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3 E-Commerce Predictions for 2016

March 10, 2016

E-commerce evolves at the speed of technology. Retailers should be prepared to adopt the latest technologies to remain competitive in an increasingly globalized marketplace. What does 2016 have in store for the world of e-commerce?

E-Commerce Markets: What’s In, What’s Out

In the retail market, categories ebb and flow like the tide. For 2016, experts are predicting a surge in several areas:

  • Activewear. As Americans become increasingly concerned with improving and maintaining their health, retailers are providing fitness wear options beyond baggy sweatpants and cutoffs. The explosion of “athleisure” wear has created a market that doesn’t just target fitness nuts. Sporting goods and fitness tracker sales are also booming, with e-commerce visits up 38%.
  • Baby products. With the recession coming to a close, younger couples finally feel financially secure enough to start families. Baby products are expected to be a growing market in 2016, but think beyond the traditional pampers and wipes. Millennials are treating their youngsters to their own philosophy of transparency and ethics, so brands like the Honest Co. and Seventh Generation, which focus on safe products and ethical practices, are expected to see big leaps.
  • Furniture and home goods. This used to be an industry reserved for the brick and mortar store, but no longer. Technology like 360 viewing and virtual planning is making it easier to envision what a couch or accent piece will look like in a consumer’s space. With options like free delivery to sweeten the pot, expect the home market to experience serious growth in the coming year.
  • Pet products. Our furry friends are more than just pets; they’re part of the family. E-commerce retailers can expect to benefit from this mindset, as more consumers look to buy pet care accessories online. From sweaters to handbags, styling your pet has become more of a personal statement. While teacup animals and doggie gloves may fade from the spotlight, essentials like leashes and collars will never go out of style.
  • Specialty food products. Consumers are increasingly interested in where their food comes from and what goes into it. Niche markets like paleo, vegan, and gluten-free will continue to grow in 2016. Delivery services like Thrive Market and Hello Fresh provide busy customers with quality ingredients, so solutions like these are expected to thrive in the coming year.
  • Smaller makers. Though the way we conduct business may be more globalized, customers crave to support smaller artisans and businesses. Websites like Etsy and the launch of Amazon Handmade will drive demand for handmade products and crafts.

Mobile Will Dominate

Google recently announced it would reward companies whose websites were optimized for mobile use. Having a responsive site is a must for any e-commerce retailer who wants to maintain a competitive edge this year. Create a pleasant e-commerce mobile experience by investing in secure mobile POS technology.

Furthermore, checkout should be intuitive and simple for consumers to navigate. The best mobile sites are easy to navigate with a thumb and index finger. If users have to pinch or swipe to zoom, your site isn’t properly optimized for mobile.

Wearable Technology Provides New Opportunities

With the introduction of the Apple Watch, wearable technology is expected to be a growing market in 2016. The advertising potential with these devices will be an important consideration for e-commerce businesses. As the tech evolves, companies will have opportunities to flash “limited time” ads that encourage consumers to buy. With a sense of immediacy, wearable technology can bridge the gap between the virtual and physical worlds. Localized deals and regularly updated pricing will drive the relationship between e-commerce advertising and wearables this year and beyond.

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