My last post, some months ago, was published just before the craziness hit for the eCommerce holiday season of 2013. Things have been extremely busy for us and instead of writing, I have been focusing on several new projects and companies rushing to build last minute functionality and use that remaining 2013 budget! It’s been a crazy time…
Now that the end of the year is upon us and 2014 is looming a couple of days away, I thought it would be a good time to share a few eCommerce predictions for changes I can see coming in 2014:
- Mobile Payments: Consumers will further drive the shift to mobile payments using technologies similar to LevelUp and Uber that centralize credit card data storage and transmission. This will keep physical cards out of the hands of people that might employ skimmers or other tactics and reduce fraud accordingly. Companies should also jump on this trend to insulate themselves from potential PCI issues that can carry fines much greater than any savings accumulated by storing and transmitting card data themselves.
- “Simple” Social: Facebook will continue to decline in usage amongst the 18-34 demographic and social commerce providers will look to new strategies encompassing social media such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Less “like my page” and more “here’s something we know you’d like”. Companies that succeed here will take an active listening role by employing complex systems that analyze customer data to provide unique product offers to individuals using these simple social tools.
- Direct to Consumer: Expansion of direct-to-consumer activities from brand manufacturers. Distributors and wholesalers will need to demonstrate their value to brand manufacturers in new ways. The reaction of some distributors and wholesales has been to threaten discontinuing brand manufacturers products in order to keep the direct-to-consumer market as it is. As the relative cost of acquiring a direct customer has dropped significantly for manufacturers since the pre-ecommerce days and many customers prefer dealing direct, look for the number of manufacturers undertaking DTC efforts to increase. And manufacturers, get ready to rethink a few processes. Dealing with a consumer requires different disciplines, processes and systems than working with a bulk buyer.
- Enterprise Mobile Expansion in Retail: Not only will we see use of mobile as a checkout platform, but as a way to work with customers on-site to present ideas, creating custom look-books, remembering sizes and preferences, and sharing across stores internally. Essentially this will be the emergence of mobile as a complete customer service platform and not just using mobile as a point-of-sale device.
- Indoor Positioning: As costs for indoor positioning systems continue to decrease, expect to see expanded use of this technology employed with mobile applications to guide consumers to specific areas within a store. Some stores such as Harrods have been using this technology for a couple of years but it should become much more mainstream in 2014 as companies invest in aligning eCommerce strategy with brick-and-mortar investments.
So, there you have it. Just a few things to watch in 2014. Let me know if you agree or disagree (prior to 2015, haha).
Here’s to a Happy New Year!