The ever changing ecommerce industry has grown tremendously within the past few years. At one time, smartphones weren’t considered as an online shopping device, and now more people are using mobile to connect with stores. Social media has also made it possible for businesses to connect with their customers. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have ways in which consumers can shop right through the app. Innovations such as this have fundamentally changed the marketplace. Where once brick-and-mortar stores dominated, now online stores have become their storefronts. This is all due to the increase in mobile marketing which has dominated every industry. What’s next to transform the landscape of ecommerce?
Retail behemoths Amazon and Walmart are constantly at odds trying to out-do the other. Despite being on completely opposing ends of the spectrum, both companies are competing by strengthening that which they lack. In the last few years, Amazon has slowly begun moving into the brick-and-mortar side of commerce, while Walmart strives to gain footing in the online sector. Following behind them is Apple Inc, Homedepot, Best Buy and Macy’s. And it’s not just Walmart that is in competition with Amazon. Apple is trying to take on the ecommerce giant in the digital book market. Macy’s is still the leading in apparel, though the company is also feeling the looming threat with Amazon taking a chunk of its shares. According to Macy’s CEO, the continued success of Macy’s relies on an omnichannel approach to their business.
Over the last few years, Walmart has been working to create an enhanced omnichannel experience. From acquiring Jet.com to implementing more selections for delivery, the company has been working to update its image. With its large quantity of stores, Walmart currently brings in far more revenue than Amazon, but future prospects show it is only growing. When it comes to market value, however, the internet giant far exceeds Walmart with $700 billion to $310 billion. Considering the numbers and Amazon’s aggressive expansion into so many industries, it’s hard to imagine any company being able to get ahead.
Despite the fact that many retailers are attempting to take on the internet giant, Walmart is its only closest competitor. There were even rumors that Amazon would attempt to acquire Target, though that hasn’t been the case. Best Buy was considered as a viable competitor, but has now entered into a partnership with Amazon for it’s televisions. Other companies with a promising outlook are Nordstrom, which has opened new service-driven stores that are trying to bring online shopping to the real world. So far, only Walmart really has any kind of advantage, and even then the outlook is not high.
Minimalism is on the rise. With so much content over saturation, consumers are taking time away from the screens and not be plugged in. What does this mean for marketing? Brands are using too many channels to reach their audience. The focus will now be to create less frequent but higher quality content. This all comes down to saving consumer attention. With so much going on, there’s only a limited time to catch the interest of shoppers. Businesses need to think outside of the box and surprise their audience. Brands need to harness data mined by A.I and use it to give personalized experiences. Consumers want to shop for brands that have a purpose and will help them discover theirs. This all requires knowing the audience and being able to capture their attention before another company does it first.
AIs are mining customer data to find out the best way to target them and give them a better shopping experience. This is paving the way for true one-to-one marketing, where brands are connecting with individual consumers. This is taken a step further with machine learning algorithms that can track location in store and make decisions based on what was being looked at. There are a few companies that do an excellent job of personalizing content, such as Spotify and Netflix.
The online market is huge, and having the entire world on at one’s fingertips makes it even bigger. The savvy shopper compare several businesses to each other to get the lowest price. This could be made even more beneficial for with the lowest prices coming from out of the country. But it also means being able to reach a wider, more globalized audience.
The future of ecommerce is all about increased personalization to get that coveted one-to-one marketing strategy. Collecting data so that this can happen is important to the success of your brand in the future. Create high quality content, not high quantity content. It’s the only way to truly compete against the big retail giants and make your brand stand out. While it’s true that Amazon has a hold on the entire retail industry, it’s possible to thrive in its shadow. And in the case of its competitors, some might even join forces so as not to lose their place in the market. This could prove beneficial in the future for consumers if businesses put aside rivalries to work together and create better experiences.