Predictions for 2018

As new technologies emerge and mature over time, these technologies are continuously changing the digital and physical shopping landscape. Increasing efficiency, improving the UX and simplifying everyday activities are all key in enhancing the shopping experience. With the new era of technology, companies need to find innovative ways to outpace their competitors.

At NRF Big Show last week, thousands of retailers came together to network and share their challenges with their fellow peers and ecommerce experts. Retailers want the ability to scale and market faster, provide unique digital shopping experiences to their customers, and invest in modern web-based technologies to beat their overall competition.

With Amazon disrupting the retail sector, retailers need to find ways to stay relevant, give meaning and provide value to their customers. How do companies set themselves apart from everyone else who’s doing the same thing?

Anticipating what’s ahead is a way to increase market share faster. That’s why we’ve developed our predictions for 2018. Learn what we think is coming, what to look out for, and what we think will make a big splash in the new year.

Dave Barrowman, our VP of Innovations has provided a list of predictions for 2018. Based on his research and experience in the retail sector, review this list to prepare for what’s ahead:

  1. AR/VR.  We don’t expect much meaningful impact from VR for digital commerce in 2018.  I expect a bunch of interesting AR-based products/features…Question is whether users will adopt them.  Sephora’s AR lipstick feature in its app is a great example of AR that adds value and has been well-received in the marketplace. The Sephora Virtual Artist feature scans your face and lets you try on different makeup looks. The app also features virtual tutorials that show you how to contour, apply highlighter, and perfect a winged eyeliner.

    Having fun in virtual reality

    Young woman is using head-mounted virtual reality goggles

  2. Blockchain. We’ll continue to see lots of big announcements about companies adopting blockchain, but most of these will be more hype than anything.  I won’t make any predictions about the Bitcoin price, but if the Bitcoin bubble does burst, it will negatively impact the perception of all the Blockchain companies, even if they have nothing to do with Bitcoin.
  3. Modern web technologies. We’ll continue to see digital retailers implement Single Page Apps (SPAs/React) and Progressive Web App (PWA) features.  We’ll also see retailers dabble in NFC-based in store experiences and explore how to take advantage of the new capabilities in browsers (e.g., WebRTC and WebAssembly).
  4. Machine learning.  ML will still be a hot topic, but as the hype cools down, retailers will find that beyond product recommendations and basic personalization, the big wins of machine learning will require dedicated ongoing investment and patience: improved customer and product segmentation, personalized pricing and willingness to pay, to name a few such areas.
  5. B2B will emerge as a big growth area for digital commerce. This is a huge space and I expect a lot of B2B announcements (from both software vendors and retailers) in 2018.
  6. Amazon. Amazon will move further into brick & mortar, possibly buying another legacy retailer. 

In summary, there are a multitude of emerging technologies claiming to make waves in the retail commerce sector. It’s important to evaluate what makes sense for your existing setup and the direction you’re headed. While it’s easy to get lost in the minutiae of exciting and new technologies,  it’s paramount to hone into those that are the right fit for your business.

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