What is around the corner this coming year in the eCommerce space? I asked some knowledgeable peeps about what they see as trends and predictions for 2019.
In early December, thanks to the generosity of WPMUDEV, I attended WordCamp US in Nashville. It is the national conference for WordPress, where I spend a good two days in conversations with friends and colleagues, old and new.
I asked 23 of the attendees what they see in the future of eCommerce in 2019. Some great new insights here as well, as a few that were worth repeating.
Today’s transcript is brought to you by Liquid Web, WooCommerce hosting done the right way.
Hello everyone, BobWP here. As we dive into 2019 I thought, what would be better than to get some insights into trends and predictions for the eCommerce space. While I was in Nashville at WordCamp US in early December, I had the chance to find 23 of the brightest minds in WordPress and eCommerce and ask them what they saw coming in this new year. Let’s listen in:
Matt Mullenweg – Automattic
My name is Matt Mullenweg and I believe in 2019 eCommerce is going to become a lot more about control and flexibility. So yeah, there’s been some very successful, super large platforms and people are going to start to run into the edge of the business models there. Or, start to not be fully aligned with what all those platforms are doing for them. So people would then begin to appreciate the importance of owning your own domain, running your own software, and the flexibility that provides. I hope that all the eCommerce solutions built on WordPress, whether that’s easy digital downloads, eCommerce, will be there for people who want that full 100% GPL open-source experience.
Zach Barrientos – PayPal
Hi this is Zach Barrientos, I’m with PayPal Merchant Services. As far as the prediction for 2019, I believe that the marijuana industry, once it becomes regulated by the federal government, will have a huge increase as far as e-commerce goes. It’s not much of a bold prediction, because it’s probably going to happen. But I see that probably tipping the scales in 2019.
James Farner – WPMUDEV
So I’m James Farmer from WPMUDEV (possibly the most difficultly named WordPress company out there.) And yeah, eCommerce in the next year? I think you’re going see two main developments, specifically about immediacy, you know? People are starting to accept the fact that an order should be delivered in an hour, or two hours, or three hours. It’s becoming a norm.
The second one is custom. As in, I mean we’re over here next to a jet pack store, you know they’re making unique items that people want to have that reflects who they are and what they are, rather then necessarily just buying into some generic kind of chain. And so yeah, I think across the net that’s what we’re probably going to see in 2019.
Patrick Garman – Mindsize
My name is Patrick Garman. I’m a partner with MindSize, an e-commerce focused agency. We do WordPress and non-WordPress focused e-commerce. Primarily WooCommerce. My prediction for 2019 is that we’re going to see a lot more people moving out of the WooCommerce space. You have WooCommerce as a heavy player in the e-commerce space. Everyone can take WordPress for free and WooCommerce for free and start up their shop. Which has led to a lot of stores growing very rapidly and both finding that they love WordPress and that they hate WordPress. We’re going to see a lot more of a hybrid approach between WordPress and other platforms, like BigCommerce, like Shopify and I think you’re going to find a lot of hosts getting involved in this space as well, helping power those solutions.
My hope is that these solutions are host agnostic and you don’t have to go to host A to get the integration between WordPress and whatever platform you want. But we will see what happens.
Matt Cromwell – GiveWP
Hey, this is Matt Cromwell. I am partner and head of support at GiveWP.com. I’m thinking for 2019 in the realm of nonprofits and donations, you should be looking for the donations really going through the roof. This year, for giving Tuesday, in the United States they donated over 700 million dollars in one day. It’s just a phenomenal amount of money and next year I think it’s going to be at least 150% more. So donors and all the non-profits in North America are really stepping up. Donations are eCommerce and people have to take this part of the market really seriously.
