Estimates by eMarketer predict global e-commerce sales will reach $4 trillion in 2020, as the industry continues to gain share of consumer spending globally. Yet, despite the lucrative revenue opportunity, advances in technology and increasing consumer expectations threaten to burst the retail bubble for brands who are unprepared.

In today’s connected commerce environment, many brands are struggling to keep their heads above water. Options for consumers are now infinite and technology has undoubtedly brought brands and consumers closer together thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices. However, the flip side of this ‘always-on’ economy is that consumers now expect instant gratification for all their retail wants and needs.

Wherever you look in the world, ecommerce is thriving. Asia is the fastest growing region for retail, as Forrester anticipates China will become the first country to hit $1 trillion in online retail sales by 2020. India’s retail market is expected to double in the next five years, representing a significant new growth opportunity. Moving West, the US and UK are respectively providing substantial contributions to the global retail sector.

With so much choice, so much competition and so much consumer pressure, how can retailers remain competitive and thrive in today’s connected commerce era? Ahead of Catalyst Europe 2017, our annual event taking place in Manchester on May 16, where branded manufacturers and retailers can stay informed about the future of ecommerce, we have compiled a sneak peek of the five major factors to take on board to rise above the competition.

1. Cultivate your brand

Retailers often ask themselves how they can make the jump and become a brand. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to achieving true ‘brand’ status. To help effectively cultivate your brand, product quality must be optimum, with competitive pricing and flawless customer service. Of course bringing something different to the market would put your brand in an ideal position, and it’s best to stay true to your ethos to build a name and reputation.
Building your brand is only the first step. It is then crucial to protect your brand, its reputation and network. Amazon is thoroughly seeking to nurture its relationship with brands, to ensure customers can trust that they will receive the products they expect. Using brand registry on Amazon helps retailers list their products on the marketplace to exert more control over listings, including brand gating to protect intellectual property.

2. Go where your customers are

In 2016, an estimated 1.47 billion smartphones were shipped according to analyst firm IDC. That’s almost six times the number of computers. In 2016, and for the first time in history, we saw the majority of retail…