E-commerce has continued to grow in 2017 with a disruptive effect on physical shopping malls and retail giants like H&M. The growth is likely to continue in 2018. Ingemar Gleissman, Founder and CEO of Nordic online marketplace Webgallerian, identifies the three strongest e-commerce trends in 2018:
1) Amazon expands internationally
E-commerce giant Amazon has announced its intention to expand geographically across the globe. Many national e-commerce actors are worried about what will then happen to local small and medium-sized online shops… My prediction is that mainstream shops will be hit hardest by the new competition. Small online shops will also face a tougher time. However, web shops with niched products can become winners if they find a way to be recognized in the marketplace with their brands and get assistance in marketing and sales.
2) Online marketplaces will become even bigger
The large web stores and marketplaces are becoming even bigger. What will happen to the small e-shops in this ever stronger competition? I think that their only solution is to be seen, and operate, on a functioning marketplace that can be a strong partner in marketing, logistics, distribution and also growth.
In 2018 we will see marketplaces like Amazon, Alibaba, wish.com and Webgallerian gain in popularity. That posts an opportunity for small and lesser known online stores. Online shopping malls are now so safe, simple and efficient that it can seriously compete with physical shopping malls. Special gifts that can be hard to find in physical stores, at least without spending an unreasonable time looking for them, are easy to find online with the web’s superior search functions.
3) Social shopping and experiences
The technology of today gives online marketplaces and web stores opportunities to convey a genuine shopping feeling and experience to its customers. The consumer wants a shopping experience not only in physical stores and malls, but also online. Many customers are beginning to think that physical malls are uniform and dull – the same stores are everywhere. Online marketplaces have a unique opportunity to invite customers to exciting stores they didn’t know existed, and to offer a huge and easily accessible range of goods. Social shopping will become more important: people love to talk about their shopping experiences, show and tell their friends what they have purchased, compare products and get advice from others.
By Ingemar Gleissman is Founder and CEO of Webgallerian