The Future of E-Commerce

by Renee Warren on Nov 22, 2011
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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.

Shared Storefront

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 Storefront

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.

Custom Storefront

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.

Post Author

Geek in stilettos. Founder of Onboardly. Chocolate lover. Traveler. Tall. Canadian in San Francisco.

  • Guest

    Pardon me, but isn’t already doing what Shopify and Storenvy is doing right now?

  • In regards to:
    “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.”We see our customers revenues increasing everyday, thanks to their Facebook stores. F-commerce is the next step in the e-Commerce evolution.

  • The shopping experience is changing but not just through web storefronts. Apps are starting to play a big role in how people shop.

  • You
    have an interesting point of view. You are absolutely right that social
    networks are great marketing tools, however, I have to disagree that the future
    of e-commerce doesn’t involve social media. For example: Lady Gaga has a
    Facebook store and this is currently one of the top stores. Fans are able to
    directly purchase Lady Gaga merchandise.
    People are comfortable with Facebook because of its social aspect and this
    could lead to them buying products as long as it’s within their social comfort
    zone. This is exactly where the power of social media lies. On top of this,
    Facebook has a huge number of active users and this number equals potential
    Websites like Shopify may be a good alternative, but it requires consumers to
    take an extra step and find the shops, but with Facebook Stores, purchases are
    a click away. People spend time on Facebook anyway and allowing them to buy
    their favorite products within this social network will only ease the buyer
    process. The audience may not be in the right frame of mind yet, but they’re
    getting there and I think that this means that the combination of social media
    and e-commerce is the future.

  • There are really two themes here:  Is Facebook suited for Ecommerce.  Secondly the concept of commerce coming to you.  I would strongly argue that the biggest trend is commerce coming to you.  If you are looking for a product or service the search results are endless and minimally related to your individual Want.  Targeted ads are another attempt at spray and hope.  It is time an ecommerce solution addressed shopping and buying from the other direction.  Let Buyers  announce their intention by Posting a Want for exactly what they are looking for.  Sellers benefit because they now see qualified Buyers.  Makes to much sense not to happen.

    Facebook is a social platform that people use to share information.  They don’t really want to do their shopping and buying here.  Yes they will avail themselves of offers.  The best way to integrate peoples social networks it so enable the capability to share ecommerce information when desirable.