E-Commerce Is All Grown Up And Moving On

E-commerce obstacles are falling just as the second wave of digital natives is getting their hands on credit cards and debit cards and exercising their newfound online purchasing power. The rise of everything being offered as a service, or available by delivery, helps. As does the fact that e-commerce has gone mobile, moving into social, picture, video and streaming platforms. From Twitter and Snapchat to Pinterest, Periscope and Meerkat, we are seeing a broad array of communication systems embrace mobile commerce opportunities.

The first generation of e-commerce was all about finding and celebrating the many things people would buy online. It was about efficiencies and data driving larger inventories, cheaper prices and reliable, low-cost delivery. This was dramatic and disruptive; new worlds of commercial opportunity opened. It was important to be online.

Just as dramatic, the arrival of easy mobile payment options will drive the next phase of enhanced mobile commerce to evolve. Such apps as Swipe, Apple Pay, Android Pay and others are making purchases much less cumbersome. Developments in mobile payments and back-end e-commerce as a service portend big changes, as well as rising market shares for goods and services sold online. Warby Parker will sell you the glasses you won’t wear with your Rent-The-Runway, but you will wear with your Etsy items as you dash off to your Lyft ride before Ubering back in time for your beer, wine, Amazon and uncooked Plated deliveries.

E-commerce 2.0 is mobile-centric, and all about consumer experience and niche marketing.

Globally, e-commerce has been beyond hot of late. Shopify has passed into our lexicon and now into our public markets. We see Shopify as the harbinger of a new generation of e-commerce and mobile commerce companies poised to grab an increasing share of the growing portion of online selling and buying (Shopify offers logistics, a payment solution from Swipe, shipping apps, monitoring and analytics to firms looking to harness the global and growing markets online).

Below is a sampling of massive e-commerce deals recently announced (this list is not comprehensive).

Company Country Recent Funding/IPO Valuation
Coupang South Korea $1Billion $5Billion
Wish United States $500MM $3Billion
FruitDay China $70MM $300MM
iFood Brazil $50MM ??


E-commerce and mobile device e-commerce are growing, and growing up, fast. E-commerce 2.0 is mobile-centric, and all about consumer experience and niche marketing based on A/B testing and data analytics. Shopify’s app environment and API group offers mobile and creative possibilities to small and midsized companies. We see the next generation of mobile commerce and e-commerce companies as fundamentally different from the last generation. Firms like Warby Parker, Casper and others have created a uniquely e-commerce experience that has attracted and retained loyal users.

Firms like Oui Hours GMT, The Honest Company and Etsy have created curated and emotive experiences with embedded online shopping opportunities. Customization of suggestions and experience are being revised based on sophisticated and constant A/B testing and unstructured data mining. Smart data and a curated and carefully constructed online experience is the future. There are many and proliferating ways to buy, online and offline. A seamless and easy experience is necessary, but likely not sufficient. The quality and uniqueness of experience will become more important as the space fills up.

We are seeing the rise of the niche markets and the boutiques where merchandising and experience are essential. Etsy works because there is a sense of the type of folks and the community you find in that boutique e-commerce space. Warby Parker and Casper work because they help you have fun and get quality necessities in an efficient and empowering way.

Each passing day challenges the clean lines between offline and online, never mind augmented reality. Even before augmented and virtual reality further blur the lines between offline and online, e-commerce and entertainment, newer data-driven curated experiences will become the norm. New mobile commerce and e-commerce experiences will need to be unique, emotive and meaningful.

E-commerce and mobile commerce will grow closer, and tastes and niches will need to be delicately attended; this requires vision, ambiance and curation. Shopify is well positioned to do the back-end and cloud management for luxury, small and niche players who will rightly focus on merchandising, margins, product mix and display, just as offline stores do. E-commerce has grown up and moved on from being only cheaper stuff, generic stuff, offered to folks who would just rather buy online.