The year 2017 will go down as the year merchants realized there is no longer any margin for error. Retail is moving so fast that automation is essential for survival. To compete and grow in today’s real-time high-touch environment, retailers must offer and fully leverage multiple digital storefronts with flawless execution and service.

Product availability and timely receipt are the single-greatest priorities for ecommerce. What good is having a wonderful ecommerce site and personalized marketing strategy if you don’t have operations streamlined? If you’re offering five styles of brown shoes in size 8, they must be in stock and you must have the capability to ship them quickly within the timeframe promised. If not, someone else will – and you likely won’t see that customer again.

There is good news for retail. Forrester has forecasted that U.S. online retail sales will reach more than $500 billion by 2020, driven by better web merchant execution, omnichannel efforts, Amazon growth and the economy. Holiday sales performance is also off to a bullish start, signaling huge opportunities for retailers across channels in 2018 – if they embrace the integrations and automation that yield both scale and sales.

Here are five trends that will drive ecommerce excellence in the next year.

Automation Frees Up CX Strategy

A recent Brightpearl survey of 350 retailers found an average of 70% improvement in processing efficiency and negative service…