has to follow technology trends and it is important to move with them to ensure your business doesn’t get left behind. A prime example of this is selling products via mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Companies have already been transitioning to this technology, and eMarketer predicts that U.S. Internet retail sales will continue to grow, with 25 percent of sales coming from mobile by 2017, compared to 11 percent in 2013. As additional new technologies emerge, e-commerce will need to continue to adapt.
Since they shop online, customers are not limited to the businesses in their geographical area — they can purchase from companies around the world. Kaushal Shah notes on Enterprise CIO Forum that globally, sales in this industry have an annual growth of 20 percent.
The most growth is seen in North America, but BrainSINS explains that Asia is a new prominent player to keep an eye on. Some of the major companies in the industry, such as Tmall and Rakuten, come from China and Japan. Nonetheless, Shah notes that there are many other regions in on the game, including Latin America, the U.K., Saudi Arabia and parts of Europe.
As globalization continues, this global e-commerce trend is expected to grow along with it. While this means more competition, it also means more potential customers. To take advantage of this trend, your company should come up with ways to reach customers throughout the world.
How to Move Forward
For e-commerce companies to keep up with industry changes and to keep moving forward, they need to utilize helpful and innovative e-commerce solutions. Some of the current areas to focus on as the industry moves forward include improving the way customers can use mobile devices to interact with your company, collecting data to improve marketing and giving customers a personalized, no-hassle experience. Look to e-commerce solutions like configurator software, an independent pay service, CRM and ERP software, and similar tools to help work towards these goals.
The e-commerce industry has been growing and changing quickly with new technologies, globalization and a culture that looks for quick and convenient ways to shop. It is expected to continue growing, and each company will need to pay attention and adapt to these changes to stay in the game and get ahead.
AuGuest author Ron Mouw is the Vice President of Business Development at Configure One. Configure One is a private enterprise that specializes in CPQ (configure price quote) and product configurator software for businesses in the e-commerce industry.