Are Google and Walmart going into Live Stream Shopping?

It appears that both Google, through YouTube and Walmart are approaching the idea of live stream shopping, each from a different angle.

YouTube has disclosed plans to turn its large video platform into a shopping venue. It’s already used as one of the largest how-to and influencer lead marketing platforms so it’s only natural that they would consider it.

Why does YouTube live shopping make sense?

Video is big in ecommerce and live video is going to be even bigger. With its following Shopify integration, YouTube will simplify video-lead purchases.

What are the cons?

YouTube is an advertising powered platform. Simply put – it’s pay to play. Let’s say Sephora wants to market their products through YouTube. They would use influencers or their own associates. This leads towards the question – who owns the data? Not the buyer data, which will have to end up with Sephora, so they could at least fulfil the orders but the visitor data. This sits with Youtube/Google. This might have worked 10 years ago but it’s a bit of a no-no with any rational retailer. It still is a great choice for small retailers and this makes Shopify a great choice as a partner.

Walmart buys a 7.5% stake into TikTok. Why?

Oracle and Walmart have received the “blessing” for a 20% acquisition into the hottest media discovery app / social tool TikTok. It kind of makes sense for Walmart to do it but why Walmart? Are they trying to reach an younger audience and look dope?

Nope.

They want to get into live shopping. They’ve previously missed the wagon on a few ecommerce opportunities that took them a decade to get back. Now they’ve noticed the live stream shopping trend in Chine, see the need for it in the North Americas, especially US, and want onboard.

Why it makes sense for Walmart to go into Live Shopping?

Well.. duh. They are the largest retailer in the US, see a great change happening and want on board. Appealing to younger generations is a great plus. But …

What are the cons of Walmart buying into TikTok?

Walmart, as all large companies are very hard to steer. They are a behemoth of a company that takes decades to move. Yes, when they do, they crush opposition, mostly given their logistics supply chain and distribution, which is unbeatable.

Yes, they have amazing staff with amazing ideas (which the TikTok shares purchasing is). But this is still the company that beat Amazon to the ecommerce launch only to forget about the whole ecommerce thing for 10 years, because “that’s not where our customer base is”. So … You might not get a Walmart Live soon.

What is Live Shopping and how big is it? 2020 facts and stats.

Live stream shopping makes every other retail trend in the past 30 years seem small. See what is it, how big is it and what you can expect from it.

Live Shopping is a relatively new commerce technology that uses live video streaming to connect shoppers and merchants.

At the core it’s kinda like Zoom but less conference-like. On one hand you have a sales representative who can be either a store associate or an influencer. On the other hand you have people that want to buy what they’re selling. Or just watch a live product demo.

Think of it this way – you know how Apple announces their products each year, they invite a bunch of people in the room but also broadcast the presentation globally? Take just the broadcasting part, add shopping buttons in the stream and there you have it – live shopping.

When did live stream shopping start?

There is no clear date of when “live shopping” started but it definitely took off quickly in 2019. With the introduction of live media streaming and with a sprinkle of social media influencer marketing, people started watching their idols live, showcasing products.

The live shopping revolution started in China, where mobile penetration and mobile usage habits have made it easier for ecommerce companies to adapt to switch to live shopping. The leader in the domain is Taobao, with 60% of Chinese shoppers having watched at least one live shopping stream on the platform.

Live shopping share in China by ecommerce platform
Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1130366/china-most-shopped-live-commerce-platforms/

Soon enough the trend started inching into the western world with leading online retailer opening Amazon Live in February 2019. The move was amazingly timed as in just a few weeks the Covid-19 pandemic stroke. Other ecommerce players are slowly adapting to change.

However, Walmart did think make a bid for TikTok and its obvious angle is targeting younger generations through live video shopping. While a great idea, Walmart is not know for its great execution of amazing ideas.