James Law – Ninja Shop
Hey I’m James Laws, from Saturday Drive. We’re the creators of Ninja Forms, Ninja Shop and a bunch of other things. So I’m making my 2019 eCommerce prediction. Here’s the thing, I think you’re going to see a lot more e-commerce solutions pop up. People are going to start to figure out what the landscape looks like, you’re going to see a lot more options available at different pricing tiers. Ninja Shop is trying to be one of those as well, to find a way for people to get started on a lower budget, before they start selling things. And then prove that strategy. And I think you’re going to see a lot more of that, you’ll see big commerce coming into WordPress. So you’re just going to see a lot more players coming into the space. I think you’re going to see that heavily in 2019.
Joe Casabona – Creator Courses
Alright, my name’s Joe Casabona from CreatorCourses.com and I think that for 2019 the eCommerce space is going to see kind of a boom in dropshipping. Which is not something that we’ve talked about at least in my space a lot. But I’ve interviewed people on my podcast, I’ve heard predictions from other people in the space that a lot more services can better focus on that and make it more accessible, so I think we’ll see a lot more dropshipping in 2019.
Pat Ramsey – Crowd Favorite
This is Pat Ramsey, director of technology for Crowd Favorite and my thinking towards 2019 and eCommerce is that I would like to see two things, and I think we’re going to see this come true as we have more and more people getting into e-commerce with things like WooCommerce, where the barrier to entry is lower. I hope that we see a shedding of old code, a lot of dead weight. Code that was written years ago that is either no longer needed, has been deprecated, or is otherwise just sitting there causing problems on your site.
The second thing I’d like to see is, goes along with that, and that is as we see more people coming into eCommerce that we see more longer-term thinking before you get into your site. You know, realizing that if you’re going to be working with eCommerce, you’re basically running a store. And so, just like a brick and mortar store, you’re going to want to think about what you’re doing. You’re going to want to plan. Don’t just go find a plugin and hope for the best.
Topher DeRosia – BigCommerce
Hey, I’m Topher, I’m with BigCommerce and my eCommerce predictions are that we’re going to see a lot more API based e-commerce stuff. Obviously both from BigCommerce, which is API based, but I think we’re going to see a lot more stuff in WooCommerce as well with Jetpack implementations and moving services off your server into the cloud.
Dustin Hartzler – WooCommerce
I’m Dustin Hartzler and I have podcast server at YourWebsiteEngineer.com. I’m also on the eCommerce team for WooCommerce at Automaticc. I think the prediction that I have for 2019, when it comes to eCommerce, is we’re basically going to go up and to the right. I think that it is going to continue to grow and with some of the cool things coming with Gutenberg, especially for WooCommerce, it’s going to be easier and easier for customers to add their products to specific pages or blog posts or what-not.
And I think we’re going to see a lot of activity when it comes to the new Gutenberg interface, just being able to really customize your site and get your products more visible—not just on the shop page, but any site or page on your website. That’s what I think in 2019.
Justin Nealy – GoDaddy
Hey this is Justin Nealy, I work at GoDaddy as a hosting supervisor. So I get to basically help people with their sites all day. My prediction of like, eCommerce ecosystem with WordPress is it’s going to get a lot simpler, right? Right now it’s pretty overwhelming for a first time user to get a whole WordPress site, let alone a store. With the power of Gutenberg and all the other builders making it easy, that’s going to be the future. So anybody and everybody can create a WordPress site, e-commerce, WooCommerce, or whatever plugin they want. Super simple without a lot of technology.
Brian Richards – WPSessions
So my name’s Brian Richards and I run WPSessions, and by extension the WordSesh conferences. And for 2019, I’ll tell you what I want to see coming for e-commerce. I want to see more headless style eCommerce, like BigCommerce is bringing to WordPress. Because that’s very interesting to me to see e-commerce showing up in unexpected places. I’m also interested in seeing more sort of boutique shops. Sort of people creating their own sort of independent, Etsy stores. Because the barrier for entry is being reduced.
