This week, our friend Andy Geldman at WebRetailer shared 50+ predictions from industry experts for ecommerce in 2017. We’ve compiled a list on our top ten predictions for the year ahead, check them out below.

1. A big leap forward

“In 2017 we will see a big leap forward. Technologies such as machine learning will do the heavy lifting, and empower “one-click” solutions to complex problems. Everything is getting easier. We are surrounded by ever-evolving new technology, and a constant need to learn new tools and systems.”

Victor Levitin, CEO,

2. Being the cheapest might not be enough!

“Price will remain of paramount importance to online sellers, but buyers will increasingly view price in the context of seller metrics and performance. A cheap price without social proof of a trusted brand will do little for online sales. Shrewd sellers will adjust their prices by considering competitors’ seller performance, stock levels and ability to ship quickly.”

Seamus Breslin, Marketing Manager, RepricerExpress

3. Advertising costs will rise

“The landscape has changed for Amazon sellers, especially the ones who relied on incentivized reviews. People selling “me too” products are at the greatest risk, with Sponsored Ad costs increasing 3-4 times as sellers switch and double down. 2017 is the year to put offers, landing pages and paid external channels such as Facebook and Pinterest to the top of the resolution list.”

Danny McMillan, Amazon Seller and Public Speaker,

4. Free Returns No Longer the Exception

“Handling returns is going to be a greater challenge for online retailers in 2017. With free shipping becoming the norm, free returns may also set a benchmark in customer expectations that sellers will have to meet to remain competitive. Technologies that reduce returns, or streamline the process, will invariably see growth in the online sector as sellers factor the cost of returns into their overall plan to remain profitable.”

Brendan Doherty, CEO, SellerExpress

5. Amazon will continue to clean up reviews

“With the recent ban on incentivised reviews, Amazon has shown it is determined to clean up its review system and l expect this to continue into 2017. Sellers are going to have to work harder to get great feedback and reviews that buyers genuinely feel compelled to write because of the positive buying experience they’ve received. Anything that rewards hard-working sellers and punishes those trying to game the system is a positive development both on Amazon and the ecommerce world as a whole.”

Chris Dunne, Marketing Executive, FeedbackExpress

6.  Internet Sales Tax Back on the Radar

“The US election results left one party in control of the White House and Congress, which could be big news for online sellers when it comes to sales tax. Congressional Republican leadership have shown an interest in passing a national sales tax law, which may mean more online sellers will be forced to collect sales tax from more customers. However, internet sales tax doesn’t enjoy total support from any DC faction, so what this means is still hard to predict.”

Mark Faggiano, Founder, TaxJar

7. More Opportunities for Independent Retailers

“Businesses are beginning to embrace selling across all of the major platforms including Amazon, eBay and Facebook, as well as their own ecommerce sites, delivering more opportunities to independent retailers. Smaller online retailers can successfully partner with and compete against the mega-retailers from their own branded website and major marketplaces. By employing this approach, retailers can expect to earn up to three times as much than what could be achieved via one-off integrations.”

Brent Bellm, CEO, BigCommerce

8. More Demand for Integrated Services

“For those who are only selling on marketplaces, continued innovation from Amazon will push them out to sell on their own website and build a brand. Building a separate website is still a very costly game, so services that integrate marketplaces, website and EPOS will become the number one choice.”

Prabhat Shah, Founder, Online Seller UK

9. Focus on Data-Driven Methods

“I see that 2017 will require a deeper (and wider) expertise of digital marketing in order to succeed. With many people selling similar products, it is going to require more from sellers in order to attract, intrigue, and convert visitors into customers. The successful seller will have to understand SEO (to get visitors), pay-per-click (to get more customers), conversion rate optimization (to increase sales), and email marketing (to follow-up and get repeat customers). Sellers who focus on data-driven methods to make tweaks and improvements will reap outsized rewards in 2017.”

Andrew Browne, Co-founder, Splitly

10. Consumers Expect Personalization

“AI and cognitive technologies hit the mainstream consumer e-tail experience in 2017. Today’s customers are sharing incredible amounts of information and they expect retail marketers to use each piece to personalize every interaction on their journey. Your customers expect what they want, when and where they want it. These technologies will help you to meet their expectations without breaking the bank.”

John Lawson, Author, Speaker, Educator, Founder of The Ecommerce Group

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