With so many new technologies and advancements in the industry, e-commerce still continues to move forward and conquer new territories in the virtual world. Therefore, plenty of marketers have done their predictions regarding the future of e-commerce in the upcoming 10 years. So, let’s see how online stores will look like in the near future.

1. Global e-commerce retail will hit $4.9 trillion by 2021

According to statistics, the global e-commerce retail sales will reach $4.9 trillion by 2021. It hits 265% growth rate by rising from $1.3 trillion (2014) to $4.9 trillion (2021). These figures state once more that the future of e-commerce is steady and without any marks of decline.

However, with these steps of elevation, global e-commerce sales are pushing back the worldwide retail market. It’s estimated that by 2021 it will compose the 17.5% of the whole global retail sales.

For now, it’s not a big number, although the chances of growth are higher with so many technological advancements. However, there is a huge tendency for progressive e-commerce. The physical stores should take this into account and grasp infrastructures in order to bring their offline businesses to the online platform as with the persistently growing e-commerce industry, physical stores have little chance of beating the competition. They have to provide their online presence too, otherwise will lose many customers, who are for easy, fast and convenient shopping from home. It also supposes that online stores should further enhance their brands in the virtual world to keep their position.

2. Automated Shipping Vehicles

The future of e-commerce becomes more lucrative with the idea of automated shipping vehicles. They are able to carry out the shipping of different volumes and all this happens without human intervention.

The advantages of automated shipping are numerous, to name a few:

  • Reduced travel time and cost for shipping
  • Reduced accidents
  • An absence of human error
  • Reduced CO2 emissions
  • Customer satisfaction

As of now, drones are at the top of the automated shipping vehicles. They can help to deliver orders to the pointed location within a few hours after placing the order. The e-commerce giant, Amazon, has already done investment in this field to build its own drone delivery system.

Self-driving cars are also in the list of automated shipping vehicles to come up in the near future. They can notify you as soon as they approach your place so that you took the order you have made. It sounds too intriguing, but there is still requires a lot of work in its development. Firstly, there is the necessity of extensive software programs and sensors to make them work properly. Secondly, they should be tested numerous times to be assured that they don’t cause any trouble or go off the programmed routes.

3. Social Shopping

Today social media platforms have enlarged their scope of activity. Now they have considerably improved their selling capabilities and present more value than just being an advertising channel. Even a newbie and an inexperienced person can purchase products quickly and conveniently on any social media platform.

Social media channels like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube have rolled out “buy” buttons significantly improving their selling features. With its “Shoppable post” feature Instagram enables businesses to use product tags and stickers in their posts and stories accordingly. When a visitor taps to view a product tag or sticker, information about its image, description, and cost appears.

This e-commerce feature in social media platforms saves your time and effort spent on shopping. The widespread implication of social media in selling makes a big difference for businesses, as they become more transparent and visible to wider circles of customers. Therefore, it’s high time for getting prepared for social selling and creating more innovative ways of social platform usage. Thus, with social media platforms shopping has become more comfortable and fast.

4. Cross-Border shopping

There is a greater tendency among shoppers to look for products outside their home country. That’s why 57% of online buyers have made a purchase from overseas during the previous six months.

Source: nielsen.com

As we can see in the chart above, the percentage of online shoppers buying from overseas is 63.4% Europe, 57.9% Asia-Pacific, 55.5% Africa, 54.6% Latin America, and 45.5% North America.
This is a step forward to going global, so except for strengthening your global presence in e-commerce, also invest in technologies making the customer experience for overseas buyers more smoothly.

5. B2B e-commerce

Business To Business (B2B) e-commerce is about selling products and services between businesses via online stores. In contrast to Business To Consumer (B2C) e-commerce, B2B is based on the logic of the buyers, rather than on emotion.
It’s explained in this way, that B2B e-commerce requires more consideration and decision-makers than B2C. And for now, B2B sales rates are two times higher compared to B2C e-commerce.
For instance, only in the US B2B sales will reach 1.184 trillion dollars by 2021.

Source: statista.com

However, the B2B shopping experience is a little more complicated than that of B2C. B2B shoppers usually have to go through a number of steps before a purchase verification, which includes sales representative interaction, various negotiations, and approvals.

In other words, B2B business owners should make their transaction process more flawless which presumes easy ordering, price negotiation, order and inventory management.

6. M-commerce

The customer engagement landscape is frequently changed with the usage of mobile devices. During the previous years, the mobile market has increasingly developed and now possesses 70% of e-commerce traffic. First and foremost, this widespread use of mobile for shopping is conditioned with the desire of accomplishing transactions without being obliged to use a desktop. The shopping available right under your fingertips is attracting, isn’t it?
Who will deny the pleasure of purchasing whenever and wherever they want? Hence, with so many advantages of mobile commerce, shoppers can browse, look for and buy products easily and quickly.