China reaches 900 million internet users and increases online spending with live shopping

One of the key factors in adopting new technologies such as live video shopping for the Chinese Market was its shear size. The lockdowns have increased internet consumption and adoption, with leading areas being Education (almost doubling to 420 milion users in just 10 months) and Live Shopping.

A report by Qin An, head of the Beijing-based Institute of China Cyberspace Strategy, mentions that 265 million Chinese internet users buy goods via live streams starting 2020. What’s most interesting is that this figure amounts to 47% of total stream-viewing audience.

So one in two video streaming watchers are potential video shopping buyers, with this probably increasing in the future. If the same proportion holds in the US, which has 232 million online video viewers, this means there is a potential market for roughly 115 million new customers that are in need for a better experience.

Covid killed the Retail Star. Will Live Video Shopping revive it?

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many stores to close temporarily or permanently. The trend is consistent across Europe and US. While the US retailers have been hit first and hardest, with over 14 000 stores closed and almost 2 million retailer workers being laid off, this wave of store closures will reach the EU soon. Initially store chains and SMB retail companies have been partly protected by government intervention and job supporting measures but this is unlikely to continue indefinitely.

The retail market at large has been transformed by ecommerce retailers in the past 20 years. With the recent Covid-19 pandemic, this trend has increased. Brick and mortar retailers are seeing their unit economics being displaced by challenger brands, mostly focused on online shopping and fast fulfilment. Traditional retailers are forced to carefully consider store space, employees headcount and their online operations.

First it took the brick and mortar stores

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many stores to close temporarily or permanently. The trend is consistent across Europe and US.  While the US retailers have been hit first and hardest, with over 14 000 stores closed and almost 2 million retailer workers being laid off, this wave of store closures will reach the EU soon. Initially store chains and SMB retail companies have been partly protected by government intervention and job supporting measures but this is unlikely to continue indefinitely. 

Retail chains such as H&M are starting closing operations as they saw their operations already in the read with 50% decreases in sales.

While ecommerce stores have saw initial surges in sales due to consumers ordering online this will probably see a backlash in the future. The increase in online sales was caused primarily by existing online purchasing trends and partly by consumers’ fear of Covid-19 infections. These increases in sales have been limited to products with repeated purchase habits. 

But online retail won’t be too good for too long

Many customers are unable to experience products like they did before and this in time will surely affect online retailers. After surge in sales many of them are able to return to the slow and steady rate of increase. However, this rate has not passed 20% in Europe historically .

This means that without a way to bridge the gap between online and in-store experiences, total retail sales are likely to decrease, stores will close and many retail workers will eventually be laid off. In this scenario a paradox of increased retail demand and decreased retail offering will result in an increase in prices, inflation and job losses.

Unless…

The store of the future is live

Quick question: what makes Instagram, Snapchat and Tik-Tok a good choice for Gen-Z? Is it the social networking features? Nope, many apps have that. Is it the video and rich media? Closer but not quite there. It’s the live interaction, one on one and one to many. In some cases, such as Fortnite – it’s many to many.

And retailers are tapping into this.

We noticed that both online and in-store retailers consider live stream shopping a viable model for existing operations.

Brick and mortar retailers see live stream shopping a way for them to decrease costs with retail spaces while at the same time retaining their strengths. They see live streaming as a way to quickly and seamlessly connect digital-savvy consumers to their in-store experiences.

Online retailers see live streaming as a way for them to quickly solve problems in terms of their customers experiencing products. In the past they have experienced with experience-only stores, open-on-delivery processes and return logistics. All of these have improved conversion rates but at the same time have increased unit economics and operational costs.

So what is next? Probably – live shopping operations. Taobao has been promoting this for quite some time with high success. Amazon has jumped on board and even Google has launched ShopLoop, a video shopping app. Live shopping software will probably continue to gain traction as the retailers need a way to reach their customers in an immersive way and consumers need better experiences than two-dimensional ecommerce stores or closed stores might offer.

Top 5 Virtual Event Platforms – Pros and Cons

As the world is increasingly consuming more and more streamed content, events have shifted towards the virtual world as well. To make virtual events happen, professionals need virtual event platforms. Here’s the top 5.

