The Future of E-Commerce
Find our new podcast, The Social Toolkit, on iTunes.
This philosophy is what food delivery services and Netflix thrive on. Consumers are more interested in commerce coming to them than actually getting in the car and going to commerce.
This is what has paved the way for the e-commerce boom.
It should come as no surprise that e-commerce is growing rapidly and changing the way customers shop. In fact, online retail purchases are expected to account for 53% of all retail sales in the U.S. by 2014.
That’s in less than 3 years! So, the big question becomes how retailers will pivot to accommodate this huge demand in the future.
Many people only think to use websites like eBay or Craigslist when they want to try out virtual store. A shared storefront like eBay is perfect if you want to sublet your apartment or sell an old iPhone.
For retailers, however, a shared storefront is completely impractical. Your e-commerce activities should be just as on-brand as your commerce activities.
They should be integrated with your online properties, be decked out with your logo, etc. There should be continuity and the customer should know exactly whom she’s buying from. Besides, how unprofessional would it be to link your “Purchase” page to Facebook Market Place? Very.
Social has emerged as one of the biggest forces in the past few years. Retailers are rushing to acquire social properties, create new positions and build online communities.
Harvard MBAs are coming around to the idea that the social ecosystem makes a difference and is here to stay. But does this mean Facebook and Twitter should be your next storefronts? No, not necessarily.
First of all, social media is not designed for e-commerce. The Facebook environment, for example, limits the e-commerce integration and leaves retailers with a less than ideal storefront.
Second, social media is for socializing Your customers want to relax and chat on Twitter, not try to make a purchase. Social is more of a marketing tool than an e-commerce tool.
The fact is that Prada and Macy’s aren’t going to send customers to a shared storefront like eBay.
It hurts branding, it hurts reputation and it would undoubtedly hurt sales. And while some brands are trying their hand at social e-commerce, it’s not the future.
The audience just isn’t in the right frame of mind, and social media platforms don’t offer the freedom required to make the social storefront work. Based on all of this information, the custom storefront was ushered in.
Companies like Shopify and Storenvy are now successfully filling in the gaps that eBay and Facebook leave. They allow you to setup your very own storefront, making e-commerce easier than you can imagine. Custom storefronts are just that – custom. You can choose a theme, upload your logo, change the background colors.
You manage the products available, the payments, etc. You’re fully in charge of your own branded e-commerce shop. Most services will even give you the tools you need to monitor analytics and manage promotions. Where other platforms fall short, this new idea of a custom storefront excels.
As e-commerce continues to grow (at approximately 10% annually for the next 4 years), we won’t be looking to Facebook or Twitter, eBay or Kijiji. Instead, we’ll be looking to companies like Shopify and Storenvy to meet the needs of retailers around the world.