While it’s easy to see some trend lines, others will undoubtedly surprise us.

2019 was a big year for ecommerce.1219_IR_DigitalEdition_BlastCover

Amazon drove consumers to expect their online orders faster than ever after remaking Prime into a 1-day delivery program.

Urban Outfitters, Banana Republic and others helped rental clothing services go mainstream.

Happy Returns’ hundreds of “return bars” within Paper Source and Cost Plus World Market and other physical stores made it easier than ever for shoppers to return items they bought from online-only retailers such as Rothy’s.

And a number of major retailers embarked on strategic shifts, including Walmart (selling ModCloth, integrating Jet.com into the larger company and investing in a number of grocery-related omnichannel initiatives), Target (expanding its same-day delivery options), Shopify (expanding into logistics) and eBay (selling StubHub to “focus” on its online marketplace)


So what will developments will lie in the year ahead? While it’s easy to see some trend lines, others will undoubtedly surprise us.

It’s safe to say that more consumers will shift more of their shopping online and that more of that online shopping will take place on their smartphones. More consumers will expect their online orders to arrive at their doorstop the same day or day after they hit the Buy button. And they’ll also want simple means to access customer service—in the channel of their choosing—and to return their orders.

Some merchants will thrive by exceeding consumers’ expectations, while others will fail. And given the likelihood of an economic slowdown, some retailers will struggle through no fault of their own.


Zak Stambor, Editor