As the world is increasingly consuming more and more streamed content, events have shifted towards the virtual world as well. To make virtual events happen, professionals need virtual event platforms.

As demand has increased – so has the supply. With so many solutions out there, we’ve tested the most popular ones and came up with a short list of 5 that we recommend. Below you’ll find the top 5 recommendations, with a brief intro, pros and cons.

Let’s start with…

1. Zoom

With many of us working from home, there is no wonder why Zoom became such a popular video conferencing tool. It is one of the leading video conferencing software apps on the market. It allows employees to virtually interact with their colleagues when in-person meetings are limited or restricted. It has an integrated live chat feature and it allows users to record video and audio sessions to view later. Zoom is considered the most popular video conferencing solution for companies with 500 employees or fewer, and the second-most popular solution for businesses with over 500 employees.

Advantages

  • Unlimited one-on-one meetings – Users can spend as much time as they want, without any costs involved when conducting one-on-one meetings
  • Screen sharing feature – This built in function enables users to share their own screen during live calls. This way, participants can easily understand what is presented.
  • Participants don’t have to create an account – In order to join a meeting, a Zoom account isn’t required. The only person that needs an account is the one sending the invitation links to other participants. However, it’s still important to have your own account in order to keep track of appointments and begin to host your own meetings.

 Disadvantages

  • Unpredictable video quality – According to many users, at times, the video quality on Zoom can be blurry and pixelated.
  • 40 Minute free video chat limit on group meetings – If you plan to host a meeting with more than two participants, the duration of the call is limited to 40 minutes. To avoid that, users need to subscribe and pay a monthly fee.
  • Security vulnerabilities – Even if Zoom employees are currently doing their best to solve this issue, it still seems to be disturbing for many users. It seems that random people would show up during video conferences, disrupting attendees with offensive content. Users with free Zoom accounts can avoid this by using a password for all meetings.

2. Streams.live

Streams.Live video intro

Streams.live is an innovative video-streaming platform designed to transform social distancing into an opportunity. it works great as a virtual event platform. It brings in features of traditional event management software and it enables content creators and entrepreneurs to easily monetize their work in a virtual environment. The cross-platform functionality enables hosts and viewers to access their passions from any device. The video stream can be fully customized from a simple logo detail to full background customization and viewers can participate in two-way conversations, thanks to the available engagement tools (claps, live chat, live polls and direct messaging).

Advantages

  • Paid access to streams – This feature might be the key differentiation between other streaming solutions. Content creators can simply monetize their hard work virtually. By purchasing a ticket, virtual attendees can simply input the ticket code and get instant access to paid content.
  • Live Stream Shopping – This feature is designed for businesses that seek to sell their list of offerings in a fun and interactive manner. Viewers can purchase presented products, without leaving the streamed event. Also, the chat room enables viewers to ask product related questions in real time.
  • Instant payments – With more than 135 currencies and 57 cryptocurrencies accepted, content creators don’t need to wait for their money. Streams.live has well-established partnerships with Stripe, PayPal and Crypto.com.

 Disadvantages

  • Only the host can stream video – Since this is a solution designed for content creators, as a viewer, streaming your own video is not an option. However, the engagement features (live chat, polls, direct message) allow viewers to interact with one another.
  • Onboarding process – Some users might need to go through an onboarding process to fully understand the variety of features available. However, online and phone support is available 24/7.

3. Adobe Connect

Part of the Adobe Acrobat family, Adobe Connect is a web conferencing software used for organizing virtual meetings, webinars and training sessions. Meeting rooms are organized into ‘pods’ and each pod is designed to perform a specific role (chat, whiteboard, note, etc.). Adobe Connect is meant for Learning, Webinars and for Meetings.

