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The E-Commerce Era – 5 Predictions About the Future of Online Shopping

Retail isn’t what it used to be. Mail-order shopping may have been around for decades, but for more than a century, in-store shopping was the only way to get serious retail therapy. Today, however, the landscape has changed. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic made e-commerce skyrocket, online shopping had been rapidly growing compared to physical storefronts. One need only compare the meteoric rise of Amazon with the rapid closing of physical stores over the past few years to see the impact of digital retail.

Whether you’re looking to buy cookware or pick up the latest electronics, there’s no doubt that online shopping is the way to go. However, the market is always changing, so let’s make some predictions about the future of online shopping to see where we’re going next.

1. An Increase in Info

When you’re buying a product in a physical store, you have many ways to judge it. Not only can you see it in person, but you can usually pick it up, look at it from different angles, and see how it feels in your hands. When you’re shopping online, however, you can’t interact with a product the same way. With the rise of digital retail, storefronts will need to make up for these limitations by offering more and more information on every product page. The data already supports this prediction – the most popular Amazon products have many images and detailed customer feedback. It’s only natural that more and more products will follow suit going forward.

2. The Rise of Reviewers

The internet has been called the great equalizer where everyone’s opinion can be freely expressed through blogs, social media, and of course, user reviews. There’s no denying that reviews can have a massive impact on business success. Shoppers are more likely to buy an item that has solid reviews, and profits increase with every additional star. A lack of reviews can discredit a company and directly hurt sales.

3. Growing the Customer Experience

Communication is one of the major drawbacks of buying from digital storefronts. While it’s easy to grab an employee and ask a question in a store, asking a question online often means sending an email to an anonymous help desk or talking to a chatbot. However, as the digital realm continues to expand, the customer service experience will have to grow too. Businesses must invest in hiring new employees to handle online inquiries or develop more advanced “chatbots” that can answer questions with more precision.

4. Addressing the Audience

When you shop at the same store multiple times, the employees start to recognize you and recommend products based on your preferences. Online retail is set to reach this same level of personalization. As complex algorithms and software become more accessible, online businesses will be able to tailor their shopping experience to their customers more thoroughly. This will stretch into facets such as what pages are recommended to users and what deals get sent to their inboxes.

5. Migrating to Mobile

Businesses can never afford to stagnate, and that’s especially true in e-commerce. Companies won’t be able to thrive by offering the same experience on a single platform; instead, they will move towards omnichannel approaches that create new flows and experiences on different platforms. In fact, 85% of internet users favored mobile platforms for e-commerce in 2019, meaning businesses will continue creating experiences tailored to mobile platforms.

It’s an exciting time for business as countless companies grow to new heights through e-commerce. Whether these predictions shake out or not, there’s no doubt that the digital world is changing by the day.