What Comes Next for Ecommerce and Digital Retail? How can you prepare for the future of online retail?

By John Rampton

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Virojt Changyencham | Getty Images

No sector of the economy has been put in a stranger spot by the Covid-19 crisis than ecommerce. Some ecommerce players have gone bust, while others like Amazon have cemented their place as cornerstones of the global market. For most ecommerce leaders, their stories land somewhere in between those extremes.

Even so, with 75 percent of millennials buying goods online during the pandemic they'd never bought before, the potential for a widespread ecommerce boom is still very much there. The last several months have made the industry more fractured and competitive than ever before — but some are looking to change up that attitude once and for all.

Related: The Pandemic Economy Has Made Ecommerce More Indispensable Than Ever

A ballooning market

Between April 2019 and April 2020, online retail orders grew by nearly 150 percent, an unprecedented spike that shows just how much lockdowns have accelerated the trend towards ecommerce. Digital sales are making up a larger and larger share of all sales nationwide, and the companies at the top are pulling in the lion's share of the new business.

In the second quarter of this year, Amazon posted online sales of $88.9 billion as Walmart topped $10 billion in ecommerce action for the first time ever. As the world has scrambled to adopt an ecommerce-focused mindset, big companies with the infrastructure to handle high order volumes and same-day deliveries are crowding out smaller players. As suspicion grows that Amazon may be using its own platform to undermine its competitors, ecommerce businesses need the right resources in order to carve out their own portion of the market.

Changing ecommerce for the better

In response to this, more and more platforms are whipping up tools to help businesses break into the ecommerce world on their own. Freelancing platform Fiverr introduced a new tool called The Shift, designed to help streamline the transition from brick-and-mortar retail into the world of digital sales, and existing platforms designed to help facilitate ecommerce are regularly outpacing earnings estimates.

Related: Why You Should Bet On The Future of Ecommerce

Now that there are more than enough tools available for someone to make the ecommerce business of their dreams, budding digital entrepreneurs need a few different kinds of resources in order to achieve success: guidance, mentorship, and insight.

Shaping ecommerce together

Hawke Media conceived, planned and executed its E-Commerce Week (which provides the sort of opportunities for learning, connecting and networking that are more difficult to come by than ever) in partnership with both the Mayor and City of Los Angeles, connecting it with one of the world's most vital ecommerce ecosystems that is home to over 700 thriving ecommerce brands.

Because of the nature of the pandemic, however, the event will be fully digital, allowing anyone or any business from around the world to join in on the conversation. Featuring panels, keynotes, networking sessions, Q&As, and more, the conference is designed to be an even mix of learning and collaboration, ensuring that you'll learn something new regardless of your experience in the industry.

Related: 5 Reasons Your Ecommerce Store Needs a Mobile App Today

Knowledge is always a powerful thing to have, but in times like these the old adage rings truer than ever: it's not what you know, it's who you know. Digital retail giants like Dollar Shave Club, Winc, Ritual, and FabFitFun will all be participating in E-commerce Week, meaning that attendees will be rubbing virtual shoulders with the titans of their industry — just the kind of cross-pollination ecommerce needs in order to thrive.

Collaboration has always been the name of the game in ecommerce, and 2020 has made that more true than ever. The next several months are going to be a crucial period in ecommerce history, determining who the viable players will be for the next generation of virtual shopping. Events like E-Commerce Week can help you get the knowledge and connections you need to make your business part of that group.

Wavy Line
John Rampton

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Entrepreneur and Connector

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the calendar productivity tool Calendar.

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