Top 10 e-commerce trends for 2019

Retailers, manufacturers and consumers should get ready for another disruptive year in the retail marketplace.

From the possible end of free returns to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), Absolunet has predicted the top 10 e-commerce that will impact North American retailers in 2019. The e-commerce agency and integrator said the effects of the trends, listed below, will be felt across the entire supply chain by brands, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and consumers alike.

1. Activist Consumers: The rising pressure of ethical e-commerce. Consumer values will strongly influence purchasing (and merchant) behavior with regards to everything from wasteful packaging to the environmental cost of two-day shipping.

2. The End of Free Returns? Retail's $400 billion a year elephant in the room is about to hit a tipping point as returns have increased 53% since 2015.

3. Sales Taxes: The tax-free party is over for consumers and merchants. Consumers will have to pay applicable sales taxes on all their purchases, and merchants will have to manage sales taxes in multiple jurisdictions.

4. Mobile E-commerce Gets Faster. Mobile e-commerce is about to get much, much faster and more fluid as progessive web apps blur lines between sites and apps.

5. Social Media Gets Transactional. Consumers will be able to buy directly on social platforms.

6. The QR Code Strikes Back. No longer app-dependant, the QR code will fulfill its potential and help brands provide product information.

7. Major Retailers Become Marketplaces Too. Retailers will fight Amazon by becoming just like the eCommerce giant: a digital marketplace.

8. In-Car E-commerce: Shopping on the Go. The new "drive-to-store."

9. Retailers Will Hire Their First AI Employee. AI will help retailers and merchants create more and better product content, improve SEO and merchandizing.

10. Product Content Syndication. Brands and manufacturers reclaim control of their product content.