By 2021 E-commerce is anticipated to become the largest retail channel in the world, and will account for 17 percent of all US retail sales by 2022, according to retail forecasts by Euromonitor International and Forrester. It will outpace sales made through more traditional outlets, including fashion retail stores, supermarkets, and independent boutiques and grocers. The jump to 17 percent from just 12.7 percent in 2017 is a considerable one – but these figures alone do not do the industry’s incredibly rapid growth justice.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. consumers spent $517.36 billion online in 2018, with the total retail sales that year increasing by 4.1 percent to $3.63 trillion. In 2017, U.S. consumers spent $449.88 billion online. E-commerce in particular represents a growing share of the market, taking 14.3 percent of last year’s total retail sales, up from 11.6 percent just two years prior. E-commerce sales now represent more than half of all retail sales growth, and are predicted to continue growing year on year, meaning that for those seeking to invest in an industry that has a fantastic long-term global growth outlook, E-commerce may just be the answer.
“Mobile commerce is just a few years old but is already capturing considerable chunks of all E-commerce sales, and this is just one aspect of the rapidly growing e-commerce market,” said Naresh Reddy, an Adobe’s Experience Manager (AEM) Expert and E-commerce solution architect at GSPANN Technology, Inc. “The total market value today is enormous – over US$1 trillion and predicted to grow at 17 per cent each year. And we are just seeing the beginning of it all.”
Having worked closely with E-commerce stores including Kohls, William-Sonoma, and Columbia Sportswear during his years at GSPANN, Reddy is no stranger to the potential AEM offers marketers to deliver branded personalised shopping experiences across their platforms. As an AEM expert, he works regularly with companies seeking to improve user experience on their e-commerce sites, while simultaneously helping companies to lessen their dependence on third-party components so as to make their platforms more secure and user-friendly.
“E-commerce is absolutely changing the way the world does business,” he said. “Already, it has encouraged so many young entrepreneurs to try their hand at running their own business, it’s brilliant meeting these young people who are so motivated to establish their own brands.”
But, Reddy did not hesitate to add, for those retailers that choose to pursue a digital path it’s important for them to be prepared for how digital commerce will evolve over the coming years. User-specific promotions, the addition of human elements (e.g. chatbots) to online stores, and tailoring the online experience to the shopper’s personal taste are just some of the trends we will see in E-commerce in coming years. Retailers will need to become more trusted advisors to their customers and be able to provide them with immersive shopping experiences, too, according to Accenture and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). Some 63 percent of consumers surveyed by RILA recently admitted they were interested in personalized recommendations, and that the majority would be willing to share their data in exchange for exclusive benefits including credits, loyalty points, access to exclusive deals, or special offers for items that interest them.
“Geographically, it’s also interesting to see that e-commerce adoption is not evenly distributed across the globe. While it is certainly leading the way in the Asia-Pacific region, with a 13 percent penetration rate and with the burgeoning e-commerce market in China delivering sales of $1 billion per day, Western Europe hasn’t yet embraced it in the same way,” Reddy said, before adding that successful online retailers will need to tailor their digital strategies appropriately by region, country and category.
Having worked in Adobe Marketing Cloud and E-commerce tools for GSPANN for seven years now as an AEM solution architect and senior consultant, Reddy has copious experience in implementing web-content management solutions for clients using Adobe CQ5 (AEM). He was also awarded the company’s highest award, the ‘Eagle Award’, for his outstanding achievements and contribution to the company, for two consecutive years, 2017 and 2018. From humble beginnings in Hyderabad, India, and now living in the U.S., Reddy is living proof of the opportunities available to those willing to immerse themselves in the E-commerce world.
After arriving in the US, I understood how big of a thing E-commerce was becoming and how many of them were start-ups who were struggling because they had no one to help them improve the technical part of their business,” Reddy explained. “This was what interested me in working as an e-commerce solutions architect.”
“The opportunities available to computer scientists and IT experts in the blossoming e-commerce industry are boundless,” he said. “Particularly as the eCommerce market catches up in India, Brazil, Russia, Southeast Asia and other emerging markets.”