E-commerce is how modern business is conducted. Millions of products are bought and sold online and the practice is only expected to grow. It is estimated that the industry will grow to $4.8 trillion in retail e-commerce sales projected worldwide for 2021. Businesses need to adopt online commerce or risk being left behind. Brick and mortar stores have some unique features, but e-commerce is an unstoppable force. Part of the e-commerce wave is the industry giant, Amazon. With Amazon comes the Amazon Effect, a consequence of how large Amazon is.

Amazon Effect

Entrepreneur.com explains: “The meaning of the phrase can vary depending on the industry being cited, but it generally refers to the difficulty many stores — particularly brick-and-mortar outlets — face when they compete with Amazon. The online retailer’s vast selection, fast shipping, free returns, low prices and “Prime” subscription service all serve to create high customer expectations for any retailer hoping to compete.”

You may think that this effect means that Amazon is forcing businesses to close, but many have withstood. Many companies have tackled the challenge and come up with creative ways to stay in the industry. This is just an example of the retail environment being in constant flux.

Mobile First

The E-commerce industry has been working with mobile users for a while, but 2020 may be the year that mobile takes over. Desktop users have been the majority of online shoppers for years, but mobile is not so slowly taking over the top spot. According to Statista, in 2018, 39.6% of all retail e-commerce sales in the United States came from a mobile device.Customers want to shop on the go and mobile fulfills that wish. As the trend continues mobile will rise and desktop will become the minority.

Because mobile is claiming the majority of users, your company’s store needs to be optimized for mobile. There are two ways to do this: you can either build a mobile friendly website or develop a mobile app. No matter which method you choose, make sure it is quality. Nothing will turn customers away faster than a poor mobile experience. Make your website personalized so it doesn’t look like any old website. Don’t be afraid to add flair and creative elements to make your site stand out.


It has been proven that customized and personalized emails are read far more often than canned messages, and the same goes for websites. Show customers recommended products based on what they have already bought. Tailored ads are more likely to be clicked on. Try out some of these methods to make your website or app even better.


One of the biggest e-commerce stories of 2017 was Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. There were questions about whether or not Amazon made a mistake, but online grocery shopping is increasing. A mid-2018 report found that online grocery orders account for 5.5% of total U.S sales. This indicates that online grocery shopping could increase in 2020.

AI and Chatbots

Robots are coming to e-commerce. They are coming in the form of AI and chatbots, useful tools to make shopping easier. As E-commerce – Platforms explains: “AI assistants can handle a number of tasks typically assigned to a human, such as managing inventory or handling inquiries. These digital assistants carry out various processes, freeing up time for you to focus on other aspects of running the business.

For instance, chatbots can fulfill a number of customer service needs, from answering questions about a product to discussing a complaint. AI and chatbots also learn from customer conversations and evolve to better assist in a user’s personalized e-commerce experience.”

The Amazon Effect is real, but it is not a death sentence for other companies. Many other stores, brick and mortar and online, have accepted the challenge of keeping up with Amazon. Through mobile first development, optimization, and customization, your company can stay competitive. New technology, like AI and chatbots, makes online shopping even easier for your customers. Take the suggestions in this guide to heart and your company will improve.


  • Nick Rojas

    Nick Andrew Rojas is a journalist and a self-taught serial entrepreneur who has worked with various startups as a business consultant. His work often discusses marketing, business and technology. He loves to connect so reach out on Twitter! @nickarojas. Nick volunteers for AMA Boston in his (limited) spare time.