It would be an understatement to say that the past year was eventful for everyone having anything to do with ecommerce. There was new development galore in 2012 for ecommerce. All those developments pointed to a juicy future for ecommerce, however.
Pinterest: The social media platform emerged triumphant after an initial brush with copyright issues. There was talk that Pinterest was responsible for a significantly higher number of social media conversions than even the social media giants. It is still a highly debatable issue, however, given that it is still early days for Pinterest. Before it comes into its own as a social media platform for one and all, it will require some more water to flow under the bridge.
Tablets: Apple’s iPad broke new ground in the mobile device market. Its popularity prompted other OEMs to follow the lead and launch their own tablets. In 1Q12, tablets surpassed smartphones as devices used for ecommerce activity. In 2013, tablets are expected to become the device for online shopping, more than ever before.
Internet Sales Tax: Amazon benefitted to a great extent from selling products that did not require the buyer to pay sales tax on Amazon products. That seems to be on the way out as several states now require companies such as Amazon to collect sales tax. Amazon and other ecommerce players will be challenged in 2013 to find other means to retain consumers’ interest. Make way for healthy competition!
Google Penguin: This algorithm update shook up ecommerce sites that engaged in black-hat SEO techniques such as link spamming and keyword stuffing. You cannot help wondering how businesses with a responsibility to grow and do well can afford such a colossal waste of time and money. It was amply clear after the Panda updates that Google wasn’t going to tolerate black-hat practices any longer. Penguin was an important lesson for ecommerce businesses. Quality content rules undaunted.
In addition to these events, ecommerce generally prospered in 2012. Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales shattered all previous records, although overall holiday retail spending was less than expected.
Issues that need urgent attention in 2013 include ramping up security for credit card data, better sites and services for audiences, and using rich internet applications and personalization techniques to enhance the user experience.