Do you own a stone shop, are you into E-Commerce or are interested in starting your own shop? These 5 E-Commerce predictions might be very useful to read into or take in account.

1/ Big players will eliminate subcontractors and take shares in big E-Commerce players abroad.

A small start was already visible in 2015 when Amazon started building their own delivery service. They will start replacing all carriers and take full control of end-to-end delivery in 2016. Branded amazon trucks, an Amazon airfield and even drones (already approved in 1 state in North America) in certain parts of the world will replace current carriers like UPS and FedEx. Carriers will take a big hit as Amazon is the largest retail store they serve. I expect North America will probably be first in line followed by world coverage later in 2017+. Alibaba might try the same or acquire those services that got hit instead.
Acquiring E-Commerce companies abroad for all these big players will become big in 2016. I expect all big players to start acquiring shares in markets that are not their own, to gain foothold in other markets. Alibaba might lead in this acquiring frenzy due to their current high cash in stock status.
Though as a small store you might not feel this is important for you, it actually is. This globalization spree might create new, more easy laws and rules for selling items abroad. It’s a good thing to start seeing your company, even stone ones, outside or your normal reach and keep an eye out for good delivery services. Remember that you are relying on those same carriers that are going to take that big hit for your products. If a global company like Amazon offers way faster, trustworthy delivery service (which you won’t have acces to). What does that do for your sales? How far away is that Chinese competitor really with their half priced goods?

2/ E-Commerce will integrate back into the stone store as an addition.

Online stores have been gobbling up stone stores by the thousands in 2015 a tendency which will only increase in speed in 2016. If you do not have E-Commerce infrastructure at the moment you will be running extremely behind in 2016 when E-Commerce integrates back into stone stores. Invest or upgrade your webstore into systems that have a high innovation rates like Magento, WooCommerce or simular open source systems. Stay away from any in-house E-Commerce platforms! Why?
The reason is that the next frontier of E-Commerce lies in connecting the stone stores back to the E-Commerce platforms. Several technologies are already done and more will follow, only high innovation and integration leveled platforms like open-source ones will be able to profit fast. For example:

Beacons: A technology where you can send adds to devices that ‘walk passed’ your beacon. You give them permission as a customer to do so and in exchange for this permission, when you walk passed the store, you are awarded special bonus codes and discounts. This technology was trialled in many high profile stores in 2015 in the UK and has been deemed a great succes.

Mobile payments: It’s a trend already set with 2015 being more of a hardware ‘get ready’ year. Now that most of your devices are ready, the implementation will start fast in all stores.

mPOS: The easiest way to describe this technology is to walk into an Apple store and buy something. Aren’t those mobile cash registers great? Now think of a technology that makes YOUR mobile act the same way in every store that has this mPOS function on their webshop. Using a simple login and a ‘Yes’ after either scanning or selecting your product in a stone store, get it sent to your house if you prefer from the webshop and save the carrying space.

FB social selling: Though FB stores will still have a hard time, FB store integrations will make Facebook even more important for your sales in 2016. Think about getting delivery updates of your ordered product by messenger, instant reviewing/sharing reviews and other integrations like ordering Uber from FB.

Many more tech will follow, the well connected E-Commerce stores will see an increase in customers. They will reach out more easy to customers and creater higher customer retention rates.

3/ Affiliate marketeer influence and sales lead will grow fast.

Affiliate marketeers like Bloggers, Vloggers and other social content creators will get a bigger grip on lead markets. They will become a bigger and bigger player in delivering better and more suitable potential clients to your webshop or products.

4/ The accompanying app for your webstore will gain more importance.

Coming years, when the mobile app will be dieing, accompanying apps for E-Commerce platforms will gain importance. Making use of native functions to shop and get a better shopping experience will lead to increase in sales. Easily installed by visiting a webshop or website and already having a name for themselves thus circumventing the problem of the poor app delivery platforms.

5/ The importance of having direct E-Commerce technology access will increase.

Due to the rise in E-Commerce importance in your sales, having immediate E-Commerce knowledge access on all fields will become even more important than in 2015. E-Commerce ‘sharks’ will more and more replace any logistic, warehouse or stone stores that do not embrace E-Commerce. Eventually strong E-Commerce players will replace ALL players that do not ‘arm’ themselves with E-Commerce technology. Even if you choose not to use a certain part of E-Commerce, having the tech knowledge and being able to choose is essential.
The next shark of E-Commerce: Total system integration, is already lurking. No more building connections to software, 1 program for all your ERP, CRM, Factory control, Marketing, etc etc. They are already around and due to the above changes will get a great traction during 2016.

Do not wait around with E-Commerce tech, even if your store seems less influenced by geo location. You’ll be shark-bait before you know it.

Agree or disagree? Let me know and send me your experience!