Shopify – The Road Ahead for Online Entrepreneurs in 2019

Everyone already knows that eCommerce is changing how consumers shop. There is also no shortage on trend and style reports by branding exports trying to predict what products may be hot for 2019.

Shopify, which powers over 600,000 SMB online stores, takes a look at industry and entrepreneurship trends for 2019.

More Than Half of The Baby Boomers Population Will Have More Than 1 Job

Novel approaches to commerce and social entrepreneurship will allow the gig economy to grow so much that the majority of Baby Boomers (1946-64) will have more than one income and many will start a side hustle that allows them to propel their out-of-office passions.

  • In 2018, reports stated that entrepreneurs over age 50 made up more than half of America’s small business owners. One-third of all small business owners are between 50 and 59 years old; 17% are 60 to 69 years old; and 4% are 70 or older.
  • Baby Boomer merchants (+55) on Shopify are more likely to explore entrepreneurship within specific, narrow product categories to make a secondary income.
  • Every year, more Baby Boomers are signing up for Shopify to start their own businesses.

Non-Traditional Education Will Spike

Career paths are carved through new non-traditional means: There are more online courses and resources, and direct access to industry leaders is easier than ever. The ability to make lateral leaps and pursue new opportunities is readily available.

  • Registrants across Shopify’s education channels continue to be on the uptick. Since the launch of Shopify Academy in July of 2018, we’ve seen over 145,000 enrollments in our courses.
  • 30% of those enrolled in Shopify Academy have had or currently own a Shopify shop, meaning the majority of those signed up for a course (70%) are from those not yet on Shopify, but interested in entrepreneurship.
  • Northeastern University’s Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy has outlined that hiring practices will change due to the new wave of educational and learning credentials in market, versus the historical emphasis on college degrees in hiring. More and more, companies, including Shopify, are dropping their degree requirements and will respect many diverse, unique paths into education.

AI-Informed Tools Will Increasingly Support Physical Retail in Big Ways

Consumer behaviour is shifting, and through measurement, merchants will be able to better serve their visitors – whether online or in-person. AI will also be able to provide a more personalized customer experience and help customers discover new brands.

  • AI-supported tools, such as Shopify’s virtual assistant, Kit, have been adopted at a faster rate than ever before to support and power merchant growth.
  • Capgemini reported that in the retail sector, artificial intelligence (AI) represents a $300 billion opportunity for those companies able to scale deployments across the entire value chain.
  • A Gartner study notes that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human.
  • eMarketer has reported that 52% of consumers have trouble finding the exact products they’re seeking online, but 68% are willing to consider alternatives if their desired product cannot be found.

Personal Brands with Wide Audiences will Increasingly be Key to Online Sales

Personal brands will continue to be commoditized, and every online figure has the opportunity to start their commerce journey through social media.

  • Shopify business owners have seen a 130% YOY increase in Instagram referrers to their stores, demonstrating that social media is growing as a prominent marketing and selling channel.
  • MediaKix predicts that influencer marketing global ad spend will be $5-10 billion by 2020.
  • Alibaba’s 2017 Singles Day saw six influencer-run brands rank among the top 30 female apparel stores, with four grossing over RMB 100 million ($14.6 million) in sales the same day.

Consumers Awaken to Data Protection Concerns

Regulatory crackdown will happen market-by-market to help consumer data be protected in the ripples after GDPR and the US election.

  • In a SAS study, some 67% of survey participants think the US government should do more to protect data privacy.
  • In the same study, nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents say they are more concerned about data privacy now than they were a few years ago. Just over two third (64%) feel their data is less secure today than it was a few years ago.
  • Parks Associates published reports that 77% of U.S. broadband households who are very concerned about someone hacking their online service.
  • This will contribute to consumer preference for direct-to-consumer retailers, because the relationship is 1:1 with brands they trust.

READ ALSO: Predictions for 2019 From eCommerce Experts

What are your thoughts on Shopify’s industry trends? Please use the comments section below or head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Sellers and interact with other small business owners.

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