Guest Post by Bradley Hearn
Content Strategist, ChannelAdvisor
You’ve heard the phrase before: The only constant in e-commerce is change.
Every year, massive global marketplaces grow even bigger while countless new marketplaces pop up and fight for attention and consumers. The digital marketing landscape continues to fragment, and social media and search giants scramble to reach consumers at every possible point in their increasingly convoluted path to purchase.
For retailers and brands, the result of an industry in flux is that products (and product listings) travel through an incredibly complicated e-commerce ecosystem, from marketplaces to social platforms to drop shippers to brick and mortar stores.
Sellers are constantly asking themselves how they can stay connected to the channels that matter. And most importantly, how they can stay connected to the trends of tomorrow.
Despite an ever-evolving e-commerce landscape, we see four general areas of importance for retailers and brands planning for the future:
- Mobile is significantly disrupting the landscape — The proliferation of mobile devices and the improved mobile shopping experiences for consumers have shifted the online strategies of sellers. If you want a glimpse into the future — and the mobile-first consumer culture that is finding its way to our market — look no further than behavior of Chinese consumers. E-commerce giant Alibaba even reported that two-thirds of its revenue last year came from mobile.
- Amazon will continue to grow and influence the entire industry — Like it or not, Amazon has become the primary shopping destination for the majority of online shoppers. You already know this. But Amazon isn’t just a popular marketplace and retailer. It’s an influential force that’s shaping the shopping habits of millions of consumers, who now expect low prices, unlimited assortment and expedited delivery. Also, Amazon is still growing at an incredible pace. According to Slice Intelligence, Amazon accounted for 53% of e-commerce growth in 2016, driving 43% of all e-commerce in the United States.
- Brands will evolve. Or suffer the consequences. Brands are still scrambling to adapt to e-commerce, with varying levels of success. Success for branded manufacturers will come from blazing new trails, whether that’s going direct to consumers, establishing wholesale strategies with Amazon or developing a more robust system of consumer analytics that they can leverage to help their network of authorized retailers.
Logistics is “the next major battlefield” — Thanks in large part to Amazon, consumers have been conditioned to expect fast, efficient and cheap delivery. And everyone is trying to keep up. Whether you integrate with a network of third-party fulfillment specialists or leverage Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), determining an optimized fulfillment strategy is quickly becoming the most important thing you can do when selling online.