Predictions for 2018 from eCommerce Experts

ecommerce predictions 2018

It is that time of year where the Christmas hype is dying down in eCommerce and the savvy sellers start moving their attention to the New Year and 2018.  Which is why today we are bringing you some 2018 predictions from eCommerce experts.

We would like to say Thank You to all of our friends from the world of eCommerce who are incredibly busy and managed to take some time out to share with us their insight for the year ahead.

Expert Predictions for 2018 eCommerce

richard meldnerRichard MeldnerChief Editor & Co-Founder – eSellerCafe

Amazon will choose Atlanta as its HQ2 headquarters.

Amazon will give a smartphone a second go, but this time with full Alexa integration as its main selling point.

We will see eCommerce SaaS platforms such as Volusion, BigCommerce, and Shopify embrace image search, augmented reality, and voice search.

This will boost the hosted solutions industry to differentiate themselves from self-hosted eCommerce platforms like Magento and WooCommerce.

eBay will announce an experimental payment solution to eventually replace PayPal as the dominant solution as is allowed under the agreement eBay and PayPal signed when they split the companies.

Walmart will continue to expand its eCommerce chops by buying more companies to bolster market segments.

Etsy will not be sold as I had originally predicted. I believe the company’s turnaround will be such a success that its shareholders are better served by staying independent.

The battle ground for major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target will be same day delivery in 2018. Expect to see a significant surge in same day delivery options coming to more Americans in the next year.

Bitcoin will surpass $250K by the end of 2018

dave esellercafeDave FurnessCo-Founder UnderstandingE / eSellerCafe & YouTube Creator Manc Entrepreneur

I personally think that in 2018 we will see the continued Amazon domination, more sellers getting involved in same day delivery here in the UK and faster deliveries in the USA.

I also expect there to be a shift away from Drop shipping as more people move instead to private labelling.  This will be a big theme of 2018.  The big winners will be those who invest in their own websites and brand building.

The marketplaces will obviously still have their place for quick and immediate sales, however the diversification to your own website and brand will be where big gains are made.  2018 will also become the year of video content for eCommerce businesses.

Influencer marketing will become much more prevalent.  Through the likes of YouTube, Facebook and YouTube we will see more SME’s utilising social media influencers as a means to market for their businesses.

Finally Bitcoin will experience a huge crash, lose around half of it’s value before finishing 2018 by climbing to new all time highs, with more businesses and countries recognising it as a currency.

Matthew OgborneMatt OgborneFounder – UnderstandingE / WidgetChimp / eSellerCafe

I think in 2018 we will see further stagnation from eBay and the continued growth of Amazon.

eBay will still be a huge platform for SME’s though and shouldn’t be ignored, however the Amazon growth is not going to slow down, and both marketplaces still have a part to play in your business strategy.

I also have a feeling that either eBay or Amazon are going to make a monumental ‘Balls Up’ at some point through 2018.  I don’t know what it will be and I hope I am wrong but that’s the feeling I have.

John W Hayes

John HayesFounder – Becoming The Expert

Even in an industry which moves at the speed of eCommerce, I’m always wary about predicting dramatic change in these annual year-ahead previews. I always tell my clients to concentrate on what is working now (stop chasing the future when you haven’t even invested properly in email marketing yet) and keep half-an-eye on the future so as to be ready to jump when changes make sense.

In saying that, voice (is anyone calling it vCommerce?) will continue to grow unabated on the back of hugely popular devices like the Amazon Echo and Dot. Make no mistake, Amazon already own this market and third-party sellers may already be generating sales via voice simply by being on the marketplace. However, online retailers, particularly those selling products that are regularly replenished may want to consider looking to develop an Alexa skill to capture a piece of this developing technology.

Continued political and economic uncertainty (nobody mention Brexit) will continue to put pressure on currency markets creating opportunities for some and pilling additional pressures on others. For sellers of generic products, economies of scale will naturally favour larger sellers and marketplaces. For sellers seeking larger margins in these competitive times, 2018 might be a good time to start developing you own product lines. 

On the topic of currency fluctuations…

While the world and his dog is taking a bite out of the Bitcoin (and other crypto currency) phenomenon, until the currency stabilizes it will be too risky a strategy for most eCommerce operations. When (if ever) the time is right for your store to accept alternative currencies your payment provider (PayPal, etc.) will present the opportunity. In the meantime – keep any personal investments separate from your business and please be careful.

Bardia Dejban - VolusionBardia DejbanCTO – Volusion

SMBs may not offer crypto-currency in checkout (yet) but they’ll seriously consider it.  And as many consider dipping their toe in the water, conversations about potential legal ramifications obviously have different legal implications for small businesses.

