- Origin and growth of e‑commerce
- Why is shopping online so popular?
- 1. Ability to shop from anywhere
- 2. The freedom to shop whenever you want
- 3. Easy access to user ratings and reviews
- 15 Areas that will transform the future of e‑commerce
- 1. Drone delivery
- 2. Voice search
- 3. M-Commerce
- 4. Virtual shopping
- 5. More personalized experience
- 6. Virtual reality
- 7. Headless architecture
- 8. Robotics
- 9. Online payments
- 10. Omnichannel
- 11. Artificial intelligence
- 12. Composable commerce
- 13. Buy now, pay later
- 14. Conversational commerce
- 15. Subscription-based commerce
- Frequently asked questions
E‑commerce sales have steadily increased over the past few decades, with more and more consumers turning to digital channels for their shopping needs. It’s not surprising that the convenience and flexibility of online shopping have made it a popular choice for people worldwide.
In this article, we’ll explore the origins and growth of e‑commerce and the reasons why shopping online has become so popular. We’ll also delve into the future and provide you with innovations that improve the online shopping experience and help online stores reach new heights.
So, whether you’re a business owner looking to grow your online presence or a consumer curious about the future of e‑commerce, this article will surely provide valuable insights about online retail.
Origin and growth of e‑commerce
The origins of electronic commerce date back to the late 1960s, when CompuServe was launched, marking the beginning of online commerce for commercial purposes. Another important date was 1979, when Michael Aldrich created the first secure data transmission using a transaction-processing computer and a doctored television.
Over the next several years, digital shopping began gaining popularity as more businesses launched websites. For example, Amazon.com was founded in 1994 and became one of the world’s most successful web retailer companies. Other companies like eBay and Alibaba also rose to prominence as the internet became more widespread and more people began to shop online.
The growth of e‑commerce continued throughout the decades, the 2000s and 2010s, as technological advances made it easier and more convenient for people to shop online.
Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets made it possible for people to shop from anywhere, anytime, and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram gave businesses new ways to connect with customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, and then web sales truly skyrocketed. With many physical stores closed due to lockdowns and social distancing requirements, people turned to online shopping in record numbers.
Before the pandemic in 2019, 53% of internet users made purchases online, and during the pandemic of -2020/21 – it was already 60%.
The pandemic has also led to changes in consumer behavior that have a lasting impact on e‑commerce. Many people who had never shopped on the internet before were forced to do so during lockdowns and discovered that it was a convenient and efficient way to shop.
In addition, many of these new internet shoppers continue to shop electronically even after the pandemic, driving online sales growth.
Why is shopping online so popular?
You already know a lot about the basics of online sales, so we’ll help focus on why it’s so popular and so often chosen by customers. In our opinion, there are three main reasons why this is the case.
1. Ability to shop from anywhere
One of the most significant reasons why shopping online has become so popular is the ability to shop anywhere in the world. You only need a wifi connection and a proper device, like your phone.
E‑commerce sales have grown exponentially over the past few years thanks to the seamless shopping experience of digital commerce. Mobile shopping has played a significant role in this growth, as more consumers turn to their smartphones to purchase on the go.
Online stores offer a wide range of products that may not be available locally, which is especially beneficial for individual customers looking for unique or niche items.
Customers are able to shop on holidays, during winter breaks, at the office, or home, without the need to go out to the shopping mall. All these factors combined have contributed to the widespread adoption of online shopping, making it a preferred option for many consumers worldwide.
2. The freedom to shop whenever you want
With mobile shopping and the convenience of mobile wallets, individuals or business buyers can shop at any time of day or night without being restricted by traditional store hours. This means users can enjoy a quick and easy buying experience without leaving.
Additionally, businesses invest in user experience and try to streamline the buying process for customers even more. That’s why we can even ask a chatbot for advice, and it will answer, even at midnight. This has made shopping online attractive for those who value convenience and efficiency.
With the ability to shop at any time, users can take advantage of discounts and special offers, too, without having to worry about missing out.
3. Easy access to user ratings and reviews
Another reason why shopping online has become so popular is the access it provides to user ratings and reviews. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores, online shopping allows individuals to read feedback and opinions from other buyers straight away, providing valuable insights into the quality and suitability of items before making a purchase.
This attribute is particularly important for individuals unsure about a product’s quality or performance and may not have the opportunity to physically examine the item before buying it. With e‑shopping, they can easily browse user reviews to make an informed decision, helping to reduce the risk of returning the order.
As you might know, online retailers often encourage customers to leave reviews, which helps to build trust and credibility with other shoppers, and it’s really cool as it helps grow your loyal customer base.
