If only we had a crystal ball. A way to look into the future and know for sure what the next 10 years are going to bring us. Unfortunately, nobody has their hands on this kind of technology, so we’ll have to rely on our knowledge of today to predict tomorrow’s world . BrandPit loves to speculate and this time we’ll take a closer look at e-commerce and online marketing.

the consumer of the future

Consumers are becoming more and more lazy. They want to be able to order an attractively priced product at the touch of a button and they want it delivered within 24 hours. Even more so now that the digital native generations are entering the market, this approach is no longer just about providing good service, but it’s necessary for survival. Consumers are also becoming increasingly more demanding and critical. In addition to the requirements mentioned above, customer service must be top notch, shipping must be free or at least very cheap and the product must meet expectations perfectly. 

Thanks to the widespread popularity of Pokémon Go, Augmented Reality (AR) has been the real breakthrough technology this year and it’s expected to gain further traction within the e-commerce field. Consumers are ever more frequently looking for a personalised shopping experience. On top of that, people are becoming increasingly intertwined with social media, so sharing these experiences has become an important social factor. So be authentic, offer your customers a unique shopping experience both online and offline and make sure to highlight this in your online marketing.

You only have to look at the popularity of AirBnB, Uber and Ebay. Each of them huge companies that despite not offering their own products, are certainly shaking up the traditional way of doing business. This modus operandi is a relatively modern phenomenon: the last two generations grew up with technology and attach little value to possessions. They’re aware of the impact that products have on the environment and their surroundings and want to treat both with care. So in future, think carefully about how your products or services are positioned within your e-commerce.

only clicks or bricks will disappear

There are interesting things happening. Since Ahold took over Bol.com, consumers have been able to pick up their webshop orders at Albert Heijn supermarkets. It’s a win-win: the supermarket is able to facilitate upselling and the exclusively online webshop has a bricks-and-mortar base from which to serve its customers. Online bookstore giant Amazon has also recently opened a physical store and their plans aren’t limited to that single location. On the flip side, there are also many department stores that are closing all their physical stores and continuing exclusively online, such as Dixons. In the coming years, many more stores are expected to begin a digital renaissance away from their bricks-and-mortar roots while the e-commerce natives will take their place and open physical stores. It’s estimated that online turnover will increase up to 3 times faster than that of physical stores. What opportunities can you see for interweaving the digital and physical world? Can a pop-up store provide a solution? This is also an increasingly popular trend that should not be forgotten.

Today we can already see a sharp decline in the number of silos; in the future they will completely cease to exist. Organisations are now not only adopting an omnichannel, but increasingly an omnibrand approach. The focus is shifting from away from how the organisation is divided into departments and responsibilities, to focussing on the customer. Customers must be able to make purchases at any time, in any way, and organisations are tasked with facilitating it. This could mean a major, but necessary, turnaround in business operations for many organisations, if they want to continue to exist in 10 years’ time.

With GPS and a WiFi signal, every smartphone knows exactly where it is and therefore where you are. Using this knowledge, organisations can set up highly specific online marketing based on the location of the recipient. This even works on a very small scale: say a person has stood in front of the shelf with 4K TVs for 15 minutes and left the store without making a purchase: a re-targetting campaign can be implemented to remind them of the options they have already viewed and any competitive offers as soon as they walk out of the store. On a side note: not every consumer is ready for this kind of technology at the moment. Some people might be put-off by seeing ads such as these that are based on their exact location. Big Brother is watching you…

mobile e-commerce will continue to increase

Nowadays the majority of smartphones also have an NFC chip, allowing them to make payments with their smartphone instead of a regular bank card. Although this technology is still somewhat in its infancy, consumer confidence is expected to increase. In addition, the countless variety of discount cards, membership cards and other customer loyalty cards will cease to exist in tangible form and be integrated in our smartphones. Useful to the consumer as they won’t have to carry around as many passes, but also an exciting prospect in terms of the many opportunities for online marketing and E-commerce that it could provide. Especially when combined with location-based online marketing, enticing people to make a purchase or to enter a store will be made a whole lot easier.

With technologies such as these, the huge amounts of data that are collected nowadays are becoming more and more usable. By analysing things like online behaviour, but also someone’s physical location, a person’s habits and routines can be identified. The better you can get to know someone, the more targeted the offered advertisements can become. With the help of digital assistants (such as Siri or Cortana) that sift through the various offers for them, consumers are able to offer some resistance to this. Think of the all too familiar annoyance of continually being confronted with things you have no use for, like ads for nappies even if you don’t have children. There remains a fine line between convenience and privacy, even given that there is an increasing willingness to give up some privacy if it means that online purchases are faster and easier.

how can you prepare for 2026?

To keep your head above water in the coming 10 years, your organisation will have to continuously adapt to new technologies and how they are used. Only by being able to jump in quickly can you stay ahead of the competition. This requires a very flexible and Agile mindset within the organisation. Take Travel Bird as an example. Alongside all this, segmentation is expected to decrease in importance. Or rather, it will be subject to changes in behaviour. Cheaper brands are becoming more popular with affluent families and the less fortunate will have to save for longer to make expensive purchases. Again: be flexible and don’t cling to outdated data that paints a much too rigid picture of your target group.

At first sight, it would seem beneficial for both your online marketing budget (by maximising ROI) as well as your intended target audience (who will always be shown personalised advertisements), but this is a very time-consuming and for that reason expensive process. It’s also important to note that not every consumer will be enthusiastic about these types of advertisements; they may value their privacy more highly than you anticipated. What’s more important is to have a good map of the customer journey and to know why they are making a purchase. This is also a difficult and time consuming process, but there are many insights to be gained.

Broadly speaking, it’s important to focus more on delivering an experience than on promoting a new product or discount. People seek out experiences; think of how your brand can deliver this. BrandPit knows the professionals who specialise in this. Their fresh perspective, coupled with in-depth substantive knowledge means they know just how to make your brand future-proof. Get in touch for an informal appointment and we’ll go over the possibilities together.