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The world of e-commerce is an ever changing landscape of customer needs and capabilities. It’s evolving so fast that the norms of a few years ago seem alien to us now.

We’ve already looked at evolution in a retrospective piece, but this time we’re looking forward. We’ll take some guesses at how ecommerce might evolve in the not so distant future, and see how we can adapt to stay relevant through the next eras of change.

We are in the midst of an information revolution, so what does the future hold?

Forecasts predict an upward spiral in sales revenue but in terms of new trends and features - well, emerging technologies are constantly changing the playing field.

Some key predictions include a rise in the presence of:

Smarter chat-bots

Chatbots already offer immediate assistance to online shoppers in lieu of customer support (with the heroes of this service stepping in for the nitty gritty challenges). With A.I. able to learn and adapt whilst in use, chatbots providing more dynamic features such as live product recommendations may become popular.

Personalisation marketing

Not personalised paraphernalia but personalised assistance. Omnichannel marketing allows you to collate data from separate touchpoints such as email, web-browsing and even in-store purchases to tailor each customer experience to their individual tastes and habits.

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Meanwhile, less technologically based trends in distribution and marketing include:

Subscription box models

These aren’t a new business model but they are one that is seeing resurgence. They work if you want to show off samples or smaller products in a tactile way and they help to build long-term relationships with customers by having them commit to repeat transactions.

Social media influencers

Having a celebrity wear your goods is always a good advert - just look at Calvin Klein’s ‘#mycalvins’ campaign. With the rise of social media personalities you don’t need an A-list celebrity to get the word out about your product.

One thing to remember with these trends, is that even though they may be cool, one hat does not fit all. As with any web-marketing trends, the old adage of quality over quantity rings true. It’s important to stay current if you want to stay relevant, but mix and match to find your own flavour.

We recommend investing in flexible long-term strategies that you can adapt to the changing needs of your fans. Things like communication, usability and transparency will (read: should!) always be in vogue and tend to be the basis of most trends. So no matter how you choose to stay cool, try and make sure that these things aren’t compromised.

We understand that, that can be a hard task to manage - chopping and changing with the will of the customer, especially when you’re working on providing the best service in other ways (customer support, transaction processes, brand awareness, brand integrity... and we only stop there to keep you reading). Having things like emails, personalisation or chatbots taken care of, with no maintenance on your part can help make things that bit easier.

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