Well they say future is unpredictable, but when we watch industry while listing intimate observations it becomes a scientific art to identify and interpret where the current trends are heading to. Following are some predictions that are more likely to be observed at the rim of 2019’s bucket.
1. Instagram could challenge Amazon
Amazon, which has been slow to jump onboard with social media, is making a big push into Instagram and Snapchat in time for the holiday shopping season, reflecting social’s growing influence on the customer journey. Amazon kicked off its Black Friday specials by announcing that it would start posting deal codes to Snapchat, which is the third most popular social app among millennials. Amazon has also made its Instagram feed shoppable, something that a number of other retailers, such as Nordstrom and Target, have done of late. “Amazon is attempting to push the envelope on both of these platforms by incorporating a more performance-based strategy – this is a huge move,” said Esha Shah, manager of mobile strategy and innovation at Fetch.
2. Cross border no longer choice
Though we are acutely aware of the challenges that lie ahead, we see enormous potential in rethinking e-commerce fulfillment, delivery and returns. Cross-border online trade is growing annually at about 25% – a rate that most traditional retail markets can only dream of. There are currently no signs that demand for products from abroad is going to recede. Forecasters expect cross-border transactions to be worth around US$1 trillion by 2020 and make up roughly 22% of the global e-commerce market.
3. Voice shopping in vehicles
Voice-activated digital assistants are becoming familiar to many of us, with the technology arguably developed and certainly popularized by Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and the Amazon Alexa system. They are becoming increasingly common around the home, where they can be used for everything from controlling audiovisual systems (“Hey Alexa, play such-and-such a track by so-and-so” is, I suspect, a common refrain) for compiling shopping lists and accessing online information. Despite their possible security risks, digital assistants seem to be infiltrating so many homes that they may inevitably become as much a part of life as domestic staff once were.
4. Independent subscription businesses to lose subscribers
We talk a lot about how individual startups disrupt existing business models — such as Airbnb Vs hotels or Craigslist Vs newspaper classifieds — but we sometimes fail to appreciate the more massive disruptions that cut across many industries at once. E-commerce is one example: People increasingly choose to purchase everything from airplane tickets to underwear via digital storefronts. Consumer habits are slow to change, but when they do change, they cut across categories — and even iconic companies with hundreds of years of history can fall away. We are getting closer to a consumer-controlled world, and every company that spends money on advertising will be forced to find a new way to do business.
5. New Social Media platforms
Social media spending makes up a small fraction of most business’ marketing budgets. A recent survey by Duke University discovered that, on average, social media spending accounted for just 9% of the overall budget. But that number is projected to expand to nearly 22% in the next five years. Clearly, e-commerce marketers recognize the power of social media to connect with an audience. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are nearly ubiquitous in our lives. They’re like the 21st-Century Main Street; we use them to communicate, find information quickly, and increasingly, to shop for products.
6. Direct-to-consumer growth
The explosion of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands over the past few years marks a shift in the way products are sold, disrupting established industries and causing a fundamental change in brands’ relationship with consumers. Born in the online world, DTC brands are changing the way we buy everything from beauty products and mattresses, to vitamins and contact lenses, cutting out the retailer in order to own the end-to-end relationship.