How would online retail evolve over the next decade

As the internet celebrates its quarter century anniversary this month, Shingo Okamoto of Rakuten explores how online retail will evolve over the next decade

By Shingo Okamoto


The Internet turned 25 years old on the 12th of March 2014, marking a quarter of a century since Tim Berners-Lee presented a paper outlining a way to easily access files on linked computers. This ultimately paved the way for a global phenomenon that has touched the lives of billions of people and totally transformed the way people buy and sell goods.

Let’s see how we perceive the online marketplace t shape up in the next decade.

International retail therapy from your armchair
Last year alone travellers to Singapore spent in excess of SGD 23.5 billion, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. However the days where international retail therapy required an international flight and excess baggage allowance are numbered. In the coming years a new generation of shopkeepers will emerge, uninhibited by location or country. At the touch of a button, via a smart-watch, web glasses, or mobile device, tomorrow’s shoppers will be able to browse virtual window displays around the world – from their local corner shop to a market bazaar 5,000 miles away.

Secure shopping passports will emerge
The multitudes of online web profiles in existence today will be replaced with a single unique and super secure shopping passport. This virtual ID will amalgamate purchases, amass loyalty points, track orders from multiple vendors and maps suggestions from social networks into one virtual profile, wherever a shopper travels online.

Siloed retail divisions will unite
Fuelled by the Internet of Things, retailers will understand the shopping journey more completely than ever before. Yet interpreting and reacting to vast quantities of retail data from various channels will require retailers to unite the traditionally siloed divisions of purchasing, marketing and web development. To thrive retailers must develop a cross-division collaboration culture, one which sees online and offline sales as complementary and intrinsically linked and develops a shopping experience based on these multi-channel findings.

Also Read: The web is 25 years old, don’t break it

As Earth’s population surges past 8 billion and internet penetration soars past 34 per cent, the expression ‘it’s a small world’ has never been quite so apt and the potential for international profit should be at the forefront of every retailer’s agenda. As the web speeds towards its third decade, we expect those retailers that embrace both global and local markets and seek to build tailored customer experiences to be primed for profit.

The views are of the author, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them.

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  • Rakuten
    Rakuten Japan Rakuten is a leading e-commerce company with more than 18 million customer accounts, focused on providing its customers with a rewarding shopping experience. Funding: 42.4M Venture Round Investors: Intel Capital