Advantages

  • Audience engagement tools – During conferences or online meetings, participants have several features that allow them to interact with one another. Among these features, this solution come with things such as live chat, integrated survey/quiz tool, a digital whiteboard and viewers can also share files during a call.
  • Participants can record calls – This build in function enables viewers to record calls (audio/video sync is lost if exported to MP4) with the host’s permission.
  • Virtual room design – This feature enables organizers to design their own virtual room for a more realistic experience. It can be customized with layouts, pods and content and it can be saved for further meetings.

 Disadvantages

  • Complex software with no personality – Some users consider that further support is needed to use the software at its maximum capacity. Besides that, the interface feels very corporate and impersonal, with white and grey colors.
  • It’s a bit pricey – Pricing information is limited on their website, but users seem to consider this solution a bit overpriced.

4. Cisco Webex

Cisco Webex products deliver collaboration tools, such as online meetings with integrated chat and file sharing features. This cloud-based suite of productivity tools consists of WebEx Teams, WebEx Meetings and WebEx devices. It is used for both small group collaborations and enterprise-wide deployments. For a clearer idea, here are the key offerings provided by WebEx: video conferencing, webinars (up to 3000 attendees), training sessions (instruct through a digital whiteboard and charge for your training), remote support (real-time service for customers in need) and cloud calling.

Advantages

  • Cross-platform functionality – Users can attend meetings from any device. Being a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, participants can connect from anywhere as long as internet connection is not an issue.
  • Branded devices – The Webex devices are optional and include tools designed for a more efficient team collaboration. For example, the Cisco Webex Board is an all-in-one conference device capable of sharing live presentations with a broad audience.
  • Large-scale virtual events – This feature enables users to host large-scale virtual events for geographically dispersed audiences. It supports up to 3000 attendees in a single event and up to 1000 on video.

 Disadvantages

  • Limited customer support – For the free and starter plans, customer support is limited. The free plan only provides online customer service options, while the Starter plan requires users to call a representative during regular business hours for support.
  • Internet Explorer as default browser – Webex is designed to work at its maximum capacity on Internet Explorer as a browser. For those that would rather use Firefox or Chrome, additional setting are required before clicking on a link shared through their software.

5. WorkCast

WorkCast is a platform that provides solutions for webinars, webcasts, and virtual events. This cloud-based technology enables organizers to accommodate up to 50,000 attendees. It has a good reputation for its branding capabilities, designed to have an end-to-end event experience that looks just as good as a website. Since its foundation in 2008, WorkCast has run over 8,000 events for more than 1 million attendees across 20 countries.

Advantages

  • Excellent support – Users are very pleased with the responsiveness of the WorkCast team and their innovative solutions to accommodate special request.
  • Easy to customize and onboard sponsors – The branding and customization features are user friendly and enable sponsors to get the right amount of exposure in a virtual environment.
  • Virtual open days – This feature enables educational institutions to present their university grounds to prospective students.

 Disadvantages

  • Regular updates – Even if these updates are made to deliver better experiences, users need to get in touch with a representative to find out how new features work.
  • Test events before going live – Users testify that they were better off with a couple test events in advance.

Best text to speech generator

If you are looking for an awesome text to speech generator you have to think about several things that will make your generated voice awesome:

  • How natural does the generated voice sound?
  • How easy it is to use this software (do you have to sign up or download anything)?
  • How much can you extend it (add voice breaks, emphasis, improve pitch or tone)?
  • Is it free?

The best text to speech system I can recommend is SPIK.ai, a free web app that uses AI to generate natural sounding voices. Why is this the best option, in my opinion? Find the reasons below.

Text to speech - natural voices
SPIK.ai – Natural sounding Text to Voice software

Using deep learning to generate natural voices

The human voice is actually very hard to generate, if you are using older algorithms. With newer approaches (for example convolutional or recurrent neural networks) the voices sound a lot more natural.

There are two very popular approaches to generating human sounding voices but the concept is the same. What doesn’t work very well is putting together clips of voices to generate other sounds, something that we may think it should sound natural. It doesn’t. It is costly, time consuming and in the end the voice may be smooth, but emotionless.

