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“No industry,” wrote Harvard Business Review at the close of 2018, “is failing faster than retail.” At risk of contradicting the Crimson: bullshit. Sweeping proclamations make for great sound bites and (scholarly) clickbait. But the truth? Not so much.

At the opposite extreme lay headlines trumpeting “voice-search buying,” “Instagram-worthy pop-ups,” and “VR-enabled O2O experiences.”

What the data shows — and what the leaders we spoke to from brands at the forefront said — isn’t that retail is failing nor that success is tied to innovation for innovation’s sake. Instead, it points to the now unignorable center of commerce: customer choice.

What is the future of ecommerce for 2019 and beyond? 10 insights offer the answer:

1. Ecommerce v Retail: The Dichotomy Ends
2. DTC Emerges as Commerce’s Future
3. More than “Digitally Native” Tactics
4. Content Becomes the Holy Grail of Growth
5. Physical and Digital Solidify Their Relationship
6. Social Commerce Evolves or Limps to the Grave
7. Channels Must Deliver on Their Promises
8. Mobile Buying Is (Almost) the New Normal
9. Micro-Moments Win or Lose Conversions
10. International Ecommerce Expands to the East

  • DH

    Derric Haynie

    7 months ago #

    Perhaps brick-and-mortar retail, but certainly not Ecommerce. I look forward to the "great merge" of Ecom and retail.

    • AO

      Aaron Orendorff

      7 months ago #

      Nah, neither brick-and-mortar retail nor ecommerce. Both are thriving. Both are evolving. In fact, this might make for a really great slide deck ;-)

  • CH

    Cara Hogan

    7 months ago #

    One of the best predictions post I've read focused on ecommerce, hands down.

    • AO

      Aaron Orendorff

      7 months ago #

      We really worked hard to make it about the present and coming realities … so big thanks for that comment :)

  • TT

    TURNDOG Turner

    7 months ago #

    Damn... the effort and art gone into this is insane. Great article. Genius!!

    • AO

      Aaron Orendorff

      7 months ago #

      I love that you used the word "art" to describe a piece of ecommerce content. I think that means I should just retire now ;-)

  • WH

    William Harris

    7 months ago #

    Wow - incredible work. There's so much that I agree with here!

  • DH

    David Hoos

    7 months ago #

    "Choice, not location, is commerce’s greatest opportunity and its most-looming threat." You couldn't have said it better Aaron! Amazing work.

    • AO

      Aaron Orendorff

      7 months ago #

      Much appreciated, David. (And if you woulda seen all the drafts and revisions this thing went through … you'd know just how right you were about saying "it better.")

  • SB

    Siddharth Bharath

    7 months ago #

    "Direct and meaningful connections to customers that include but extend far beyond mere products." Preach!

  • JD

    Johnathan Dane

    7 months ago #

    I've been thinking this for a while, around the content being such a cornerstone. Not just for traffic, but for building a brand that rises above the noises that continues to grow.

    • AO

      Aaron Orendorff

      7 months ago #

      Same here … in fact, I've got a kind of companion piece to this coming out next week that unpacks the content + commerce idea more fully … stay tuned, buddy.

  • BW

    Bill Widmer

    7 months ago #

    I think the other comments about sum it up. Incredible work, man! It's obvious you poured your soul into this one.

  • BI

    Bia4music ir

    7 months ago #

    nice

  • VP

    Victoria Petersen

    7 months ago #

    This is fantastic! Great read, Aaron.

  • MD

    Marie Delgado

    7 months ago #

    When I see it's a Shopify post, it's hard to expect something other than honest analysis. Thank you!

  • BN

    Bhupinder Nayyar

    7 months ago #

    Insane work by Aaron. :)

    • AO

      Aaron Orendorff

      7 months ago #

      I put my back into this one … something I try to do from time to time ;-) Means a lot to read that kinda feedback

  • KH

    Kate Harvey

    7 months ago #

    Fantastic post! I'm not even in the ecomm industry and I read the entire thing!

  • MF

    Marius F

    7 months ago #

    I genuinely think that we are approaching the end of the divide that is retail and ecommerce. Now retailers are becoming tuned to the idea that it's not pricing that matters but experience, seamless flow from beginning to end. Not being lead around like cattle as grocery stores do.

  • RG

    Reed Goossens

    7 months ago #

    In recent years, the Ecommerce revolution has transformed shopping to the point where you can find a great deal without even getting dressed.

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