The Future of E-commerce for Brands and Retailers

Written by Grant Kneble, Digital Marketing Manager, Curotec

That e-commerce is growing is undeniable. Currently, online buying worldwide makes up more than 14% of retail purchases, with estimates putting that number closer to 22% in the next 3 years.

However, while the e-commerce of tomorrow won’t be unrecognizable to today’s shoppers, it will be different. As consumer expectations and technology both evolve, online retailers need to change their e-retail experiences to keep up.

These updates are no longer simple changes like improving your e-commerce photography, although these best practices are still important. Instead of being the way of the future, though, low hanging fruit like this is cost-of-entry, not a forward-thinking strategy.

We’ve collected 7 future trends in e-commerce here so that you can get a handle on where the industry is headed. As the saying from our Saturday morning cartoon days goes – “Knowing is half the battle”. 

Trends for the Future of E-commerce

Brands Increase Direct to Consumer Options

To catch the consumer’s eye, many brands have had to place their items with retailer partners. Without this exposure, it was hard to catch the attention of the public – if you didn’t see something in Target or Macy’s, how would you know that it existed.

The combination of social media and e-commerce has changed that dynamic. Brands can cut out the middle man, or at least marginalize the importance of retail partners to the brand’s bottom line. E-commerce SEO services make it easier to find brands. Social media provides an opportunity to advertise to a specific target audience. Influencer marketers have a lot more, well, influence with some demographics than retail partners do.

This is great news for a lot of brands because it provides a level of control and exposure that they would never have had in a traditional retail setting. Direct to consumer e-commerce offer significant benefits, like:

  • The ability to offer customized or personalized products
  • Ownership of the customer relationship; brands are no longer at the mercy of a retail partner’s customer service or experience
  • Direct access to a wealth of customer data

Progressive Web Apps 

A whopping 51% of online shoppers use their smartphones to make purchases. That number is expected to top 54% in the next year. Brands need to do everything they can to make the e-commerce experience on mobile devices as streamlined as possible.

One strategy is to use Progressive Web Apps (PWA). Like a typical mobile application, a PWA is downloaded and installed on the user’s phone. PWAs are unique, though, because they will load and be at least partially functional when the user has no network connection.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

Related to PWAs are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs). Brands must acknowledge that not every consumer is going to grant space to an app on their mobile device. Instead, brands and retailers need to plan for speedy load times and clean shopping experiences for mobile users.

AMPs provide that. Developed by Google, AMPs are pages that are designed to be mobile-first. They are simplified HTML copies of more robust webpages that load nearly instantaneously. With Google giving preference to mobile-optimized experiences, using AMPs gives you a better position in search results and gives customers a better experience.

Global E-commerce Sales Will Increase

More than $3 trillion. That’s the amount of global e-commerce sales from 2019. And that global market will only increase as shoppers across the world continue to be more comfortable with e-commerce and shopping from foreign retailers.

Online retailers need to be ready for this influx of overseas shoppers. The right e-commerce platform will better facilitate global shopping experiences. Brands may also wish to consider localizing their content for specific countries where they have a broader presence.

Integrating a payment system that accommodates multiple currencies and payment types should be part of a retailer’s operational plans. Streamlining logistics, too, with integrations or localized 3PL partners in key regions are additional solutions that will set retailers up to take advantage of the global e-commerce expansion.

A Focus on Fraud

Of course, as a retailer’s potential market expands, so does its exposure to risk. Cybersecurity will move front and center, and retailers will continue to need to pay attention to risky activities that can open up their systems to hackers.

One such area is card-no-present fraud. Credit card companies are scrambling to come up with ways that they can protect consumers against fraudulent purchases, but e-retailers need to protect themselves as well. Chargebacks can have a detrimental impact on a brand’s ability to keep their credit card processing fees low, and banking partners expect and even demand that online retailers are doing everything they can to mitigate fraud.

Online retailers can look for help outside of their platforms and card processors. There are companies that focus on identifying suspicious card-not-present purchases programmatically, and most offer APIs to integrate with the major payment processors and e-commerce platforms.

New Channels in the Path to Purchase

Online shopping won’t be all about online anymore, and this will change the path to purchase for many consumers.

We can expect alternative devices – like voice-assistants – to continue to rise in prominence. Telling your Google Home or Amazon Alexa to order more dog food without moving from your couch will become more and more common.

Additionally, retailers may start to see a backflow of opportunities, with digitally native brands offering offline experiences. Limited time pop-up stores and small, tailored brick-and-mortar experiences will continue to evolve to expand consumer’s experiences.

All of this means that e-retailers need to be on their A-game when it comes to omnichannel e-commerce. Offering a seamless shopping experience from brick-and-mortar, to online, to mobile, to voice won’t be a nice-to-have, it will be crucial to meet consumer demand.

Increases in B2B E-commerce

Although it’s been present for as long as consumer online shopping, B2B e-commerce has always fallen a bit behind its flashier sibling. That won’t be the case for much longer, however.

In fact, it’s expected that B2B e-commerce sales will outgrow B2B in 2020, with more than $7 trillion in gross online sales. The challenge for B2B brands is in providing the right experience for this unique buyer.

The B2B buyer doesn’t approach online shopping the same way a general consumer does. While B2C shopping is frequently about browsing and purchasing items that are fun and functional, B2B shopping is part of a purchaser’s job. It’s an item on their to-do list, and as such, they want to be able to find what they need quickly and move on with their day.

This puts a heavy emphasis on improving the customer experience, UI, and even performance of a B2B e-commerce site. To meet the demands of the B2B shopper, items should be easy to find and easy to buy. Slow load times and cumbersome purchase processes will drive a buyer to a retailer’s competitor. B2B e-commerce brands need to spend time optimizing their online shopping experiences now more than ever before.

