The year of 2016 in Polish e-commerce will be remembered primarily for the sale of Allegro. It was one of the largest transactions of this type in the world, and for many of us, it had a surprising ending. What else happened in the world of e-commerce in Poland?
Despite the fact that funds were listed among the potential buyers, the most widely speculated entities were Amazon and the Alibaba Group. The outcome was unexpected, and in my opinion, it was favorable to our market. Undoubtedly, the situation will be much more interesting, and the competition between strong entities may be advantageous to customers.
What can be referred to as an interesting development, as it would be inappropriate to call it an event, was the launch of the Polish language version of the German Amazon website. On the one hand, Amazon is aware of the potential of the Polish market, but on the other, it is very slow in its actions. The launch of the Polish language version generated more traffic, but this certainly made no impression on the Polish leader in e-commerce. There is only one king in Poland, and although its name begins with the letter A, that king is Allegro. We should also not forget to mention the exceptional Allegro Christmas advert and the ‘Polish Legends’ series, which we hope is a promise of something bigger.
The potential of the e-commerce market
First and foremost, the market will be growing, which is good news in itself. Both clients and stores are growing in number. Secondly, the market will be developing in the direction of m-commerce. For several years now, experts have been announcing the coming of the year of the mobile. I think we need to stop talking about it and start seeing the reality. In actuality, not only Facebook creators are battling for the internet users’ ‘thumbs up’ (as exemplified by the time spent by users on the Facebook Timeline) but also increasingly more often by online stores. There is still much to be done in this field and whoever misses the right moment will stand to lose a great deal. It would be worthwhile to also raise the matter of multichanneling within this context. On top of that we should remember what happened last year in the West, where large chains such as Wal-Mart, closed their stationary outlets to simultaneously invest in e-commerce. This phenomenon will become increasingly common and the progress much quicker than we may expect. The shift of advertisement budgets of large chains to the Internet will have an impact on the entire industry, and become a driving force behind its development.
Challenges for the e-commerce industry
There is a great number of stores, or to put it more accurately, those who are in charge of the stores, who remain resistant to knowledge. Although so much is said about m-commerce and multichanneling, many stores are still not compatible with mobile devices. Of course, no one should be persuaded to make more profit, however, to lose money because of such negligence is quite an embarrassment. Anyone who runs an online store in 2017 which is incompatible with smartphones should take a moment to consider if this industry is where he or she should be. Also, the term ‘omnichannel’ continues to be a word on everyone’s lips, amusingly especially during industry conferences, rather than a fact we could experience in real life. Last but not least, I am under the impression that web analytics is still yet to be fully discovered by many stores. This, however, is a wider issue linked to the lack of experts in the field. Unfortunately, there is little sign that their numbers will rapidly increase.
M-commerce, chatbots and artificial intelligence – the future of e-commerce
The year of 2017 will be a continuation of all that happened in 2016, namely: the growing role of m-commerce and multichanneling, the increasing importance of marketing and the ability to draw the right conclusions from data, which continues to be generated. At this point, it is only prudent to mention chatbots, whose role in customer service will only be growing. Artificial intelligence (AI) as a whole will be gaining in importance in e-commerce, improving and accelerating customer service and reducing employee costs to the benefit of store owners. This is undoubtedly bad news for some of those employed in the sector, who in the future may find it necessary to requalify – and this applies to specialists in marketing, logistics, and the previously mentioned customer service.