Online shopping has come far from its origin and it’s almost hard to believe the phenomenon began as a simple ecommerce application for ordering local pizza. However, the evolution was swift, and soon innovation after innovation turned the web into a virtual online shopping mall. Almost overnight, the landscape of Internet-based sales changed into a robust global portal, where virtually anyone in the world could order gourmet pizza from New York.
Of course, pizza is only one of many millions of products available for purchase online today, and the ecommerce ecosystem is still gaining strength. Online sales have been tagged by research experts and economists alike as today’s driving force behind retail growth, and consumers continue to favor ecommerce more every year as a preferred method for doing business. Online sales worldwide are predicted to grow exponentially in the coming years, with ecommerce revenues expected to reach 1.6 trillion by year-end.
As Internet-based purchasing in the U.S. continues to steadily rise, consumers across the globe are now rapidly adopting mobile commerce practices using smart phones and tablets. As a result, other countries have joined the U.S. as recognized players in the ecommerce market. Countries which had once been closed to online business or operating under stern ecommerce restrictions have now begun to embrace online commerce. Even several who were thought to be almost impenetrable have now taken the lead in the global ecommerce race.
Countries such as Brazil and China, which have traditionally been difficult regions for establishing turn-key online sales programs, were named in a 2014 Deloitte study as the most rapidly emerging global markets for ecommerce and m-commerce sales. This is opening doors to many enterprising U.S. merchants who have been looking to target these markets for expansion, but were uncertain about the cultural barriers. Nevertheless, as these prospective online markets continue to take shape, many inspired U.S. businesses are blazing the trail and selling online products to consumers in these countries.
The improvement of technology and how it is threading its way through the ecommerce ecosystem is also opening up excellent opportunities for particular merchants in the Chinese market. The improvement of mobile technologies and mobile applications are peaking Chinese consumer interests in trust-based products, such as maternity items and health supplements. These trends are still in the early stages, but experts predict China will outpace other countries this year as the fastest emerging ecommerce center, opening up tremendous growth potential for companies who are pursuing ripe foreign markets.
In addition, it is likely we will see a rise in partnership contracts between Chinese companies and third-party domestic service providers, such as shipping and logistics companies. Furthermore, we can also expect to see an influx of Chinese-owned, domestic-based subsidiaries, which will support their Chinese counterparts as distribution partners to make the circulation of Chinese funds more streamlined.
All of this represents great opportunities for U.S. merchants and the U.S. economy. In one direction, we’ll have U.S. merchants bringing in Chinese dollars for the online purchase of goods and services. In addition, we’ll have global businesses setting up in the U.S. to foster business in these countries. Both represent a sure stream of employment opportunities, tax revenue, and other economic benefits. In addition, China will set the example for other closed-economy countries to follow, which will only continue to strengthen the global online ecosystem, as well as the U.S. presence in the global economy.
Cleveland Brown is President and Co-founder of Payscout