All of this means one thing for online and hybrid retailers – now is not the time to sit back and coast when it comes to your e-commerce offerings. Online sales may be increasing, but it’s crucial that if you want to continue to ride the e-retail wave, you need to re-invest in your platform, operational efficiencies, and user experience. Curotec is here to help. We offer deep technical expertise in a variety of online platforms and tools, including Magento and Laravel, along with digital services, user experience design, and development.

Fairmount Partners Advises Analytical Graphics in its Pending Acquisition by Ansys

Fairmount has worked with AGI as strategic and financial advisor for over two decades and served as financial advisor on the pending transaction.

Key Highlights

  • Ansys to acquire Analytical Graphics, Inc., a premier provider of mission-driven simulation, modeling, testing and analysis software for aerospace, defense, telecommunication and intelligence applications
  • The acquisition will expand the Ansys portfolio to enable users to solve at the chip level all the way to an entire mission
  • $700 million deal expected to close in Q4 2020 pending the receipt of regulatory clearance

Read more.

Fairmount Partners Advises Analytical Graphics in its Pending Acquisition by Ansys

Fairmount has worked with AGI as strategic and financial advisor for over two decades and served as financial advisor on the pending transaction.

Key Highlights

  • Ansys to acquire Analytical Graphics, Inc., a premier provider of mission-driven simulation, modeling, testing and analysis software for aerospace, defense, telecommunication and intelligence applications
  • The acquisition will expand the Ansys portfolio to enable users to solve at the chip level all the way to an entire mission
  • $700 million deal expected to close in Q4 2020 pending the receipt of regulatory clearance

Read more.

Tiffanie Stanard, Carter McClure, Kalyana Rao Konda, and Jim Dever Join PACT’s Board of Directors

PACT welcomed four new Board Members at its Quarterly Board Meeting held on October 8

Philadelphia, October 15, 2020 – The Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) is excited to announce four additions to its Board of Directors: Tiffanie Stanard of Stimulus, Carter McClure of 1776 / Pennovation Center, Kalyana Rao Konda of Cigniti Technologies, and Jim Dever of Bank of America. Each individual brings a plethora of expertise, insight and knowledge to the PACT Board as the organization expands its vision to be the go-to resource for fast growing companies, a driver of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Philadelphia region and a leader in creating access and equity for underrepresented founders.

“We are excited to welcome Tiffanie, Carter, Kalyan, and Jim to our board. We are grateful for the support and leadership provided by our Board of Directors. Their engagement, ideas, and collaboration lay the groundwork for PACT’s ultimate success,” said Dean Miller, President and CEO of PACT, “Our Board’s dedication helps PACT provide and expand top notch programs and services to strengthen and grow our entrepreneurial community inclusively,” ended Miller.

Tiffanie Stanard
Founder/CEO, Stimulus
Tiffanie Stanard is known for following all of her passions for over 13 years – she is a techie, a creative, media personality/producer and an award-winning entrepreneur. Stanard has been named One of the 15 Women Changing the Face of Technology, Innovator of the Year, One of the Top 100 Women Visionary Leaders to Watch, among many more honors. Tiffanie is the Founder/CEO of Stimulus, a relationship intelligence SaaS platform that uses data and analytics to help companies (of all sizes and across industries) make better purchasing decisions. The Stimulus team is backed by amazing investors including Google for Startups. Learn More.

Carter McClure
Managing Director, Pennovation Center, 1776
Carter McClure is the Managing Director for the Pennovation Center, a technology incubator and co-working space collaborative between The University of Penn and 1776. Carter’s passion lies at the intersection of innovation, inclusion and impact. He has an M.B.A. from Hampton University and is a certified information systems specialist. Prior to his work in business incubation, Carter managed financial analysis for companies including Motorola, Caremark Rx, and Citibank of Chicago. Carter has 15+ years’ experience in business assistance and incubation and a wealth of experience with incubation programming, university student and faculty entrepreneurship, and business partnerships and collaboration. Previously, he led the Mason Enterprise Center at George Mason University and the Business Accelerator Program at East Stroudsburg University where he was instrumental in heading the university-wide strategic task force on social innovation and entrepreneurship. Learn more.

Kalyana Rao Konda
President, NA East, Cigniti Technologies
Kalyana Rao Konda (Kalyan) is the President at Cigniti North America. In this role, he is responsible for driving revenue growth for Cigniti and achieving success for Cigniti’s clients. Kalyan is a seasoned leader with 20+ years of experience in Sales & Marketing, Operational Planning, Technology, Partnerships and he helps Cigniti teams design custom solutions, ensuring great service delivery. He also is a speaker at diverse industry and technology forums, webinars and podcasts and also has a patent pending in the area of Intelligent Test Scenario generation. Learn more.

Jim Dever
Greater Philadelphia Market President
Market Executive, Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America
As Market President, Jim is Bank of America’s leader in the Greater Philadelphia market. In this role, Jim is responsible for connecting businesses, families and individuals to the banking and investment teams that help them improve their financial lives. He also leads the work to deploy Bank of America’s resources in the region to help address social and economic concerns and build strong communities. Learn more.

Check out PACT’s website for a full list of its Board of Directors. For more information, please contact Amanda Nardi Di Filippo.

About Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT)
PACT’s vision is to be the go-to resource for fast growing companies, and a driver of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Philadelphia region. PACT provides its members with valuable content and connections to capital, coaching, and customers that will accelerate their growth and success, and to collaborate with other organizations to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. www.philadelphiapact.com

Media Contact:
Amanda Nardi Di Filippo
609-790-6206
adifilippo@philadelphiapact.com

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