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5 eCommerce Predictions for 2016

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It’s hard to believe, but we’re already two months into the new year. What trends will shape the remainder of the year for brands and retailers?

Last month, we were joined by guest speaker Sucharita Mulpuru, Vice President, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, who discussed how the growth of mobile is creating opportunities for retailers and shared her predictions for the year ahead. Here are our 5 takeaways.

Amazon Continues to Grow Share
It’s no secret that Amazon dominates ecommerce sales. According to data from Macquarie Research, cited in the New York Times, Amazon was responsible for 51 cents of every $1 in eCommerce growth in 2015. And they’re showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, Amazon’s growth rate is not only outpacing other mass merchants, they’re also outpacing the overall growth rate of eCommerce.

Mobile Keeps Growing But Retailers Focus Less on Apps
It’s clear that more and more consumers are using their mobile devices to research and purchase products. But do consumers want to do so via apps or through a mobile website?  

PowerReviews research found that when it comes to accessing reviews, the majority of consumers prefer to do so through a mobile website rather than a mobile app. Instead of investing in the development of an app, it’s more strategic for brands and retailers to focus their attention on ensuring their websites are mobile-friendly and provide a good researching and shopping experience, regardless of the device their shoppers are using.

Digital Assistants Make a Splash
Devices like Amazon Echo and Amazon Dash Buttons are transforming a multi-step shopping process into one, single action. Let’s say a consumer runs out of laundry detergent. Instead of navigating to Amazon, searching for a preferred brand of detergent, adding the product to a shopping cart, completing credit card and shipping information, and having the item shipped, a consumer simply has to push a button and Amazon will automatically reorder their favorite laundry detergent and have it shipped to their home. A process that would have taken 15-20 keystrokes is now completed with the push of a button.

There will likely be more experimentation and innovation in this space, and we’ll see these types of technologies helping shoppers do other activities, like researching airline tickets or comparing prices across different websites.

Stores Won’t Be Displaced
It’s no secret that ecommerce is growing, and mobile is a big driver of this growth. According to a recent report from Forrester Research, nearly $1 trillion of U.S. retail is influenced by mobile (Brief: US Cross-Channel Retail Forecast, 2015 to 2020, January 2016). But today, the majority of purchases are still made within a physical store. And brick and mortar retail isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, many retailers that previously only sold online have opted to open physical store locations — including Amazon, Rent the Runway, and Warby Parker — just to name a few. There’s still tremendous value in brick and mortar retail, and it’s key for brands and retailers to start thinking about how in-store and online initiatives can work together to provide a great experience for customers.

It’s Too Early to Tell if Buy Buttons Will Be Transformational
There’s been a lot of buzz in the last six months about buy buttons on social media sites like Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. Millions of people use social media sites each day, and, in theory, buy buttons would make it easy for these consumers to make purchases without leaving the site. It seems like a promising way for brands to generate additional revenue. But there are significant challenges with buy buttons and adoption rate has been low. Until there is critical mass, it’s hard to predict whether buy buttons will have a big impact.

Want to find out what else was covered during the webinar? Watch the on-demand session now.


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Faith Hinz

Faith Hinz is responsible for all content marketing and social media initiatives at PowerReviews. Faith has more than eight years of online and offline marketing experience. Most recently, she managed the social media, content marketing and thought leadership efforts at In previous positions, Faith developed and executed marketing initiatives for a number of different industries, including insurance, nonprofit, healthcare and automotive.