With mobile accounting generated $175.4 billion in profit, m-commerce will still continue achieving higher results and involving new trends. It’s an alert for online business owners to join the m-commerce revolution following these steps:

  • Make the checkout process user-friendly

The checkout process which causes trouble and is daunting cannot bring progress to your business in m-commerce.

  • Start a mobile app

Considering the fact that 54% of customers use apps for shopping, then it’s time to build a mobile app for your business.

  • Pay attention to ASO

App Store Optimization (ASO) is used to boost your app’s visibility in the app market.

  • Use push notifications

Sending special offers and discounts to your customers can have a re-engaging effect on your inactive customers. They may return and continue shopping from your app.


7. Voice Assistant

With the advancement of voice technology, the picture of e-commerce changed once more. Being one of the recent trends in e-commerce, voice assistants like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and others have totally changed the way people interact with brands.

Amazon has activated its voice purchasing feature still in 2016 enabling people to buy holiday items using Alexa.
Now voice commerce is on its rise and consumers vigorously adopt it. Moreover, it is calculated that voice commerce will hit $40 billion in sales only in the US.

8. E-commerce personalization

Another powerful trend in e-commerce is personalization. With the use of various recommendation engines, making relevant suggestions to online shoppers has become a matter of seconds. Since the customer expectations related to personalization increase, it tends to become an e-commerce standard soon.

With more sophisticated strategies, personalization provides individualized and customer-oriented shopping experience.

Actually, recommendation engines use data from browsing behavior, demographics, buying history and other necessary data to make personalized recommendations.

There are numerous ways of using personalization in e-commerce.

For instance, you can utilize it in the shopping cart section. By creating targeted cart recommendations, relevant items will appear as soon as the buyer will add a certain product to their cart. It will enhance the chances of buying that related product as well.

9. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality opens a new era in e-commerce experience. It is a huge field of the e-commerce industry which still needs exploration. With the use of virtual reality devices, people are enabled to take a closer look at the items they are interested in.

The ability to look at a product from various angles at home is possible with VR technologies. It’s beyond doubt that looking at a product through a VR headset is more impressive and realistic, than looking at two-dimensional images online.

10. Automated Customer Service

Automated systems come to replace customer service departments in the near future. With the implementation of certain keywords, the machines will identify your concerns. By entering the details of your question on the website, you will allow it to analyze the received information. After analyzing the provided content, the website will produce an answer based on the keywords found and the way they are arranged.

Adding chatbots to your e-commerce store will increasingly change the customer service landscape. With the usage of chatbots you will;

  • Reach more people
  • Provide timely answers
  • Save your time and sources
  • Provide greater customer satisfaction
  • Exclude human error

11. New payment options

Adding new payment options to your website will enhance customers to push a transaction and make the checkout process easier and competitive. A website that lacks payment channels relevant to various choices, won’t increase purchases and customer satisfaction. People using Paypal would give the priority to the online store which uses it, and other customers who are inclined to using Google Pay or Samsung Pay would definitely want to see these payment methods available on your store. Furthermore, with the advancement of cryptocurrency, the variety of payment options enlarges, opening new paying opportunities for customers. Therefore, you have to use new payment options according to your customers’ demands to stay competitive and keep customers engaged.

Today e-commerce businesses widely implement digital wallets like Paypal, Google Pay or Samsung Pay. Due to these wallets, people make purchases through electronic transactions avoiding friction shopping experience.

Actually, 70% of customers presume that digital payments will overtake cash ones by 2030.

Another payment option that is like a storm in e-commerce is cryptocurrency. They have become considerably widespread recently. These currencies are created to make online transactions easier and faster for customers and even cheaper. Therefore, e-commerce websites should think over adopting bitcoin or other proper cryptocurrencies as a payment method to stay up-to-date in the marketplace.

The benefits of bitcoin are numerous for e-commerce, to name a few:

  • Faster transactions
  • Higher security
  • Fewer middleman fees
  • Bitcoin also opens an opportunity for small businesses to become engaged in global e-commerce. It’s really a good way of making trustworthy and secure transactions all over the world.


The continuously changing landscape of e-commerce intensifies the purchasing power of online consumers. The proliferation of social media users, persistently advancing technology and infrastructure show that the future of e-commerce is more vibrant and scalable.

To be able to meet the challenges of the upcoming changes in e-commerce, it’s recommended to arm your website with the above-mentioned trends. With the usage of the discussed trends, you will elevate your business to the next level.


Sobre o Autor:

Fundador e diretor de negócios da SmartHint, também é diretor regional Paraná da ABComm, com mais de 10 anos de experiência em comércio eletrônico para grandes marcas dos mais variados segmentos.