With the world at our fingertips, many of us may take for granted how easy it is to buy and receive on demand. Online shopping has left an indelible footprint on society that goes far beyond the ability to buy an item at midnight while in our pajamas. Here are three of the biggest effects eCommerce has had on consumer lives and how businesses operate. If you're selling product online (and not taking this into account) - growth may be harder for you.

You're Not Social Or Digital First

There have been significant changes in how companies reach customers. The brand-consumer interaction is no longer solely through mass media. Digital marketing campaigns have the ability to target people where they spend the most time - online. We can no longer read email, check social media, play online games, use apps or even catch up on the news without being exposed to ads that are tailored to our specific interests and buying habits.  

Shopping itself also has become a different social interaction. Rather than a single conversation in a store, people share their opinions with multitudes of friends and followers via social media and online review sites. This immediate access to other customers' experience can be beneficial if your brand is receiving particularly good service or your advocates enjoy your brand's products.

Online retail has also created a new shopping event - the unboxing. People watch videos of someone - often a complete stranger - open a package and express their joy or disappointment. These vloggers and web personalities are influencers, and depending on their popularity and reach, can become valued marketing partners for a brand who wishes to reach a specific audience.  

You're Not Leveraging New Digital Economy Opportunities

With the power of the Internet, smaller businesses now have the ability to reach consumers on a national and even global scale. At the same time - they also have the ability to reach highly-niches audiences.  This ability to leverage digital to reach a large group of a particular niche audience is one of the powers of online business.

With e-retailers becoming more prominent, ancillary businesses that specialize in key functions, such as fulfillment, logistics, and warehousing, have grown to create their own sub-industry. The rise of fulfillment centers has contributed to the 355,000 jobs created in the eCommerce sector since 2007. This now the time to find where you fit in in this eCommerce game. If you aren't adapting to the host of new industries and sub-industries created - you may be missing out on ways to grow new revenue streams and create your unique legacy in the field.

You're Not Leveraging Data To  Personalize The Customer Experience

With convenience playing a defining role in how shoppers make a decision, companies can now connect with consumers via purchase and browsing history, interests and even location. Using this data, brands can target product suggestions and promotional deals, for a greater customer experience and increased sales.

A personal customer experience extends to allowing consumers to shop and interact however they prefer via an omnichannel experience. With the combination of online, physical and mobile channels, today's shoppers are free to mix and match outlets based on their needs, such as buy online and pick up or return in store.

These are but three ways eCommerce has changed the way people shop and how businesses operate. As online buying continues to grow, your business should be constantly thinking of ways to stay aware of the trends and ahead of the curve.   

For more information on how to grow your eCommerce business, download our EMERGE EBOOK here.