Millennials will continue to dictate your marketing strategy… and they’ll start more in online stores now, more than ever. They’re reaching their prime working and spending years so SMBs would be remiss to not to consider them in their marketing and selling plans. As software platforms make it simpler and easier to set up an online store, more and more people — especially Gen Y — will become entrepreneurs and sell online.

Amazon will be your friend — and foe. Like driving, selling on Amazon is a privilege, and not guaranteed for sellers. To put it bluntly, Amazon can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants — good or bad. Merchants with their own eCommerce websites are at a disadvantage, since customers will likely buy from Amazon to receive the discount, and the merchant doesn’t get the opportunity to really communicate and deal directly with the customer.

Online credit card fraud will continue to rise in 2018 and merchants will still be held liable. That nifty little chip (as in chip-enabled cards) just put a target on eCommerce merchants’ backs. With the additional identification verification and security measures in the brick-and-mortar world, thieves are simply shifting their focus to the eCommerce world, exploiting the cloak of anonymity of CNP transactions that are a byproduct of online commerce. Expect that block chain and/or embedded mobile payments will help thwart thieves.

Global currency fluctuations and local competition will force more online retailers to seek cross border opportunities.

Retailers that trade multi-currency are better equipped to deal fluctuations and have an advantage holding foreign currency to pay cross exchange bills. Sales decrease in one currency market, typically lead to increases in others.

Marketplaces will continue to be the driver of growth and sellers will have greater choice of platforms. Sellers that have a multi-channel approach will be best placed.

Governments will increase regulation seeking to replace lost tax revenues from companies like Apple and Google that use new technology advancements and complex global structures to minimize tax.

Tim Davies from ZellisTim DaviesFounder – Zellis.com.au

2018 looks like being the Year of Marketplaces, at least in Australia. After dominating for 18 years in Australia, eBay is sailing into a storm of competition.

A recent spate of marketplace launches by Catch, Amazon, MyDeal and Myer Market indicate a belief amongst retailers that shoppers want to browse broader inventory and selection than they might individually stock themselves.

Having options and alternatives to choose from is usually a good thing for consumers, but suddenly smaller online merchants have to weigh up the value of venturing into multiple new marketplaces, each with their own unique requirements and processes.

Keeping up with eBay is tough enough, so adding another 2 or 3 marketplace channels might add workload, effort and cost, without necessarily a dramatic increase in sales turnover.

Marketplaces will compete for consumers’ affections, and it’s likely most will settle on 2 or 3 favourites, and not check all available marketplaces each time they want to buy online. Thus online retail channels are likely to become more fragmented, each capturing only a share of the market.

With Australia’s online retail running at around 7% of total retail turnover (substantially behind UK and USA), Amazon’s arrival in Australia is expected by many to fuel strong growth in online shopping, so it’s likely the size of the pie will grow.

In my view, online retail winners in 2018 will be those who:

  1. Engage well with their customers and build human relationships
  2. Stay on trend with product selection and range breadth
  3. Deliver a consistent buyer experience and brand presence across all major channels including the most popular marketplaces

Jim from MoogentoFounder – Moogento

Jim from MoogentoIt’s time for the world of eCommerce and cryptocurrencies to become more connected. This will give us more ways to pay and track things you buy online.

eBay will become even less relevant and Amazon will complete its transformation into the world-conquering gorilla.

prabhat shah

Prabhat ShahFounder – Daytodayebay

Increased numbers of sellers on the marketplaces means an increased cost for advertisement in order to stand out and less profit.

This in turn will encourage sellers to experiment more on building their own brand and advertise via google shopping.

What are your predictions?

So as you can see from the above our experts are pretty much on some similar lines with their predictions.

There are of course a few wildcards but the theme of continued Amazon domination is clear throughout.  Perhaps an interesting note is the amount of mention Crypto Currency and Bitcoin gets mentioned.

Crypto is clearly on the radar for many eCommerce experts and could 2018 be the year it gets fully accepted into the mainstream?

We would love to hear what your thoughts are about eCommerce in 2018.  Please let us know your predictions in the comments section below.

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For almost 10 years Dave has been involved with eCommerce with a particular interest in the marketplaces and the huge opportunities available for sellers when utilizing a multi-channel strategy. After a year of being the UK’s youngest eCommerce consultant it was the opportunity to start UnderstandingE with Matt Ogborne showing the world how to utilize Magento as the Third Generation of Multi-Channel software. Dave also recently started a YouTube channel called the Manc Entrepreneur (click YouTube icon link below to watch Dave's videos) where he discusses all things eCommerce and entrepreneurship aimed to help young entrepreneurs get started on their own journey. When Dave isn’t working his main interests include, Technology, Cars and throwing himself off high things into water.

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