What I think we’ll actually see is not a lot of major shift. It will be a very slow, sort of glacier-like change. Where in any given moment it’s not like, materially different than it was last month or even last year, but by the end of the year we’ll be seeing things where perhaps the templating in WooCommerce has shifted the ways in which people are selling or promoting their goods, because of the way social networking has changed. Like people sharing what they’re selling on Facebook and Twitter and stuff. We’ve tried lots of different things, we’ve seen people try lots of different things with terms of like, adding buy buttons to Twitter, that failed. And just mirroring their products on Facebook, which succeeds for some people and not for others. I’m hoping to see more people with independent stores driving traffic to those stores through these other channels.
Brent Shepard – Prospress
Hi, this is Brent Shepard from Prospress. My 2019 eCommerce prediction is that we’ll continue to see massive growth in mobile and hopefully see seamless checkout from a mobile browser without having to fill in forms and fields and everything on WooCommerce. Lots of other platforms will have a much more seamless checkout experience on mobile.
Chris Badgett – LifterLMS
I’m Chris Badgett from Lifter LMS. And what I’m seeing in the eCommerce industry is I’m hearing more and more especially in European markets that people are moving off hosted eCommerce to WordPress eCommerce because of GDPR and privacy issues. So they want to own, they’re moving from the SaaS kind to self-hosted WordPress so they have the data located in their country, which is one of the requirements for European GDPR. So what I’m seeing is people moving off SaaS to WordPress. Not just in eCommerce, for privacy reasons.
My other prediction is there’s a maturation happening in the market in terms of more complex tax issues, so we’re going to continue to see innovation around and maturity happening around all the complex tax requirements. And I think we’re going to see a couple of players emerge to provide an easy solution because it’s a really hard thing for the individual site owner to figure out. They need some kind of middleware to help manage all the tax implications, especially if your e-commerce is global.
Brian Krogsgard – Post Status
Hello my name is Brian Krogsgard. I run Post Status. Post Status is all about analyzing the WordPress world, everything that’s happening in it. Thank you, Bob, for the opportunity to talk about what I think is happening in eCommerce in 2019 and in terms of WordPress, I think that everybody is looking to up their game.
They have stores that are using eCommerce platforms with WordPress because it was easy to do, and now all of a sudden they’re successful and they have a lot going on and now they have way bigger problems. Some of those are business related and they don’t want to deal with the platform stuff. When you have problems on the platform, if it’s about scaling or user interface or the experience managing orders or connecting to your warehouse, those are the things that we haven’t done a great job of thinking about as platform people in the WordPress landscape, whether it’s WooCommerce or EDD or whatever platform you’ve got out there. I think that it’s important to build experiences that are going to solve those problems that people are physically running into as their store becomes a success.
Certainly from a performance and scaling perspective, it’s mandatory. But I think it needs to go beyond that. I think we’ll see more of that in 2019, where people start to really dig in to how does an e-commerce store owner go about their day. And as they go about their day, what would make it easier managing the store, fulfilling their orders and doing those things? What can we do on the website side of things to make that more doable, simpler? I think we’re going to see people pay more attention to that side of things because if they don’t, then somebody else will try to serve that need. We want them to keep using WordPress tools, so that’s what I hope to see.
Beka Rice – Skyverge
I’m Beka Rice. I’m head of product at SkyVerge, where we build WooCommerce plug-ins for merchants. One of our biggest products is not a plug-in, it’s Jilt. Which is an SasS app that does email marketing, but it’s built for eCommerce. One of the trends I’ve been really interested to see in e-commerce, and I said this last year and I think it’s still going to hold true in 2019 is: VR is going to be the future of e-commerce. This year, we have seen some really cool things on different platforms where merchants have introduced VR apps so people can have a kind of virtual shopping experience.
You know, take an outfit, lay it out on a table, see how things look together, pick things up, kind of get a sense for dimensions, furniture sellers have been doing this. Amazon has been experimenting with VR and AR, or augmented reality, this year. So that people can take furniture and drop it into their room and see how it looks.
So given all these tools, they can kind of take the online shopping experience and bring them to you as a person, I think we’re really going to see eCommerce going down that track, to bridge the gap between what you can do online and what you can do in a store.
