2016 e-Commerce Predictions: Innovate or Die

Hariharan Kolam

As consumers become accustomed to a new, engaging online experience, websites are constantly being challenged to deliver the fastest, most secure overall experience. These demands mean a shift in the infrastructure and how we traditionally think about application delivery. With 2015 coming to a close, I offer some of my predictions of what the new year will bring and how companies will aim to innovate.

Companies Will Think Holistically About the Online and Offline Shopping Experience

For consumers, the online shopping experience isn’t linear, but fragmented between in-store and online shopping habits. Indeed, the start of the holiday shopping season this year saw these effects. It's estimated retailers saw $11 billion in online sales from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday, up 15 percent from last year.

Retailers currently have disparate buying experiences between shopping online and in stores, with the most prevalent integration being making purchases online and picking up within the store, or “click and collect.” For the most part, they are thought of as two separate experiences. In 2016, we’ll see the shopper’s experience between online and in-store be seamless, especially as online shopping starts to outpace in-store shopping. Several retailers are already making strides in this direction. Macy’s shoppers can download the retailer’s mobile app to help navigate them to exact products in the store, while JCPenney shoppers can use their mobile app to scan a barcode and comparison shop.

Machine Learning will be an Industry Standard in Application Delivery

New application delivery models that utilize machine learning and intelligently learn the application behavior will be the way forward.

As technology demands outpace the rate at which humans can respond, machine learning will become a standard, accelerating application delivery in unprecedented ways. Today, almost every company is considered a technology company, regardless of what industry it’s in. More and more functions, from marketing to sales to IT, will depend on machine learning to meet their customer demands and allow their businesses to scale. We are already seeing this shift occur with our customers, who want a more autonomous, continuous system that works with the needs of their business.

Browsers Will Become the New Attack Vector

In recent years, we’ve seen cyber attacks proliferate. As these attacks have been occurring mainly in the back end, the focus has been placed on building a set of technology capabilities that combat and prevent these attacks. Cyber criminals are now using the browser as an increasingly lucrative vehicle to launch sophisticated attacks on web-based applications, since the browser sits on the client side of these applications. As one big black box with little enforcement, browser and client side applications are the most vulnerable and least protected. Not only will popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and the like make advancements with better enforcement policies built in, but also new technology advancements will be made to web-based applications to prevent attacks from occurring through the browser.

While we reflect on the past year, it’s important that we be well prepared for what’s to come. In 2016, companies and their websites will be increasingly challenged to be one step ahead of emerging trends, thwart new cyber attacks, and demonstrate proven goals. Delivering the fastest, most secure application experience possible with cutting edge advancements will be crucial.

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