Here are some things I think will happen in the next 5 years in ecommerce.
- Someone will figure out the browse interface for ecommerce. They will start with apparel and will change how people shop for clothes. And over time it will extend to all the categories that you still see at the mall today.
- Physical world retail will become all about the experience. Today a store has two functions: letting you see and touch the product (showroom), and having enough stock of the product, so you can buy it there (inventory). These will separate, so the store (for many categories) will be a showroom only. When you buy the product, it will be shipped to you. The space can thus be optimized for experience, and shopping will be much more experiential.
- We are increasingly spending a lot of our time online. So the nature of products we wish to buy will change. There is no need to buy so many physical products, if we are spending so much time in the virtual world. Teenagers today already spend a fair amount of money in the virtual world, in the form of in-app purchases, in-game purchases, game marketplaces, etc... I think virtual products goes mainstream in the next 5 years.
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