By 2015, companies will generate 50 percent of Web sales from social media and mobile applications, according to Gartner Inc.
The future of e-commerce was discussed at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, where it was concluded that since the number of mobile phones is starting to pass PCs, customers will start to use mobile browsers and location-based applications as the main type of interaction.
"E-commerce organizations will need to scale up their operations to handle the increased visitation loads resulting from customers not having to wait until they are in front of a PC to obtain answers to questions or place orders," says Gene Alvarez, research vice president at Gartner. "In time, e-commerce vendors will begin to offer context-aware mobile-shopping solutions as part of their overall Web sales offerings."
Furthermore, according to Gartner, 80 percent of North American and European online sellers will expand to other countries by 2013 – including Brazil, Russia, India, Africa, Japan and China. This growth is due to the expansion of the Internet, which has created new sales opportunities throughout the world.
"The increasing availability of access to the Internet via PCs, laptops and mobile devices is creating new sales channels in countries, because entry barriers are lowering, thereby increasing the number of online shoppers," says Mr. Alvarez. "By entering these countries via an Internet sales model, organizations can establish a presence in locations without having to create a physical sales location."
It is safe to say that the Internet has created vast opportunities for retailers, which will continue to grow as technology evolves. In addition, businesses should be prepared to take advantage of location-based applications, which provide a new marketing avenue for businesses to push personalized and local content to mobile devices, therefore driving sales both on and offline.