Scott Bolinger – AppPresser
Hey it’s Scott Bolinger here from AppPresser. My prediction for 2019 eCommerce: I think that 3D security is going to be really important for merchants to take notice of. I know there are platforms like Stripe that are coming out with new integrations for integrating 3D security into their credit card payments. And they have some new checkout flows that are related to that. Like where users will actually be redirected to Stripe and then redirected back to the site, instead of the checkout actually happening on the merchant site. Kind of like the way that the old PayPal flow used to go. So that will actually take care of a lot of security and liability concerns for a lot of people. So that will be something to watch for.
Devin Walker – GiveWP
Hey this is Devin Walker, I’m head of product at GiveWP.com. My prediction for eCommerce in 2019 will be that more people will start using 3D Secure and 3D Secure 2.0 will actually be used more on live sites and security is going to be more and more important to those shoppers out there. Not only in the WordPress world, but e-commerce at large.
John Gilbert – Qaulpay
Hey, this is John Gilbert from Qualpay. For 2019, I think we can expect a big rise in mobile payments. Also, a rise of unified commerce where customers are expecting a single-lens shopping experience. Where if they purchase something online, they expect to be able to return it in-store, without any hassle. I think you’re going to see that more and more. And the expectations that platforms can accept Omni-channel, essentially, being able to offer point-of-sale solutions, eCommerce, really you need to be anywhere that your customers want to pay.
Remkus de Vries – Yoast
Hi, my name is Remkus de Vries. I work at Yoast as manager of partnerships. My prediction as far as 2019 with regards to eCommerce is the niche within the niche. That to me is where a large portion of the growth of e-commerce will go.
Kyle Maurer – Sandhills Development
My name’s Kyle Maurer. I’m with a company called Sandhills Development and e-commerce is a focus of ours and. In 2019 one of the things that I’m really expecting, and it’s a little bit broad, is that there’s a much greater expectation than ever before that you’ll be doing eCommerce. Anybody that’s selling anything is increasingly expected to be selling it online. And it’s like we had 10 or 15 years ago where you were expected to have a website and there were all kinds of organizations helping businesses get started with their websites and new platforms for the user who didn’t know how to code to get it started because everybody needs one and we’ve all kind of agreed on this.
Well we’re getting to a point now where everybody kind of agrees you need to be selling online, regardless of whatever it is you’re selling. Even if it’s a service you’re selling. Even if you’re just a consultant or an accountant or a doctor or something like that, increasingly the expectation is that you will be selling online. And so I think, in a similar way, the way for years we saw people, a lot of options, like people running seminars and your local chamber and SBDTC running like training lessons to get your website online, we’re going see similar stuff like that. How to be seen online and like, that’s going to be the next iteration of intense focus for business owners of all kinds.
Zach Stepek – Mindsize
Zach Stepek with Mindsize. My prediction for 2019 is that now that we’re starting to see more competition in the eCommerce space surrounding WordPress we’re going to see more innovation. We know that competition breeds innovation and I think that it’s going to be a big year for seeing new things emerge in the eCommerce space, especially around WordPress.
Oscar Omegna – WPMUDEV
Hello, my name is Oscar Omegna with WPMUDEV. I operate as an advisor and my next year prediction, 2019 for eCommerce, more than a prediction, is high- eyebrow thinking about how the eCommerce industry is going to respond to the variety of cryptocurrencies that are coming? Are we going to see eCommerce go on ICO? Are we going to see them collecting different kinds of currency? How is that going to bank with the banks, how’s that going to migrate and work with the payment gateways? And how they’re going to push vertically and horizontally to actually understand different countries’ cryptocurrencies. There will be more and more as many other companies go ICO, as many other eCommerce selling just cryptocurrency. I think we will see ups and downs and comes around to adjust so I think 2019 is going to be that adjustment year for anything cryptocurrency and ICO.