What does work is skipping the sound part and generate the wave form of the audio files. Two very good approaches are based on Convolutional Neural Networks (WaveNet) and Recurrent Neural Networks (SampleRNN). Fun fact about the two leading approaches: they both can be used to generate music, if properly used and trained.

SPIK.ai uses the WaveNet algorithm thus providing natural sounding voices that you can use to generate audio files from text.

Easy to use voice generation software

Spik.AI is easy to use. So much so that you can just go on its front page, add your text, choose the voice and press generate.

There is no signup required, you don’t have to download or install anything and there are no ads making it hard for you to generate the right voice.

Once you have pressed the “Generate” button, the app takes you to another page where you can preview your generated speech and/or download or share it with your friends. That’s it. As simple as it gets.

Go beyond simple text to speech with SSML (Speech Synthesis Markup Language)

Spik.AI can help you generate even scripted speech files, with the use of SSML. The markup allows you to improve the quality of your audio files with some awesome tricks:

  • Breaks: use the <break> tag to set for how much time the voice should stop.
  • Emphasis: use the <emphasis> tag to emphasize some important aspect of your text.
  • Improve tone, pitch and rate with the <prosody> tag.
  • Instruct the app on how to speak special parts of the text with the
    <say-as> tag

These are just some of the cool things you can do with Spik.AI’s text to speech generation software. By the way – there’s also the reverse process coming up soon: Speech to text – a great option to quickly create transcripts from voice recordings. Just make sure to sign up for a reminder of when it launches.

Is this text to speech software free?

This is a big one. Unlike other apps, Spik.AI is awesome at generating voices, easy to use but also free. That’s definitely a big plus.

Digital Payments on the Rise

One of the best way to connect online and offline purchases is through data provided by payments. With an increase in digital payments omnichannel retail becomes an easier target.

Consumers seem to be adopting digital payment options at a staggering speed, all over the world. Here are the numbers:

China: Union Pay reports 260 million digital (internet and mobile) payment users

The 260 million internet and mobile payment users show a great appetite for change. The number of mobile payments itself increased by over 445% in the past year as numbers from Q2 show.

PayPal grows steadily and lists 169 million users

Across the globe e-payment leader PayPal shows a steady increase in the number of users and has big plans after its separation from eBay. Though the separation has been long debated, it seems it is for the best.

Number of PayPal Users [source]

51 million mobile payment users expected in Europe, 2016

Europe lags behind with just 51 million mobile payment users expected in 2016. However – that may change in the future as there is lots of potential. For example Iconiq, an investment fund described as “Zuck and friends” backed Dutch payments company Adyen this year.

Adyen alone is expected to process roughly $45 billion this year, so there is still hope for the old continent.

Meanwhile tech giants such as Apple or Google are engaging one another for the mobile payments market, a seemingly enchanted land in the world of future finance.

Is The Store Associate a Dead Job?

For a very long time the store associate has been at the heart of brick and mortar stores. Store associates would greet customers, respond to queries, help find products and generally help customers with their purchases.

However, the emergence of digital tools and especially smartphones has rendered store associates almost obsolete.

In a recent study by MillwardBrown that focused on customers purchasing athletic footwear we can see just how useful a store associate is these days.

Of those that chose to shop in store, only 12% listed the sales person as one of the reason to purchase offline. Most (88%) chose to try on the product before purchasing.

It’s not just sports shoes. A study by Deloitte Digital shows that customers would rather receive help from an interactive kiosk or their own smartphone rather than a store associate.

As you can see above the willingness to use a smartphone rather than discuss with a sales associate is almost double. Even an impersonal unmanned device such as an interactive kiosk would fare better than a store associate.

So if you were to combine this data with the fact that most of the sales in global retail will be influenced by digital by 2017 the conclusion is simple. The store associate is a soon to be dead job. If you were planning a career in this area, you’d better jump ship.

