The Future of eCommerce - Trends & Predictions in 2022
Updated · May 12, 2022
While it once seemed like a novelty, it's hard to imagine a world without ecommerce now.
We've become so used to being able to buy anything we want with the click of a button that it's hard to remember a time when we had to physically go to a store to make a purchase.
But what does the future of ecommerce hold?
Will it continue to grow at its current rapid pace, or will we see a slowdown in the industry?
The answer is somewhere in between.
There are many factors that will affect ecommerce’s future.
One of the biggest is the continued rise of m-commerce. Another factor is the increasing popularity of social ecommerce
Let’s take a deeper look.
The Future For Shoppers
eCommerce has been growing rapidly for years, and there's no reason to believe that this trend will stop any time soon.
More and more people are doing their shopping online, and businesses are responding by making it easier than ever to buy goods and services online.
eCommerce trends show that there are more users year on year.
That makes sense seeing as the industry at large is growing, but an interesting point to consider is that this growth is largely due to the prevalence and expansion of cheaper smartphones in developing nations.
The prevalence of smartphones in emerging markets is changing everything, from business, and even gaming.
eCommerce will also become more convenient for shoppers as the technology improves.
Even up until a few years ago, ecommerce was done through desktop computers, but given the rise of mobile ecommerce, nearly anyone has access to ecommerce stores, anytime, anyplace.
In fact, some of the ecommerce industry is almost exclusively on mobile now, just consider the prevalence of food delivery apps.
Lastly, ecommerce will become more integrated into everyday life. It’s already halfway there, seeing as most people are glued to their phones all day anyway, but as more appliances become “smart”, there’s more chance for integration.
Some smart fridges now order groceries for their owners, and voice assistants like Alexa can manage shopping lists too.
Augmented reality, which we’ll touch on again later, will also offer the ability to get a feel for products in the home, before actually buying them.
The Future For Businesses
While the future of ecommerce is bright for consumers, this means challenges for businesses.
Challenges they must meet if they’re to keep up with the competition.
These days, running an ecommerce site is less about constructing a monolithic online structure, and more about managing a tech stack.
Headless ecommerce, as it’s called, is the new way of doing things.
It sees a separation between different aspects of a site, in order to allow easier maintenance and customization.
As new Saas offerings arise, businesses will be able to quickly take advantage of them, without having to overhaul their whole system, and as we know, tech tends to only ever get faster and faster.
Speaking of faster, ecommerce trends show that web pages will have to be faster too. Mobile visitors “bounce” a lot faster than desktop users, and so ecommerce sites must ensure that their pages load quickly.
The threshold for what’s acceptable to customers is likely to shrink as the tech evolves. Currently, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is the way to go.
Integration With Other Streams
Many ecommerce sites have already discovered the utility of selling through social media, especially platforms like TikTok but as tech becomes more intertwined, it’s likely other avenues will open up too.
People are already shopping through their fridges, but soon they could be shopping from any touchpoint in a “Smart Home” that has access to the internet.
Of course, as ecommerce grows, more and more businesses are going to want in on the action, and so the competition each individual faces will grow too.
In order to make it, businesses will have to strengthen their offerings, customer service, and efforts to be seen…
Something that’s become just a tad harder recently.
Due to privacy concerns and fears over what data is going where, governments the world over have started becoming serious about data privacy.
This has led to shake-ups in the way advertising is allowed to be done.
In the ecommerce landscape, third-party tracking is often the first thing to go, and it’s what businesses rely on greatly. If the ability to target ads is lost, businesses are going to have to get more creative in how they serve ads.
At the current rate, it appears at least some sections of the population will always be online. Some already are.
Augmented reality (AR) is likely going to see a wider application.
While virtual reality (VR) is getting all the attention right now, AR is just more practical, seeing as it relies on a piece of tech most people already have.
These emerging trends in ecommerce will blur the lines between online and off. It’s already happening. Even physical stores are now using ecommerce payment gateways instead of the old cash register.
One day, the “e” in ecommerce may be redundant, because it will be everywhere.
It’s impossible to predict the future, but humans have gotten pretty good at leveraging data to predict trends.
That’s why we know the future of ecommerce promises growth and growing challenges.
At the same time, as the restriction on data collection shows, you can’t always rely on it.
As the market grows, and with it, your competition, remember to leverage your intuition and creativity a little too.
Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.