Online sales will increase by up to 20.1% in 2014, to more than $1.5 billion worldwide.
Those figures are from the Japanese eCommerce giant Rakuten, which also released the following retail industry trends for the next 12 months:
1. Consumer loyalty will be driven by retail experiences. For Rakuten directors, entertainment and retail converge. Today shoppers want a retail experience that reflects their tastes, both online and offline. To provide this experience, retailers have diversified their offers, but they often offer their services separately. With the arrival of 2015, retailers are bringing those different elements together under the same roof to offer a more connected experience that opens the door to new opportunities such as cross-selling, and strengthening customer loyalty throughout the entire retail and entertainment ecosystem.
2. A decisive year for crypto currency. 2014 was notable for new payment methods that will continue in 2015. The year will be decisive for crypto currencies like Bitcoin. If they are used and accepted, we will see substantial impact on international transactions, a huge step towards a truly global marketplace.
3. Mobile commerce will continue to gain ground. It is predicted that in 2015 33% of online sales will be done via mobile devices. As this trend gains ground, more retailers will invest in mobile retail environments and marketing. This in turn will resound in greater adoption of omni-channel commerce, as retailers will try to offer the retail experience through multiple channels.
4. Farewell to commercial borders. The growth of cross-border commerce will accelerate in 2015, offering consumers the opportunity to buy in stores worldwide. The aim is to also pave the way for retailers to access markets in other countries and extend their international reach.
5. Social media is playing an increasingly decisive role in the buying process, influencing both new product discovery and buying decisions. Twitter and Facebook have incorporated “buy it now” buttons, and in 2015 stores will place greater emphasis on selling products via those channels.
However, with the increase in the active use of platforms designed to share photos like Pinterest and Instagram, innovation in 2015 will probably revolve around images. The fact that consumers discover new products while sharing photos and organizing collections of objects they like, gives retailers an enormous opportunity to make shopping an attractive and entertaining experience for those users.