Consistently exceptional G2 reviews
15 Areas that will transform the future of e‑commerce
So as you can see, it’s no wonder that online shopping is so popular. The convenience speaks for itself. But of course, it’s not just convenience we’re talking about today. So let’s explore more about what kind of future is being created around e‑commerce.
1. Drone delivery
With the rise of q-commerce, drones will likely play an important role in the future evolution of the delivery process. For example, they may be used to deliver packages directly to customers’ doorsteps, bypassing traditional delivery methods and reducing delivery times. This would be particularly beneficial in urban areas, where traffic congestion can cause delays in delivery times.
Moreover, drones could be used to deliver packages to hard-to-reach areas, such as rural or remote regions, providing faster and more reliable delivery services to customers in these areas.
However, drone deliveries will require regulatory frameworks to ensure safety and security and address privacy concerns. Additionally, autonomous vehicles may face technical challenges, such as battery life and flight range, which must be addressed for widespread implementation.
2. Voice search
Voice search is expected to become an increasingly important part of e‑commerce trends in the future as well. With the rise of smart home devices and virtual assistants, B2B and B2C companies will need to adapt to this new mode of search to remain competitive in the market.
So, in the future, voice search will likely become more conversational and personalized, with AI‑powered algorithms that can interpret and respond to user queries more accurately. This will enable digital experiences that are more intuitive and user-friendly, helping to improve the overall customer experience.
Additionally, voice search has the potential to change how people find products and services, as well as how they interact with brands. Therefore, ensure that your offerings are easily discoverable.
Businesses will probably adapt to this new trend to provide their customers with more intuitive, personalized, and engaging digital experiences by integrating voice search into online commerce.
The future of e‑commerce is closely tied to the rise of mobile commerce (m-commerce), with an increasing number of people using their mobile devices to make purchases online. As mobile technology continues to advance, businesses that fail to adapt to this trend risk losing out on a significant market share.
In the future, consumers will likely rely on mobile devices for a wide range of shopping needs, from browsing to shopping and even customer service. And that also means you’ll need a good search engine that works great in your app. Our last study shows that the search can make up to 37% of an e‑shop’s total revenues (in the Books and Games segment). So you can’t get past such results.
This makes having an app with a good search engine a great idea, as it will both give your customers a more convenient experience and bring you more revenue.
Mobile apps can offer a range of benefits, such as faster loading times, personalized recommendations, and push notifications that alert users to special promotions or discounts. Additionally, they can provide businesses with valuable data and insights about their customers, helping to improve marketing strategies and customer engagement.
4. Virtual shopping
Virtual shopping is expected to become an essential part of the future of e‑commerce, offering customers an immersive and social shopping experience. Unlike traditional online purchasing, virtual shopping allows customers to browse with friends and interact with each other in real-time, creating a more engaging and enjoyable experience.
The main idea is that you can shop online with your friends. It’s similar to buying in the real world, where you visit a shopping mall with them. They give you advice, tell you that you look good in something or that something else doesn’t fit you.
Well, in the case of virtual shopping, you don’t have to leave the house and meet with people to help you make a decision. Instead, you virtually try on different things, and you can see, on your device, that your friend is seeing this product right now. Then, based on their feedback, you can make different decisions and either purchase or not.
5. More personalized experience
The future of e‑commerce will be driven by personalization. Businesses leveraging customer data to provide tailored experiences will be better positioned to succeed in the competitive online marketplace.
Today’s customers demand a shopping experience tailored to their specific needs and preferences. With technological advancements, e‑commerce businesses can now collect a vast amount of data on their customers, including their browsing and purchase history, demographic information, and social media activity. This data can be leveraged to provide a more personalized experience to customers.
Personalization can take various forms, including product recommendations, customized offers and promotions, personalized email campaigns, and customer service. By offering personalized services, e‑commerce businesses can create a stronger connection with their customers and increase loyalty. In addition, personalized experiences can lead to increased conversions, higher order values, and improved customer satisfaction.
6. Virtual reality
Virtual reality (VR) is quickly emerging as a significant game-changer in the world of e‑commerce. Online shopping can be enhanced by creating immersive, interactive, and lifelike environments. How? Businesses can do this through VR.
More and more companies can provide customers with a more realistic representation of their offerings, enabling them to explore and interact in new ways. Customers will be able to browse through products in a virtual environment in the future, thanks to e‑commerce businesses’ ability to create digital showrooms. In turn, this will lead to higher engagement and conversion rates because they will be able to see and experience products more meaningfully.
