The COVID pandemic has made e-commerce more significant than ever. Team eCommerce Next interviewed Mr. Mark William Lewis, founder, and CTO of Netalico Commerce to get more insights on the evolution and new trends of the eCommerce market. Following is our interview with him:
Would eCommerce have seen a significant boom in 2020, without the repercussions arising from COVID19?
I think 2020 would have seen normal linear eCommerce growth if not for COVID19. Because of shutdowns and drastic alterations to daily life, we saw more like hockey stick growth, which would not have been likely if it hadn’t been for the unprecedented events over the past few months.
How do you predict the eCommerce market will shift and evolve in the final quarter of 2020?
In general, the retail market is getting back a little bit of its normalcy, and fewer people are being forced to shop online if they don’t want to. But due to ongoing restrictions and rules about mask-wearing, I think people will still be more hesitant to resume their regular in-store shopping. The holiday shopping season is usually trademarked by large crowds jammed into shopping malls and stores, and I think we’ll see an unprecedented shift to eCommerce for the holiday shopping season as people will be very hesitant to shop in person in those conditions.
How can entrepreneurs and SMB owners capitalize on the eCommerce boom and ensure a strong, successful presence in 2021?
I think going into 2021 there will still be a tendency towards online shopping rather than in-store purchasing until a vaccine for COVID19 has widespread availability. Until people feel almost completely safe to walk in public indoor spaces, consumer behavior will continue to trend towards online shopping. eCommerce merchants can continue to capitalize on this by acquiring new customers and providing them with a superior ecommerce experience and getting them used to an online experience that they can continue to enjoy even when things are back to closer to normal. Any businesses who aren’t online already, or whose online presence is subpar, should prioritize creating or improving their website.
What trends and technological advancements do you see having the most notable impact on the field of eCommerce?
As fulfillment and shipping providers have struggled to keep up with the sudden growth in eCommerce I think there will be a lot of innovation and growth in that space. AI will also play a bigger and bigger role in advertising, profiling customers, and product recommendations so that a potential customer sees the most relevant products to them.
The growth of SaaS eCommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce have also made it easier than ever for small businesses with little to no technical know-how to launch their own website. Because of this, we expect the accessibility and ease of shopping online will continue to grow and the user experience to continually improve.
Amazon Prime and Walmart+ are currently the top players in online retail. How will their competing influence shape the eCommerce industry moving forward, especially as stores become more digitally integrated?
I think a lot of merchants will continue to partner with Amazon and Walmart marketplaces, but also try to maintain more of their own independence. Particularly earlier this year when Amazon started prioritizing their own deliveries over other merchants’, that scared merchants and showed them how dependent they were on Amazon.
Overall, the top players will continue to set customers’ expectations for how eCommerce should operate. We’ve already seen this with Amazon’s free 2-day shipping creating an expectation among shoppers that shipping should always be free and fast. But direct-to-consumer brands especially have an opportunity to tell their brand story and connect with their customers in personal ways that the big eCom machines can’t, and we think customers will always appreciate that.
Are there any other eCommerce trends you’ve seen that we haven’t discussed that will shape the future of shopping in the U.S.?
It’s less talked about, but a big trend is the B2B ecommerce market continuing to grow at a rapid pace, as so many old wholesalers are trying to modernize their systems and get online.
We’ve also seen growth in subscriptions for consumable products, which helps shoppers by making sure they have a supply of what they need without having to think about it, and provides retailers with recurring revenue and higher customer lifetime revenue.
Mark brings with him over 15 years of web development expertise and over 8 years of eCommerce development experience working with Magento, Shopify, and WordPress design. Prior to founding Netalico, Mark worked for multiple web development agencies, startups, Hewlett Packard and NASA.
About Netalico Commerce
Netalico is a hands-on, merchant-focused eCommerce development agency that helps Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce merchants build, maintain, optimize, and grow their online stores through smart, scalable code; data-driven, conversion-focused design; and quick, personal support. We’re people and partners, not just another vendor.