I hate the overuse of buzzwords, so I hate to even call it this, but it’s just too applicable here to not use it. The near term future of eCommerce is going to be the full realization of Omnichannel eCommerce.
For those that may be new to eCommerce or living under a rock for the past 5 years, Omnichannel eCommerce is just this idea of selling in a bunch of different places, aka receiving orders via various “channels”.
Omnichannel was a very hot buzz term quite a few years ago but we are just now starting to see it come into full effect. For most merchants up until this point, it really just meant: “I have an eCommerce site and I sell on Amazon”. That’s fine and everything, but that’s not a sophisticated omnichannel strategy. All of that is about to change.
eCommerce is becoming increasingly about experience and reducing friction. Combine that with platforms that hold consumer’s attention realizing the financial potential being commerce enabled. Well, you have a recipe for an Omnichannel explosion, where we see a rapid increase in the number of locations that merchants are engaging in eCommerce transactions.
This is the perfect storm because It makes sense from all perspectives. Obviously platforms that control attention and looking for as many ways as possible to monetize that audience. Creating seamless eCommerce experiences and taking a cut of the processing fees is a no brainer for them.
From a consumer perspective it makes sense. If I’m sold on an object, why would I want to leave the app I spend most of my time in to buy something when it could just be as simple as one or two clicks in the context of a user experience that I am familiar with?
Last but not least are the benefits for merchants: Increased conversions on an audience that you have already built a relationship with or are advertising to should mean a greater ROI on ad spend and increased revenue from those channels.
We are already starting to see these channels created. The biggest announcement was Instagram’s checkout capabilities. You also have Mailchimp increasing their investment in eCommerce capabilities.
If your goal is to make it as easy as possible for your customers to buy from you, which outside of some odd cases that I can’t even comprehend at the moment should be everyone’s goal, it doesn’t make sense to only have a centralized eCommerce website and forward customers from all other touchpoints into it to place their orders. There’s just too much friction in that process. From logging in to filling out the checkout and payment information, it’s just not the simplest experience, especially for new customers.
No, you as a merchant want to take eCommerce to your customers by enabling eCommerce experiences in the environment in which you interact with those customers whether it be email or social media.
That’s where eCommerce is going. You need to start embracing that Omnichannel life and looking for any opportunity you can find to take your eCommerce to your customers and not vice versa.
As always I’ll leave it to you. What do you think the near term future of eCommerce looks like? Is this realization of the promises of Omnichannel eCommerce and the complications that come with it a good thing or a bad thing?