VR can also be used to create virtual try-on rooms where customers can try on clothing and accessories online, eliminating the need for physical stores. So, the integration of VR in e‑commerce will not only create a more immersive and engaging shopping experience but will also reduce costs for businesses.
7. Headless architecture
Headless is becoming increasingly popular in online stores due to its flexibility, scalability, and customization capabilities.
In a headless architecture, the front-end user interface is decoupled from the back-end content management system, allowing businesses to access many benefits and easily integrate with various technologies and platforms.
Additionally, with a headless architecture, e‑commerce businesses can offer more personalized experiences, faster page load times, and better user experience. Another advantage is also that there is no need to manage infrastructure, capacity, updates, etc.
So yes, the future of e‑commerce will be heavily influenced by headless architecture as businesses seek to offer their customers more customizable and flexible experiences.
Robotics is set to revolutionize the online shopping industry in the coming years. Robots can significantly enhance the efficiency and speed of operations in e‑commerce, resulting in faster order processing and delivery. Robots can also reduce labor costs and errors while improving accuracy and precision.
One of the most promising applications of robotics in digital commerce is in the area of fulfillment centers. Picking, packing, and shipping orders can be automated by robots, significantly reducing processing time and effort. Additionally, robots can also be used to handle inventory management and restocking, reducing the need for manual labor and increasing operational efficiency.
So, robotics will majorly impact e‑commerce as companies try to improve their operational efficiency and provide customers with faster and more convenient services.
9. Online payments
The drive by companies to offer customers convenient and secure payment options will make online payments a huge influence on the future of e‑commerce. They provide numerous advantages over traditional payment methods, including faster transaction times, greater convenience, and increased security.
E‑commerce businesses can offer a broader range of payment options, including digital wallets, which is more convenient for their clients. In addition, with the proliferation of smartphones, mobile payments have become a popular way to purchase. Furthermore, such payments can be used to facilitate in-store purchases, creating a seamless shopping experience.
Another significant trend in online payments is the use of blockchain technology. Blockchain offers several advantages over traditional payment systems, including increased security, transparency, and lower transaction fees.
Also, the future of e‑commerce will be heavily influenced by omnichannel as companies aim to provide a seamless and consistent experience across all channels.
With customers now using multiple channels to engage with businesses, the ability to provide an integrated experience across platforms has become essential. Omnichannel allows businesses to integrate online and offline channels, creating a unified customer shopping experience.
One of the most valuable benefits of omnichannel is the ability to provide customers with more flexibility and convenience. Shoppers can start their journey online and complete it in-store or in reverse. Additionally, businesses can use omnichannel to collect data on customer behavior across multiple channels, allowing them to provide more personalized experiences. That’s why omnichannel will play a critical role in the future.
11. Artificial intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize the e-commerce sector, enhancing personalization, operational efficiency, and customer service. AI will enable e-commerce platforms to offer tailored shopping experiences by analyzing customers’ behavior and preferences, increasing engagement and conversion rates.
In inventory and supply chain management, AI will optimize stock levels and streamline processes, reducing operational costs and ensuring timely deliveries. Additionally, AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots will offer instant, personalized responses to customer queries, improving the overall shopping experience.
The integration of AI promises a future where e-commerce is highly responsive, efficient, and customer-centric, marking a significant evolution in online shopping.
12. Composable commerce
Composable commerce is emerging as a transformative approach that promises to elevate the future of e-commerce. By allowing businesses to select and assemble various commerce services and applications based on their unique requirements, composable commerce fosters flexibility, scalability, and innovation.
In a landscape where customer expectations and market dynamics are ever-evolving, the modular architecture of composable commerce enables quick adaptations, ensuring that e-commerce platforms remain competitive and responsive. It liberates businesses from the constraints of monolithic solutions, enabling them to innovate and launch new features rapidly.
As customization and customer experience become paramount, composable commerce will be integral in delivering personalized, agile, and future-proof e-commerce solutions.
13. Buy now, pay later
“Buy Now, Pay Later” (BNPL) commerce is poised to be a significant element in the future landscape of e-commerce. It offers a flexible payment solution that caters to the immediate needs of consumers while providing an option to defer payment, enhancing the purchasing power of customers.
This model aligns with the demand for personalized and convenient shopping experiences. As e-commerce continues to evolve, integrating such consumer-centric payment alternatives will be crucial in maintaining a competitive edge. BNPL not only accommodates the financial convenience of buyers but also encourages increased cart sizes and order values for sellers.
