Social Acceptance: No longer is there the issue, IF people are going to buy online but what/how/with whom. We are past the psychological and trust issues in the earlier days of ecommerce. Now, it is much easier to develop that trust due to secure payments, general standards, general market education/acceptance, design, etc… The market is not in the education phase but online shopping is becoming a part of our daily psychology of how to consume goods. People are even purchasing stuff through their cell phones including large ticket items like cars. Now we want an experience or something exciting beyond just ‘buying’.
Deal hunting mentality: ‘Discounts’ and ‘deals’ will stick around for awhile. This is now becoming an expectation versus a luxury both due to the proliferation of deal sites as well as the volatile economy that has yet to really recover. Thus, in order to create value, brands and retailers will need to become more creative in terms of how they position themselves. Daily deals & flash sales have also driven more people online to actively engage in ecommerce thus accelerating adoption. Even SMBS are now more aware and gaining better exposure to technology as a byproduct of the outreach from the deal sites. . Here is a good HBR article on adaptive pricing.
Design/UX: This is under appreciated but is actually a crucial element in ecommerce. You have ‘transactional’ (ie less experiential shopping excursions through Amazon—where people typically shop due to price or utility) . However, an interesting or pleasurable shopping experience has been rare to find on the web. The focus and emphasis on design has only recently taken shape. This is one reason why a lot of brands had not engaged in ecommerce as extensively as one would expect. They need to represent their brand well, and if the medium cannot communicate a brand’s philosophy and potentially compromise its integrity, a brand will most likely not utilize that avenue. This historically was one of the factors for brands staying away from actually having an online presence (this combined with concerns around seeming ubiquitous and thus less ‘exclusive or scarce’). If they get online, the whole world not just a few block radius will see them. Thus, online risks could substantially damage a brand, so the adoption has been relatively slow. . Beyond the brand, sites are making sites much prettier and aesthetically appealing as well as functional. New forms of buyer engagement is taking form . It is no longer browse and buy but rather consuming, creating, and sharing opinions, content and media that surrounds a shopping experience.