The Ultimate Recap of E-commerce Trends 2017

With the turn of the year right round the corner, I am sure that your timeline, and probably your recent search history, is full of e-commerce forecasts, trends, and predictions for 2018. Who doesn’t want to be prepared for the future, right?

But honestly 2017 was a pretty awesome year that saw some serious developments, interspersed with high voltage drama, and concluding in big gains. BIG. GAINS.

Are you wondering whether you and I lived through the same year?

Don’t worry, here’s a quick recap of everything that happened in the world of E-commerce in 2017:

Give me your digits

1. First up, online retail sales grew by 16% in 2017. It pole vaulted from 7.4% last year to a cool 8.6% in 2017.

Team Millennials (18-29 yrs) is still going strong. Of all the buyers who shop at least ONCE a week, their share is 35%.  

Show me the money

2. The spike in online retail was more than evident during the big daddy of all holiday events. Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) sales topped at $5 Bn. And Shopify merchants collectively generated $1 Bn on Cyber Monday (read more).

The king of e-commerce and Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, didn’t do so bad himself and had much to give thanks about this Thanksgiving 😉

His personal wealth jumped beyond the $100 Bn mark when the retailer’s shares saw an increase due to the optimism surrounding Black Friday. But what goes up must come down, and a tumble 5 days later ended his reign as the $100 Bn mogul (read more).

Combo power 

3. But that didn’t dampen Amazon’s charm in ANY way. Early 2017, Shopify’s integration with the giant meant that sellers could increase their sales by reaching out to buyers who aren’t aware of their brand’

And the latest e-commerce tool to offer their merchants the same opportunity is Ecwid (read more).   


4. And matching the pace of Amazon was Instagram with a slew of new additions this year.

The biggest of them all was BigCommerce and Shopify’s integration with Instagram Shopping helping their merchants sell their products on a medium notorious for its one clickable link in bio rule (read more).

This allows merchants to tag products for sale in their posts, and customers can buy the product without leaving the app!

Next in line was Instagram allowing users to FOLLOW HASHTAGS! What this meant for online sellers was that they could now get closer to their target audience.

Many of our users are now following hashtags so that potential customers (using the same tags) can show up in their feed. Simple.

To top it all off, Instagram said it’s completely OK to use old pics and videos for Stories. And just like that, sellers all over the world suddenly a discovered treasure trove of content in their phone!

You’ve got a message

5. 2017 also saw Facebook, the leader of the pack with 1.85% conversion rate, open up one of its 3 core platforms – Messenger – to ads. This was pretty much the need of the hour as the medium was running out of space on News Feed to show ads.

Now online sellers can choose between Destination, Home Placement, and Sponsored Messages.

Talk to the bot!

6. Machine Learning became THE buzzword in e-commerce. The whole idea of investing in Artificial Intelligence, which helps systems recognize individual behaviors & preferences without being programmed, took hold in 2017.

Brands and retail giants believe that this will help them realize the elusive one to one marketing in the coming year. And this was somewhat realized through chatbots.

We saw the rise of Conversational Commerce with 100,000 bots on Facebook’s Messenger beating email marketing hands down with 90% (approx) open rate and a CTR of 20% and more (read more).

The bots started with helping users book flights (KLM bot), and even sending them cocktail recipes.

But customer service soon overtook any other purpose that bots may serve. With 73% customers saying that they prefer talking to companies via live chat, it was a match made in heaven. They are automated, cost-effective, and reach people faster.

Look me up on Facebook

7. What helps in converting a website visitor into a customer really fast?

The answer is – a retargeting ad. Earlier this year Facebook combined the power of a conversion pixel and a tracking audience pixel into ONE.

In just two years, the pixel has revealed the extent to which it can help an advertiser target a potential customer based on their interests & behaviors.

With 88% of its total users living outside US and UK, Facebook added 4 new tools this year to help advertisers build an international audience.  

And a year after Shopify integrated with Facebook Pixel, Ecwid and Etsy did the same in 2017, making it easier for their merchants to tap into the 2.07 billion user base of Facebook. 

And you thought that 2017 was nothing special, right? 

Comment below to let us know what you’re looking forward to next year, or what’s got your selling instinct tingling!