Digital Influence in Omnichannel Retail

Is Brick and Mortar commerce dead? Absolutely not. Is eCommerce the most important sales channel in the future? Irrelevant. Neither online or offline sales really matter in the big picture. What matters is how customers shop and how much has digital changed the way retailers do business.

recent Deloitte study outlines just how much digital is impacting retail.

Over 36% of 2013 overall sales in US have been influenced by digital and the trend continues to grow. By 2017 over 80% of all retail sales will be influenced by digital.

In terms of cash that places the digital influence in the real of trillions of dollars. In US alone, where the study was performed, that meant $1.1 trillion in sales were influenced by digital. If we were to extend this figure to the global retail sales in 2017 as estimated by eMarketer that amounts to a whoopping … wait for it …

$20 trillion in sales. That’s the amount in sales that may be influenced by digital in 2017.

However debatable this figure may be, the digital influence is something that is truly amazing and outright revolutionary.

But that’s not all. Don’t think digital influence means ecommerce. Definitely not. Two facts stand out in the Deloitte study:

1. The increase in digital influence has been triggered by smartphones

Smartphones are the main cause in the increased digital influence. Mobile phones now account for $593 billion in sales (19% of the 36% of all sales influenced by digital).

What’s even more interesting is that users are not more mobile-savvy. Only 25% of the increase in smartphone usage is caused by an increase in comfort and sophistication in smartphone usage. 75% of the increase in smartphone usage is due to an increased adoption.

Long story short: there are more smartphones, not smarter users.

2. Brick and mortar shopping is definitely not dying. Unless it has to.

94% of all retail sales still happen in the confines of a physical store. Wait, what?

It seems that what’s causing retailers problems is failure to engage customers on all channels. Customers are pre-buying (shopping) on ecommerce sites but they pick-up, try on and eventually buy a lot of things in the physical store.

The trick here is getting the big picture right. Use different customer journey points and engage digitally in a relevant way. Customers may shop online and get an assortment ready but they want to get to that assortment in the physical store and than buy. Just placing discounts in the mobile app doesn’t work. Each part in the shopping experience has to be customized to that particular medium and need.

In conclusion: digital is not ecommerce and digital influence is definitely not limited to the online store. Those who fail to connect the dots and engage their customers on all channels will not be a part of tomorrow’s retail.

Is Facebook building a Mega-Bank?

Facebook recently secured a patent for a system that builds credit rating based on social connections. Is this a piece of what could be the Facebook bank?

There are some strong arguments that yes, Facebook is building a peer to peer lending service for its 1.49 billion users.

Here’s the backstory:

PayPal president David Marcus resigned from PayPal and joined Facebook a year ago. Reportedly he joined the company to work on the Messaging products. Quite a big change. So the obvious question was why would the president of the biggest online payments company would quit his job to start working on the messaging app?

But then, in March 2015, Facebook announced a new feature in Facebook Messenger: payments. Basically anyone could send their friends a couple of bucks without having to leave the app. Plus – it charged zero fees. Zero. This sounds great but … how would they monetize it?

The credit scoring patent may be the answer. What if Facebook would roll out a general feature that lets anyone lend anyone in the network based on their credit score? Peer-to-peer lending is one of the biggest and yet most underrated innovations in digital finance.

With a stable payments system, a great credit scoring patent and 1.49 billion lenders and borrowers Facebook may be building the largest bank financial system in the world. All digital, peer to peer, decentralized and ready to come online just as banks are faced with an impending meltdown.

Think that’s crazy? Maybe not. Meet George Soros, “the man who broke the bank of England” when he short-sold $10 billion worth of pounds. He did this during the Black Wednesday Financial Crisis and earned $1 billion in the process.

In 2012, when Facebook stocks were plummeting, Soros bought Facebook stocks. When he bought these stocks, the social network looked like it was in a really bad shape:

Let’s just say things are a bit better now:

But his great investment timing is not what points to Facebook being on the verge of a huge financial change. No. It’s the fact that just as Soros was purchasing his Facebook stocks, he was selling his stakes in financial companies such as Citigroup, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo.

