Ecommerce has never been more exciting or sophisticated. Global ecommerce has seen sales in 2015 of more than $1.5 trillion purchases made by shoppers across desktop, tablets and mobile, with advertisers spending ever increasing amounts of marketing budgets on internet advertising.

In 2015, we’ve experienced the continued explosive growth of mobile, multichannel approaches, increasingly complex integration for automation and bricks and mortar retailers focusing more and more on online strategies.

As CEO at Williams Commerce, Robert Williams is uniquely positioned to share his insights and predictions for what ecommerce trends lie ahead for 2016. Williams Commerce have created and managed websites for more than 250 retailers and wholesalers across both the UK and internationally, who collectively transact more than £310 million per year. Robert’s 18 years’ experience in the tech industry and within blue chip businesses like Mars and Exxon Mobil provides a unique insight into what may lie ahead in the ecommerce landscape for 2016 and beyond.

Cross-Channel Shopping is becoming more necessary to survival.

The giant market-places such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy are playing a more integral role in an online retailer’s strategy than ever before. Consumers are increasingly using these market-places due to competitive pricing and the convenience of being able to locate a simply enormous selection of products from a wide range of sellers. Williams Commerce are seeing an increasing demand from both retailers and B2B companies who want to access multi-channels. Whilst there are challenges like margin pressure to be faced, there’s no doubt adding these channels into your online strategy can enable a business to unlock visibility of their brand to millions of potential buyers and create lucrative additional revenue streams.

Social Media, a lucrative new sales channel (and customer service)

The social landscape is constantly shifting and continues to evolve beyond a vehicle on which businesses can connect with their target audience. With the ability to be able to buy directly via a social network and systems like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter announcing BUY buttons, social media offers retailers another direct sales channel on which to sell product directly to customers.

Sticky interactive content

Website are definitely moving beyond ecommerce alone. Many websites we have worked on during the course of 2015 has seen much more online real estate dedicated to community social hubs featuring user generated content, exciting video pages and really engaging content, such as interactive infographics, animations, quizzes and games which are helping businesses become an exciting destination, helping online retailers reinforce brand values and engage their target audience on another level beyond pure sales alone.

Getting personal

It’s not new news, but optimizing for mobile remains absolutely key.

It’s all happening on mobile, and it’s increasingly so the case when it comes to online shopping. A recent Demandware Shopping Index report highlighting phones are now the number one driver of traffic in the UK. Delivering a full feature mobile experience will be key and retailers should assume their shoppers will conduct ALL of their business by phone.