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The Biggest Opportunities In Ecommerce Right Now [Infographic]

ecommerce opportunities

Earlier this year, ecommerce writer Drew Sanocki approached more than 30 retail experts with the following question:

What is the biggest opportunity in ecommerce right now?

The result was a spectacular post series that’s well worth reading. For the benefit of ecommerce retailers/marketers who may be too busy to read all of it, we’ve put together a summarized infographic version for easy-scanning. Enjoy!

ecommerce opportunities

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Have additional ideas/insights that were not mentioned in the infographic? Share with us in the comments below! 🙂

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 The Biggest Opportunities In Ecommerce Right Now, As Revealed By Experts

1: Changing Ecommerce Landscape

Vertically Integrated Brands

  • “I see the biggest opportunity in online commerce as design-oriented and/or custom products in specialty verticals.” – Jason Pressman, Shasta Ventures
  • “We’re seeing more and more ‘Warby Parker-style’ vertically integrated businesses being created that bring products directly to consumers at really competitive prices.” – Mark Macdonald, Shopify

Online Retail Education

  • “Many people are under the false assumption that it’s very hard, risky, and takes a lot of money.” – Billy Murphey, EcomLab

Location Independence

  • “With fulfillment services like Shipwire and the ability to hire writers and customer service people on oDesk, it’s now possible more than ever to run an ecommerce business with a shoestring budget.” – Leighton Taylor, EcommercePulse.com

Aggregation of Niche Products

  • “Aggregating many independent manufacturers under a single ecommerce brand. New product discovery is a compelling reason for your customers to return to check out your merchandise.” – Sina Djafari, Duoplane.com

Niche Retailers and Small Manufacturers

  • “The web is changing traditional distribution channels.” – Dale Traxler, PracticalEcommerce.com

2: Customer Relationship Management

Customer Lifecycle Management

  • “The big opportunities are in customer relationships — solving for customer lifetime value — both before and after the sale.” – Sam Mallikarjunan, HubSpot
  • “The fastest growing companies are comparing the cost per acquired customer to the lifetime value of customers, rather than just looking at the immediate return from the customer’s initial purchase.” – Corey Pierson, Custora

Customer Loyalty

  • “Build loyalty into the process. Know me and love me, if I’m your buyer.” – Chris Brogan

Customer Segmentation

  • “Use remarketing lists for search ads, tailor your site experience based upon personas or distinct buying behaviors, and customize emails to consumer preferences.” – Carson Biederman, Mustang Group

3: Conversion Rate Optimization

  • “The biggest opportunities are with conversion rate optimization (CRO) and the entire customer experience.” – Peep Laja, ConversionXL
  • “Most retailers are focusing on traffic generation, not conversion rate optimization, which is where most of the potential lies.” – Neil Patel, Quicksprout

4: Evolving Digital Landscape

Mobile Commerce

  • “The biggest opportunity is optimizing for mobile.” – Linda Bustos, Elastic Path
  • “I think huge opportunity will come from Apple opening up the API for their fingerprint scanners to allow you to purchase products from any website with a finger scan.” – Richard Lazazzera, A Better Lemonade Stand
  • “Mobile commerce is the big opportunity.” – Deena Varshavskaya, Wanelo

Social Customer Acquisition

  • “It’s never been easier to drive mass volumes of sales quickly and test markets. Get good at FB ads.” – Ezra Firestone, SmartMarketer.com
  • “Nimble startups who can repeatedly and at scale build customer acquisition expertise in unsaturated channels can really differentiate from their competitors. ” – Jeremy Liew, Lightspeed Venture Partners

Combine Online and Offline

  • “Our guideshops and physical catalog have been our largest recent growth drivers.” – Craig Elbert, Bonobos VP Marketing
  • “There’s opportunity in combining the online with the offline, even as a showroom environment, or pop up shop, or other non-traditional retail environment.” – Miracle Wanzo, HipUndies

5: Improving Customer Experience


  • “Tailor each member’s experience to reflect that member’s preferences based on demographic information, purchasing behavior, waitlist data and click-through history.” – Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Gilt
  • “We may see categories that now customize to your taste/fit/need better in the future than in the past.” – Ed Han, TinyPrints
  • “Gifting: It should be easier for the web to curate a limited set of choices for me that is unique to the receiver, within a given price range.” – Charlie O’Donnell, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures
  • “I am personally interested in starting something in the mass customization space: e.g. only making customized products & selling it via e-commerce.” – JP Canada, ProTeethGuard.com

Smarter Merchandising

  • “Smarter Merchandising is a big opportunity, but it is rare for anyone to write about it because it’s not new!” – Dave Chaffey, Smart Insights

Pricing & Bundling

  • “The ability to dynamically price items is an enormous margin opportunity for online retailers.” – Eric Roth, Lazard Freres

Complex and Big Purchasing Decisions

  • “Big ticket items are moving online. Technology can help qualify these complex purchase decisions.” – Janus Jagd, Cylindo

6: Inbound Marketing

Build a destination

  • “Build a destination: bring the store to the consumer and allow others (publishers mostly) to use it. Leveraging this we are now the top revenue partner to big names like Priceline, Lenovo, and 1800Flowers.” – Charlie Kim, Next Jump

Content strategy

  • “Smaller shops can focus their content on a very small niche and really show off their personality.” – Steve Chou, Bumblebee Linens

Read next: 24 ecommerce content marketing tips from experts


  • “Being able to personally speak to people each week helps build a strong rapport and level of trust. ” – Andrew Youderian, EcommerceFuel.com


  • “Your store has to offer more than products, it has to offer some sort of experience and story that customers want to be a part of or want their business to be a part of. ” – Taylor Pearson, The Portable Bar Company


  • “For an ecommerce company to compete successfully, they must find a way to provide true differentiation from Amazon in order to overcome these advantages.” – Vince Jones, Bluestem Brands


Bonus: We’ve put together an extensive guide to help you break through your next revenue target. Check it out here.
Desmond Chua

Desmond Chua

Desmond is the co-founder of Statement.sg, a fashion ecommerce brand selling witty t-shirts. He strives to design the best ReferralCandy experience to help you acquire more customers. He also practises parkour with MOVE Academy Singapore in his free time.


  • I think this is one of my favorite infographics out of all the ones you’ve done so far, Desmond. I especially like the way you visually communicate concepts- the vertically integrated brands from start to finish, the actual customer lifecycle, what personalization looks like, etc.

    I think that’s the real power of visualization that most infographics miss. The visual should help the reader understand what’s going on, and think more clearly about the concepts that we’re talking about.

    Very nice.

  • Great infographic work, thanks for sharing…Online business owners need to work more in order to convert visitors into paying customers. To make this happen they need to build an effective and creative website that attract the wide range of customers.