So if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.

Facebook has built a peer-to-peer payment system. It hired the man that helped PayPal grow to its present market share. It secured a credit scoring patent that works within a network. Soros moved his bets from the big banks to the most popular social network. There is a growing need of peer to peer lending across borders and Facebook can deliver.

We’re in for a 1.49 billion customers bank that works across nations and lives inside your mobile phone. I guess this qualifies as a Mega-Bank.

The Death of Small Web Shops

Small Shoe Shop [Source]

We have a growing industry that builds upon the dreams of small web shop owners thinking they can build the next Amazon. That’s about to change.

Services such as Shopify, open source projects such as Magento and Prestashop and a myriad of other tools and would-be digital panacea cater to entrepreneurs trying to build ecommerce businesses.

But the truth is very few of them will ever become self sustainable. Very few will go beyond small web shops. Even well funded startups can crush and burn (Fab for example burned through more than $300 million until calling it quits).

I find it hard to believe that there is a future for the small web shop. Just like web pages today or the Gopher protocol in the past, one day the small web shop will be gone and something else will take its place.

Here are a few things that will be either causes of reactions to this change in digital commerce:

1. There are going to be fewer, but bigger, digital commerce outlets

Think of these increasingly influential outlets as the shopping mall for the next century. The likes of Ebay, Amazon and even Walmart will become larger marketplaces catering for both more consumers AND more suppliers / vendors.

In the (near) future ecommerce entrepreneurs will find that the window of opportunity previously open will close and consumers will increasingly rely on larger marketplaces for better prices and more diversity.

Think of it in offline terms. There are little if any incentives in opening a small store in a mostly un-visited area. A better approach is to open your store in an already trafficked shopping mall. Amazon for example caters to sellers and offers a marketplace, fulfillment services and marketing options.

The takeaway is simple: if you can’t build your shop into a shopping mall, you’d better join one or do something else.

2. There is a bubble of marketing tools, experts and know-how that is soon going to burst.

We live in a time where a more educated consumer switched from “buy more” to “buy better” and the advertising agency was replaced by Google and Facebook. Creatives are now replaced by algorithms and data.

There is an abundance of digital tools, digital experts, digital know-how (maybe some can be found on this blog also) providing “support” to small web shop owners. The fact is, very few shops are really going to make it to an actual profitable business. Along the way, however, they will pay developers, designers, marketers, ads, copywriters, SEO experts, content experts, photographers. They will buy subscriptions to dozens of cloud applications that brag about the latest success story and they will try to figure out what the hell the numbers in their analytics app are saying.

In the end they will see the problem and the solution lies within one aspect. Size. You may write the best content, have the best designed Magento or Shopify theme. In the end you can’t compete with Amazon. Size does matter.

3. We will see an increase in manufacturing entrepreneurship

As the small web shop will start fading away, a new breed of entrepreneurs will show up. The manufacturers. With so many options for cheap production, distribution and marketing the only thing that’s missing is but the great product one passionate entrepreneur can come up with.

There will be little place for small commerce entrepreneurship. But that doesn’t mean consumers will buy less. They will buy better and they will buy from more. We are witnessing a rising trend of small manufacturers popping up with amazing models. A very fun example is the the Dollar Shave Club, a startup that’s manufacturing personal care products for men. The Dollar Shave Club takes on the large companies such as Gillette in a very straightforward way.

So about the death of the small web shop… It’s coming but don’t hold your breath. There are many vested interests in the small webshop industry.

First there are the startup owners that still believe their small web shop has a future in its present form. Then there are the billions of dollars that have been poured by VC’s in web shop apps and marketing tools.

Plus there is a (still) growing literature that tells anyone with a few bucks and a dream that they can be the next Jeff Bezos. What they don’t tell them is that the world has place for only one Jeff Bezos but plenty of open slots for other success stories. Just not one involving a small web shop.