Everyone loves a good time travel story. After all, there’s a reason why a movie about an eccentric scientist who transforms a beat-up DeLorean into a make-shift time machine has become one of the most iconic films of all time. It’s natural to be curious about what lies ahead.
So, what would happen if you were to step into a time machine and fast forward four years? Will we be riding hovercrafts, driving hands-free flying cars, or sending holograms instead of texts? Unfortunately, I don’t have any insight into that, but I can share what I expect the ecommerce shipping landscape to look like in 2018.
The Rise of “Mini Marketplaces”
While eBay has traditionally been the king of online marketplaces, it’s likely that “mini marketplaces” like Etsy and Poshmark will begin to pose a real threat in the next four years. Etsy, which is geared towards those who love handicrafts and other homey goods, and Poshmark, which allows you to shop the closets of women across America and sell your own clothes, both thrive in creating a very personal experience for buyers and sellers. These kinds of vertical marketplaces are clearly doing something right, and I anticipate seeing consumers gravitate more and more towards them in the coming years.
The Ship-from-store Trend
We will start seeing more and more brick and mortar stores offering point of sale shipping. In other words, you’ll be able to go pick up a gift for your friend’s baby shower and ship it directly from the store to your friend without ever having to step foot in the post office. Macy’s is already turning hundreds of its stores into online fulfillment centers, and you can expect other physical store retailers to take this route as well.
A Solution for Showrooming
Now that we’re living in the age of the smartphone, consumers have the ability to gain product knowledge anywhere and at any time. It’s becoming more and more common to see people walk into a traditional brick and mortar retail store without purchasing anything and then shop online to find a lower price for the same item. As you can imagine, this new consumer behavior, known as “showrooming,” is not exactly helping brick and mortar stores. To combat this challenge, retailers will have to start turning to omni-channel strategies like giving customers the option to purchase merchandise online and then pick it up later from a physical store.
Did Someone Say Drones?
And, of course, we can’t talk about the future of ecommerce shipping without mentioning Amazon Prime Air. Everyone’s been talking about Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, and his fleet of shipping drones that promise to deliver packages up to 5 pounds to your house in less than half an hour. Whether or not Prime Air really does every take off, it’s clear that we are getting ever closer to fulfilling consumer instant gratification.
For more insight, check out our ecommerce tips and trends page.