Advanced technologies, including AI and machine learning, are expected to optimize BNPL offerings, making them more tailored, secure, and user-friendly. In the futuristic e-commerce landscape, BNPL will stand as a testament to the industry’s adaptability, signifying its readiness to innovate and align with emerging consumer preferences and economic models.
14. Conversational commerce
Conversational commerce, powered by advanced AI, is set to redefine the e-commerce experience by combining real-time customer service with online shopping.
AI-driven chatbots and virtual assistants are expected to become even more intelligent, understanding complex customer requests and emotions to offer hyper-personalized interactions. In this evolving digital marketplace, conversational commerce serves not only as a tool for transactions but also as a platform for building deeper relationships between brands and consumers.
The blend of technology and personalized interaction will make shopping an engaging experience, elevating customer satisfaction and loyalty in an increasingly competitive e-commerce landscape.
15. Subscription-based commerce
Subscription-based commerce is poised to become an integral part of the e-commerce landscape, significantly influencing consumer buying habits. The allure of personalized, convenient, and consistent service offerings is drawing more consumers towards subscription models.
Companies are innovating their subscription services, integrating AI and machine learning to enhance personalization and customer experience. This model fosters customer loyalty by providing tailored offerings, exclusive deals, and seamless service, turning occasional buyers into repeat customers.
The alignment of value-driven content and products, convenience, and an enhanced user experience will be pivotal in driving the growth of subscription-based commerce in the e-commerce sector.
The popularity of online shopping can be attributed to several factors, including the ability to shop from anywhere, at any time, and the availability of user reviews and ratings. As more and more people discover the convenience and efficiency of shopping online, e‑commerce will likely continue to grow and evolve in the years to come.
Looking ahead, the future of electronic trade is likely to be shaped by advancements in technology, such as drones, headless commerce, personalization, virtual reality, voice search, robotics, etc., which are already beginning to change how consumers shop online. In the coming years, online shopping is set to become a bigger part of our everyday lives as these technologies develop.
Frequently asked questions
Will e-commerce continue to grow?
Undoubtedly, e‑commerce will continue to grow in the coming years. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift towards online shopping, with many consumers turning to e‑commerce as a safer and more convenient way to purchase goods and services.
This trend is likely to persist even as the world recovers from the pandemic, as consumers have become accustomed to the convenience of e‑shopping and the broader range of products and services available. In addition, technological advancements, such as faster internet speeds, mobile devices, and more sophisticated online shopping platforms, make e‑commerce even more accessible and convenient.
All these factors together indicate that it will grow and evolve in exciting new ways in the years to come.
How will online shopping develop in the future?
Online shopping is set to continue its evolution in the coming years, with several trends likely to shape the industry. First, mobile commerce, or m-commerce, is expected to grow in popularity as consumers increasingly use their mobile devices to browse and make purchases.
Social commerce is also likely to become more prevalent as social media platforms provide new opportunities for businesses to engage with customers and sell products directly. In addition, retailers will need to adopt new marketing strategies to stand out in an increasingly crowded market. Advancements in technology will continue to improve the online experience for consumers, from faster page load times to more immersive product visualization tools.
With all these factors combined, shopping via the Internet will become an even more significant portion of total retail sales in the future.
Why is e-commerce the future of business?
E‑commerce is the future of business for many reasons. Firstly, buying via the Internet is easier. It’s connected with voice search, buying with the help of virtual reality, online payments, the help of robots, and the use of more advanced technology, making it an increasingly important part of retail.
Secondly, online businesses can offer a better customer experience, including personalized recommendations and the ability to shop from anywhere.
Thirdly, online shopping is far more convenient than shopping in stationery stores and is generally more cost-effective than traditional brick-and-mortar stores, making it a profitable and scalable model for many businesses.
What are the latest trends in the e‑commerce industry?
The e‑commerce industry is constantly evolving, and we have a lot of trends that have emerged in recent years. One of the most interesting trends is using drones for delivery, allowing faster and more efficient shipping. Voice search is also becoming increasingly popular.
What is the future of e-commerce?
Currently, the largest factor in the development of e-commerce is artificial intelligence. While its success is still fairly new, it’s growing substantially, and it’s becoming a great tool for marketers and e-commerce businesses. Another major factor is the way customers are going to pay for products and services in the future. Traditional payment methods may fall behind in favor of paying later or subscribing to an e-commerce store.
Barbora does magic with words in Luigi's Box as a product marketing specialist. She got into writing while studying at university as a volunteer for various civic associations. Besides being part of Luigi's Box marketing team, she co-organizes the TEDxBratislava conference, where she cares about marketing and PR.More blog posts from this author