Top 3 Ecommerce Predictions for 2016

As 2016 draws closer, we can’t help but think about what 2016 has in store. You may want to finally commit to joining a gym or starting that elusive diet. Maybe you’re resolving to spend more time with family and less at the office. While most people are making resolutions and daydreaming, we’ve been busy cooking up our global predictions for the world of ecommerce in the year 2016. Here’s a look at the top 3:

Gen Z Will Become a Bigger Force in Online Commerce

Matt Mayes, Manager of Data Intelligence and Insights:

Adolescents (Generation Z, aged 12-17) will become a larger percentage of online commerce in North America, driven in large part by integrated experiences between ecommerce sites and social media. The ease of payment (TouchID, etc.) means that adolescents can have their fingerprint added to their parents’ mobile wallet accounts, obviating the need for their own credit card.

Retailers Will Realign Their Organizations

Julie Rousseau, Commerce Strategy Consultant:

2016 will be the year of organizational change, as attention turns to the significant organizational challenges required to deliver effectively on the omni-channel promise. The dissolution of the boundaries between ecommerce and the rest of the organization will gain momentum. Staff in traditional parts of the business are becoming digitally savvy simply through the rising tide of cultural change, and that provides unprecedented opportunities for aligning online and offline operations in the areas where they complement each other best. Companies that fail to address new organizational requirements will never fully realize the full potential of their omni-channel efforts. This being the case, consultants advising retailers on organizational realignment will make a killing.

Alibaba Will Struggle

Daniel Reckling, Senior Commerce Strategist:

Alibaba will have a hard time in 2016. Yes, they are huge but they have ceased to innovate. They are challenged in China and have yet to successfully enter new markets, which has spooked investors. One year after its record IPO, Alibaba shares lost more than one-quarter of their value. Also, many eager global retailers are knocking on China’s door and stand to gain ground and Chinese ecommerce consumers have shown a new willingness to buy directly from brands rather than through massive marketplaces.

As you can see, industry experts expect 2016 to shake up the e-commerce landscape. It’s hard to deny the impact of Gen-Z. As children and teens grow more and more connected, retailers will have the opportunity to cater to this burgeoning market through social media and personalized e-commerce offerings. Retailers that fail to address Gen-Z in 2016 may wind up on the outside looking in.

In addition to addressing a younger market, retailers and e-commerce companies will need to fully digitize their operation in order to compete. As Julie notes, brick-and-mortar and e-tail are dissolving into one another. With shoppers starting their journeys on devices and finishing in-store, the difference between an online store and a physical store must be minimal.

However, the biggest and boldest prediction of all comes from Daniel and it may have retailers breathing a sigh of relief. Industry powerhouse Alibaba’s marketshare is ripe for the taking as specific brands gain the opportunity to personalize and unify experiences.

Elana Anderson is the SVP of Worldwide Marketing for Demandware