But what are some of the experts saying about the changes that will happen to ecommerce in 2013?
Mark Kirschner, Vice CMO, Rakuten
Ecommerce has matured in dramatic ways in 2012. Each tool and trend we expect to see in the new year aims to blur the line further between the online store and your local shop.
Through the adoption and integration of curated commerce, specialized retailers, the use of video and advanced on-the-go mobile engagement, the online marketplace will become an even bigger factor alongside in-store shopping in 2013
As for curated commerce, shopping for a shirt is one thing, but shopping for a lifestyle or look is another, richer, more engaging trend we’re seeing across e-commerce industries from fashion to food. Visual heavy sites such as Pinterest have quickly become popular social media tools, allowing consumers to organize their favorite items into themed collections that they can share with others.
Not only does this fuel personal expression in shopping, but other shoppers will use these collections to inform their own purchase decisions; it’s an evolution of the powerful personal recommendation.
Ari Paparo, independent media consultant
Ecommerce has surprisingly become the hottest area of display advertising. Criteo proved that the intent captured on ecommerce sites could be monetized at scale, while Amazon quietly built a $1 billion business showing ads on product pages. Expect every ecommerce site to have a renewed focus on media, both on- and off-site, and a slew of new vendors to take advantage of this opportunity.
Mark Simpson, Founder and President of Maxymiser
This year it’s all about personalization: everything from age, geography, life stage, incorporating social profiles (e.g., married vs. single) must play a part in offering a more relevant, more valuable shopping experience. Loyalty programs as well will start to become a more important part of the ecommerce lifecycle – it’s not just for frequent fliers anymore. Now businesses across industries (retail, finance, etc.) are launching loyalty programs and integrating data into comprehensive customer profiles to offer the next level of personalization and service.
Mark Jennings, digital strategy consultant
We’ve been talking about it for some time but in 2013 your tablet game has to be perfect. With 29% of adults in the US now owning a tablet or eReader (up from 2% only three years ago) any ecommerce experience not delivering for tablet is an ‘also ran’ to savvy consumers.
CEO, Paul Miller, UBM Tech
Unlike consumer markets, the B2B area has struggled to translate long and complex buying cycles into an ecommerce experience. However, moving into 2013 as technology continues to disrupt the marketing profession and measurement of marketing performance becomes increasingly sophisticated, it is becoming possible to foresee the day that media and information companies will become an integral part of the buying cycle and will be rewarded for it.
A 2012 experiment between EETimes, Tektronix and RapidBuyr lead to some interesting direct acquisition of Tektronix scopes from the EETimes site with all companies benefitting. I expect to see more experimentation in the commerce area in the B2B space with partnerships formed with distributors and directly with vendors.
Adam Berke, AdRoll
2013 will be the year to shuck the middleman with the increasingly popular trend of selling direct to customer. Niche and mid-market brands are taking advantage of this opportunity, previously reserved for a select few, and are reaping big rewards.
Sean W. Bohan, Co-Founder, Decahedralist Strategic Consulting
2013 will be the year of Big Customer, or what Doc Searls calls Vendor Relationship Management (VRM), where startups and large companies start working on models where customers are part of the sales and marketing process instead of a goal and objective (or worse, target). An environment where the marketplace becomes a level playing field between customers and brands.
Customers can gesture their intention to a marketplace for products / services and be provided with real choice, options, and pricing on the customer’s terms. Customers as the point of origination/orientation for the data with personal controls included. VRM is additive to the marketplace – it’s won’t kill advertising or media or PR but it will create a new model of buying and selling based on customer driven INTENTION.
Oscar Trelles, Managing Director, Night Agency
Whereas a lot of catalog browsing and decision making happens now on mobile devices, actual transactions remain a sliver of total ecommerce activity. Tablets have started to change that, but optimizing ecommerce experiences for all mobile devices will be key to unlock it’s true potential in the years to come.
Jon Baron, CEO, TagMan
2013 will be the year that online and offline channels are set to come alive as advertisers use innovative technology to connect their CRM data to digital marketing on the website. Attribution will also become an even more prevalent practice in 2013, as the key to successfully growing any marketing strategy will be to correctly evaluate the effect of your marketing channels along your customers’ entire path to purchase.
Most companies tend to over-assign credit to the last channel users interact with, i.e. the ‘last click’. Marketers are becoming savvy to the perils of last click and are using data analysis to better inform and reward the highest performing channels to sale.