In 2016, eMarketer and Forrester predict U.S. eCommerce companies will sell between $355 and $393 billion worth of product. Their estimates also suggest American eCommerce revenues will reach upwards to $500 billion by 2018.

For businesses to stay relevant and get a share it is very important for theme to keep up with the changes in business, marketing strategies and merchandising to cater to the needs of the modersn customer.

How the cosumer shops has changed and technology affects how people search for products & services. Businesses that embrace these changes an offer omni channel experience will reap the benefits.

How brands can use this to their advantage

Online shops must aim to provide interesting content with story telling as part of the copy. Images and videos help in the visual conent. Content marketing pays off in the long run. Product sales can be reaped again and again through well presented visual images & videos and storytelling

Offline shops boost online sales

There is something special about being able to touch, feel and use a product before you buy it. Although detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, high-res images, and product videos are effective ways of feeding customers enough information to make a purchasing decision, some brands know that their products sell better in-person.

Since 2013, eCommerce superstars Bonobos and Warby Parker, Amazon & Asos digital-first retailers, have gone offline to expand their businesses. In just a couple of years, some of them have managed to open up dozens of permanent brick-and-mortar locations proving that eCommerce products sell well both online and offline.

The advantages of opening a brick & mortar is that if the location is a busy one foot traffic will drive up the sales. The shopper experiencing your shop is enough to encourage the online buyer to purchase. Click-and-pick option and instore returns makes it easier for the online shopper to purchase online.

Shops

And each time clients stop by your shop, they get exposed to more of your merchandise which they may buy during their visit.

How brands can use this trend to their advantage

To avoid huge investment upfront, many eCommerce-first brands are opening up pop-up shops with short-term leases. Locations are often chosen wherever brands find a high concentration of existing customers. After a few pop-up shops, brands then develop the confidence to launch permanent locations.

When shoppers can’t be bothered to move from their bed or couch, virtual reality apps replicate the in-store shopping experience right in their homes.

In the makeup niche there are many apps that let you try on makeup. Loreal’s makeup genius lets you try on makeup and no need to clean up after trying on. Others like Modiface, Nail snaps for nails, OPI for nail polish try on, Beautilysh ( Pintrest for makeup) And of course pintrest & Youtube app for tutorials on makup & grooming.

For home goods stores, Augmented reality and other design tools and services will likely expand and could be meaningful for online home furnishing companies. Conceptually, these new technologies and services would allow customers to visualize products in their homes. Rather than being at a disadvantage with brick-and-mortar, where you can touch and feel the product, we could provide an experience that is potentially better.

Although at the moment virtual reality is still new and expensive, Oculus Rift & other virtual reality headsets may well influence how interact with E commerce in 2016.