Four eCommerce Predictions for 2015

Now that the dust has settled on 2014, retailers big and small are thinking about what to do this year.  The rate of change is only increasing and regardless of which direction one looks, there’s a constant influx of new information, new companies, and new competitors.

So what will this year bring? Here are a few eCommerce predictions for 2015:

Apple Pay will drive mobile payment expansion:  I talked about mobile payments in last year’s predictions, but the launch of Apple Pay will be a game changer in 2015. Whole Foods has already seen a 400% jump in mobile payments since the October launch of Apple Pay, even though it can already accepted Google Wallet. Panera Bread credits Apple Pay with 80% of its mobile payments.  Currently limited to iPhone 6 users in the US (who already love it), Apple Pay will only continue to bolster mobile payment adoption this year as new products like Apple Watch are deployed and more stores are upgraded with terminals with Near Field Communications radio technology.

Security and Compliance will get more complex: The introduction of PCI 3 will force merchants to focus on more compliance-related activities than ever before. Key changes to PCI scope will affect merchants in a much greater fashion than in prior years, and all responsible merchants will be asking their solution providers to help them comply with the new guidelines.  Heightened attention on threats like man-in-the-middle attacks will put new scrutiny on exactly how payments are processed, even when using a third-party provider that routes card data around the merchant environment.

More brick-and-mortar closings and adaptations:  I first wrote about retail closings last year, and expect this trend will continue in 2015. Wet Seal, who seemed to completely ignore online commerce, is going out of business. More companies whose heads have been stuck in the sands of retail past (ala Wet Seal) will continue to disappear this year. And it won’t end there. Retailers of all size will continue to close stores, or at least modify the store concept to align with the growth and adoption of eCommerce and the omnichannel experience. Brick-and-mortar won’t disappear in 2015, but it will adapt. The consumers have spoken. Multiple channels are important and customers expect them to be available and consistent. Retailers that aren’t working towards a seamless integration between online and offline channels will be passed over by consumers as they move toward other retailers that get it.

Enterprise Consolidation: Since omnichannel commerce is clearly here to stay, all remaining back-office barriers and internal silos will need to be dismantled this year. Large retailers will be forced to move towards a holistic view of technology, and if it hasn’t started already, that process will need to begin now. In other words, 2015 should be the year that everyone stops building separate in-store technology and online technology. Channels don’t exist in a shopper’s mind. It’s all a store to them; they just experience it differently based on their location or device. The only way to truly meet their expectations will be to tear down internal channel barriers, which you can bet will be painful, especially as we watch to see how company reorgs will play out. Painful or not, this transition will be fully necessary in order to truly align strategy with implementation.

Those are just a few things I think we’ll see this year. Let me know what you think 2015 will bring by leaving a comment below!

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