We're seeing some amazing things happening with ecommerce. Online retailers are using data, trends, and analytics to more accurately target audiences and convert customers. The technology out there is truly incredible, and certain trends are pushing ecommerce forward in exciting and creative ways. The future of ecommerce is always difficult to predict, but these trends in particular are telling us that it'll be promising for the industry and for consumers alike. Here are the three that are pushing ecommerce forward.

1. Online Marketplaces

When it comes to ecommerce, big-name retailers such as Nike, Apple, Macy's and Lowe's continue to play a significant role in online shopping. They aren't the only ones in the industry, though--online marketplaces, such as Amazon, Jet, eBay and Walmart are seeing a massive boost due to their diverse product choice, dynamic pricing, time sensitive deals, rewards and convenience. The difference between the two is simple--online marketplaces allow third-party retailers to sell directly to consumers through their marketplace platform, whereas the retailers, like Macy's, don't allow other retailers to sell products on their sites. So why are online marketplaces pushing ecommerce forward?

"Marketplaces, such as Amazon and Jet, are the future of ecommerce because they continue to meet the discerning demands of increasingly busy, web savvy shoppers," said Josh Neblett, co-founder and CEO of etailz, a technology and data driven leader in marketplace ecommerce. "Giant marketplaces offer consumers the choices, savings and familiar perks they crave--whether they are bargain hunters, busy millennials, casual browsers or luxury products fans.

2. Mobile Shopping

Now that online shopping has become an integral part of our daily lives, it's time to ask, "What's next?" The answer is here - mobile shopping. Mobile shopping isn't new, but it has grown more than you might think. In fact, it comprises up to half of the products bought online. This trend sends one huge message - the ecommerce industry needs to optimize for mobile.

Ultimately, it's not a huge surprise. We collectively spend, on average, nearly five hours per day on our phones. Our phones are absolutely integral in our lives, and they're now integral to shopping. Think of how easy it is to buy things online. Now realize that you can do so with that supercomputer in your pocket. This is exactly why ecommerce is embracing mobile shopping - it makes our lives that much easier. It removes barriers to comfort and simplicity, and doing so engages consumers.

3. More Responsive Design

In fact, UI/UX is a massively important part of ecommerce. When you consider that color choices alone influence spending habits, imagine the effect UI/UX has on people. Interfaces have to properly reflect brand positioning, they have to be easy to navigate, and they have to appeal to the right audiences. Their experience has to be positive, because if it's subpar, they'll go somewhere else in a heartbeat.

That's why ecommerce is making a huge push for more responsive design. The right shopping experience can turn a visitor into a loyal customer. Conversely, a poor design actively hurts sales. Offering an easier shopping experience boosts sales because it makes purchasing that much easier. It influences customers to spend more time on the site, which increases engagement and conversion rates.

Published on: Mar 11, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.