stack-of- books - imgMaybe you can remember the pre-Google days of the internet. If you can, then you remember web 1.0, web 2.0 and now the days of “the cloud.” Having lived through this, it is easy to draw parallels between the web and eCommerce.  Using this comparison, it is easy to see that we are in the days of eCommerce 3.0.  According to Wikipedia, Book Stacks Unlimited of Cleveland opened their first online shop in 1992, followed by Amazon.com in 1995.  Think about how far eCommerce has come since then!

In our first annual Holiday Predictions survey, we learned that retailers have spent much of 2013 making significant investments in both their core e-commerce technology and their customer experience.  While the holidays are a critical revenue spike for retailers, much of this investment will be useful well beyond holiday 2013.  In 1995, who could have predicted that 82% of e-commerce vendors in 2013 would make direct investments in SEO/SEM, platform upgrades and mobile enhancements?  In hindsight, it all makes sense.  Finally, we have arrived at a place where platform and database technology, data storage and retrieval, data analysis/predictive analysis tools and user interface have all progressed far enough to deliver an online experience to shoppers that many could never have imagined back then.

These are the days when the art and science of retailing are combining to completely disrupt the status quo.  Helped by the Great Recession, eCommerce and its associated technology suppliers have emerged into a brave new world that is changing not just the online shopping experience, but the retail experience in general.  This is eCommerce 3.0 and savvy retailers know it.  That’s why nearly all of the retailers we surveyed have worked throughout 2013 to enhance their home, category and landing pages while a solid 77% have invested in enhanced site search capabilities.  On top of this, a whopping 81% of our survey respondents have dedicated resources to upgrade their core platform this year.

eCommerce 3.0 means that retailers are serious about all aspects of the customer experience and doubling down to meet the needs of today’s demanding shopper.  As we approach what can be considered the 20th anniversary of eCommerce, it may be worth stopping for just a moment to reflect on how far we have come.  It has been an amazing and wild ride, but we all had best hang on – it doesn’t look like this ride will be slowing down anytime soon.