What Should be Expected in 2013
eCommerce is a rapidly growing industry. Every year the number of online stores increases, new solutions appear, dated platforms are forced out from the market, and millions of dollars are spent to survive the strict competition. Still more rapid growth is predicted for 2013, and its not surprising. Internet trading is so popular that “in the future, instead of buying bananas in a grocery store, you could go pick them off a tree in a virtual jungle”. (Yasuhiro Fukushima, business executive). To succeed in eCommerce it is not enough to go with the flow. You have to be one step ahead. Therefore, you will be interested in some predictions for 2013 eCommerce development.
For all appearances, Magento platform will continue to lead the industry, with the constantly growing community of users and developers. Magento always provides merchants with advanced functionality, which includes one page checkout, rich merchandising suit, private sales, customer attribute management, multi store support.
With pent breath Magento 2.0 version is awaited. Developers promise to revolutionize the shopping cart functionality with innovative updates. The most promising changes will be:
– component oriented modules which will give an opportunity to disable unnecessary components
– platform available on github which allows community to add new features, fix bugs and contribute in Magento development.
– Magento 2.0 will be not not backwards compatible so the modules will require to be updated
– New layout with different containers
These and lots of other improvements are likely to keep Magneto on top for the 2013 year and confirm the reputation of “platform for growth”.
Speaking about Magento, such feature as multi store support was mentioned. The feature is becoming more and more popular, and the prediction is – it will bring competitive advantage to the shopping carts which support it. A good example of it is PrestaShop 1.5 version. Though unstable at the beginning, it won a lot of customers adding multi store management to its functionality. Other shopping platforms that can boast of this advanced feature are CS-Cart, OpenCart, and platforms which appeared as a result of OpenCart and Joomla integration such as MijoShop, AceShop. Choosing these carts users will search for the following benefits of multi store:
– ability to theme stores differently
– set products for each specific store
– localize stores by setting different default languages, currencies
– provide discounts for different customer groups
– single admin panel to manage all stores
Hosted platforms are gaining popularity today. The reasons why users will choose hosted and cloud solutions are the following:
– web hosting and maintenance are provided by the company developer
– constant updates are available
– cart installation and store launch are quick and easy
– intuitive management even for non-technical users
– service providers take care of development issues
– not much investment is required
– free trial periods are available to check shopping cart functionality
The most popular hosted solutions, that are predicted to grow even more in 2013 are BigCommerce, Volusion, Shopify and 3DCart. Former users of Interspire cart which discontinued support in 2012 are likely to migrate to BigCommerce as it is an improved alternative from the same company developer. Shopify continues to amaze it’s users with simplicity and feature set including ecommerce forums to support their user base.
Volusion has disappointed customers at the end of the year having troubles with sites running and cart technology. Hopefully, the shopping cart will rehabilitate in the new year, as it has considerable experience in the industry and has already developed rich functionality. Another benefit which will attract users is that hosted solutions use API. You will not have to download connection bridge to perform the integration with platform.
Unfortunately, some carts are unlikely to survive the competition unless they make updates to catch up with modern trends. osCommerce latest version appeared in 2011 and is still in development. It lacks even basic content management features, not to mention the innovative ones which were added to almost every popular platform. All that osCommerce can offer are add-ons provided by community.
Though Zen Cart can offer more features than osCommerce however the situation is frustrating as well. The platform is developed too slowly. Zen Cart 1.5 was released in 2011 and for a long time was unstable. Obviously, the platform with limited functionality and rare updates is not merchants’ dream. Also, there is a growing tendency to migrate from Yahoo store. The platform is API based and offers some basic functionality, but probably doesn’t justify the expectations of store owners.
Among other predictions for the 2013 is the increased interest in mobile commerce. The use of mobile devices in shopping purposes is more and more frequent so merchants are eager to occupy this niche. Thus, MobiCart platform will attract users providing them with mCommerce store and ability to synchronize it with eCommerce cart.
Finally, the use of content management systems for selling online. It is not new that most popular CMS threesome includes WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. The tendency shows that customers are prone to migrate from Drupal to WordPress, as they find it more user friendly. It depends on specific business requirements. However, WordPress introduced quite promising eCommerce plugin WooCommerce. In combination with WooThemes and numerous features the platform will be a tempting solution for online business owners. As for Joomla, it offers successful integration with OpenCart which results in multi functional and robust platforms – MijoShop and AceShop.
These are just the main predictions based on analysis of previous year achievements and general tendencies of eCommerce development. What new shopping carts, features and opportunities will be presented in 2013 remains a mystery. eCommerce has always been unexpected and dynamic, so the main advice is – stay tuned and be flexible, always ready to meet new trends as soon as they appear on the horizon.
Author Bio: Galya Yefymchuk, Marketing Assistant at MagneticOne, an innovative software company, developer of Cart2Cart – automated shopping cart migration service. Find out the full list of supported platforms here.