2017 came and went in a big way for eCommerce. As the year comes to a close, we are looking to the future to prepare for the best year yet. If you are beginning to prepare for the new year, here are 5 trends you can expect to see taking it to the next level in eCommerce this year.

  1. Omnichannel is More Than a Buzzword

What it has been: Traditionally Retailers in particular used the word “omnichannel” to refer to a buy online, pickup in store transaction, with some offering to buy in store, deliver to home as well.

What it will be: We have already seen cool mobile tech such as notifying grocery pickup using beacons with one Broadleaf client instead of having to call ahead. We also have seen purchases happening in store using mobile devices rather than a Point of Sale (POS), which then cross- or up-sell a consumer. And great brands like The Buckle allow consumers to buy online and return or exchange in store without having to go through all the hassle of credit card returns and repurchasing.

  1. Personalized Shopping Experiences

What it has been: Traditionally, online Retailers in particular have used third party Recommendation Engine technology to look at browse and order history, some using Big Data, to serve up things we’re used to seeing like “Customers also purchased” and “also viewed” recommendations. Ad networks also have traditionally followed consumers using cookies to track your product views and show them to you on other websites you browse.

What it will be: More “assumptive” so that you can “pick up where you left off” and even buy products with a single click when you’re not on Amazon, now that the Amazon one-click patent has expired. We also expect to see householding make its’ way into personalization - so that you don’t get recommendations of your kids’ toys you just purchased as recommendation algorithms and browser/device technology start telling eCommerce sites which user in a household is actually the one browsing online.

  1. The Convergence of B2C and B2B

What it has been: Traditionally B2B and B2C sites have been completely separate sites, many times with completely separate catalogs.

What it will be: As more businesses find value across shared technology, including those online, we expect to see the ability to roll-out a single code base with separate content and catalog tech, such as with Broadleaf’s Multi-Site Edition, become more important. Now that Amazon has entered the B2B game and the Google search engine doesn’t differentiate between B2C and B2B product search queries, we expect to see brands leveraging all their SEO power to return as a top organic result.

  1. Brands Establish Their Own Marketplaces

What it has been: The Amazon Marketplace has been seen as both a competitor and partner, eBay close behind, and many others that specialize in an Industry or Geography.

What it will be: As big brands start to establish a reputation, a natural growth is through additional Merchandising relationships using their own Marketplace - at Broadleaf, we are in the middle of many Marketplace Edition projects which are set to launch in 2018, where vendors control their own catalog and content, which is run by a workflow/approval process of the online merchandiser, and ultimately drop shipped, cross-docked or direct shipped to the customer through a single cart and checkout experience.

  1. It’s (Still) All About Mobile

What it has been: Mobile eCommerce has exploded with the development of the smartphone and the rise of popularity in mobile apps. However, while mobile shopping has become more accessible, many online stores have not implemented a mobile strategy.

What it will be: A Goldman Sachs forecast has estimated that mobile eCommerce revenue in 2018 will equal the total eCommerce revenue for 2013, a whopping $626 billion. Many shoppers are using mobile shopping to research products before purchase, meaning sites that aren’t mobile friendly could be losing customers simply because they cannot navigate the site. Having a mobile-friendly design is only going to be mandatory in 2018, so if you haven’t been planning for your mobile users, it’s time to start. This mobile strategy blog can help you get started.

At Broadleaf, we’re excited to see what’s to come for eCommerce in 2018. With consumers growing accustomed to the advancements of eCommerce in 2017, online businesses and brick and mortar stores will need to continue to innovate to keep the upper hand. If you are thinking about your next steps to keep up in eCommerce, take a look at Broadleaf and request a 1:1 demo of the framework or contact Broadleaf to tell us more about your eCommerce needs.