Now more than ever, eCommerce is a channel that no retailer can ignore. That’s why we’ve run a few stories recently that focus on optimizing online sales fronts with compelling content on product pages. But product content aside, what are some of the biggest eCommerce trends right now? For that, I turned to GGV Capital Managing Partner Hans Tung, whose early-stage investment portfolio includes consumer financing company Affirm, home fitness electronics brand Peloton, shopping app Wish, and e-commerce startup Poshmark. Here are three of Tung’s top eCommerce trends right now.
Amazon continues its skyrocketing growth, but so does Shopify
“Five or ten years ago, the debate was Amazon versus Walmart or Amazon versus eBay, but you don’t see that anymore,” says Tung. Instead, it’s Amazon versus Shopify. “Amazon is this 800-pound gorilla that is starting to do its own private-label versions of products that are selling well on Amazon. So now, all of the brands are starting to worry that putting all of their eggs in one basket is running the risk of helping Amazon get more data to come up with private-label versions of their products.” As such, brands and retailers are increasingly going to Shopify to kickstart their e-commerce initiatives in ways that won’t necessarily spawn greater competition from Amazon or even Facebook.
Buy-now-pay-later financing is replacing credit card transactions
As e-commerce grows, so do latter-day layaway plan financing services such as Affirm, Afterpay, and Klarna, which doubled in users in just one year. One of the reasons for this growth is that, unlike with credit cards, shoppers don’t have to pay any additional interest when using buy-now-pay-later services. “Instead of spending money on marketing,” Tung says, “these services pay the interest for you.” Interestingly, this financing trend started in Brazil, which has more buy-now-pay-later transactions than any other country, but Tung sees the use of these payment services growing in the U.S., particularly for big-ticket items such as consumer electronics and appliances. “More people and brands are starting to embrace it,” he says. “Peloton has done well with buy-now-pay-later; it’s one of the fastest-growing parts of Peloton’s business. I can also see it doing well with appliance retail; people would rather pay off big purchases over 24 or 36 months.”
Livestream shopping is huge in China,
but it’s not quite ready for primetime in the U.S .— yet
“Amazon and eBay started in the U.S., but it’s now coming back full circle because more e-commerce and innovation is happening in China,” says Tung. “Livestream shopping in the U.S. is getting a lot of buzz, but in terms of volume it’s still on the small side.” Even though Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and other live video giants are dipping their toes in the livestream shopping arena, “it’ll take more refinement and iterations to get it right,” says Tung.
There are certainly more gems of eCommerce wisdom such as these from Tung and other experts in the field. We’ll make sure to keep sharing these in the coming weeks and months in the pages of this magazine and online at dealerscope.com.
Tom is the Editor in Chief of Dealerscope.