What will the future of e-commerce look like? Engineers weigh in

by Liz Warren
January 9, 2018

To the average user, an e-commerce site may seem like just another web experience, but behind the scenes, it’s a different story. Engineers are constantly working on a complex array of transaction processing, seamless integrations and flawless personalization. As trends develop, tech teams must keep up — otherwise, the user experience suffers. We caught up with three engineers from local e-commerce sites to see what’s on the horizon for 2018, and how the user experience is changing.

 

Josh Lieberman
Mobile engineering manager and practice leader

Gift card marketplace Raise gives users the ability to purchase discounted gift cards and trade in existing ones for cash. Mobile engineering manager and practice leader Josh Lieberman explained what type of functionality is needed to provide the best user experience.

 

What are some trends you’re noticing in the e-commerce space?

At Raise we're seeing that our members want to make their money worth more, whether that means buying gift cards at a discount, selling unwanted gift cards for cash or participating in a variety of loyalty and cash-back programs. In the mobile space, nearly 25 percent of mobile users abandon an app after first use. With that in mind, becoming that one-stop shop for all things e-commerce is a welcome challenge. I’m excited to provide our members the ability to accomplish all of the above with Raise!

 

What’s special about working on an e-commerce site?

Prepaid card activation and redemption is complicated and expensive. Transaction processing goes way beyond what a user sees on their screen. Well-designed apps make this process look seamless and trivial — and that’s no easy task. Integrating with native tools such as Apple Pay or Android Pay is an essential piece in making a complex problem as user friendly as possible.

 

What’s one work-related project you’re currently working on?

Personalization is key to user retention. My next project will be to more closely align our members’ interests with gift card deals and offers based on behavior. Behind the scenes, I’m working with our product team to continue building out our analytics and A/B testing capabilities. After all, a strong testing foundation is critical for building out new features, figuring out what works and iterating quickly to provide the best mobile experience for our users.

 

David Wolf
Lead software engineer

Handshake helps distributors and manufacturers manage sales across all channels in one spot. Lead software engineer David Wolf (also known as “Dave-Bot,”) told us how he’s able to keep up with industry trends — and create new ones.

 

What are some trends you’re noticing in the e-commerce space?

One of the biggest trends over the last few years in e-commerce has been the growth of mobile. Buyers and sales reps are increasingly placing orders while on the go, whether they’re at trade shows, between meetings or running errands. This was the original inspiration for our mobile apps, which work whether you’re online or not. Another trend has been the growth of complex integrations. The e-commerce system which is used to create sales orders may be completely different from the CRM, ERP, marketing or other systems, and it’s vital that they are well-integrated so everything runs smoothly and with correct data.

 

What’s special about working on an e-commerce site?

At Handshake, there are literally thousands of people who rely on your work to get their own jobs done. There’s a great sense of responsibility in making sure that things work smoothly and easily. I take great comfort in knowing that my work helps move businesses away from the old-school pain of paper forms and fax machines, and closer to becoming the Amazon of their industry.

 

What’s one work-related project you’re currently working on?

I’ve been working on a new feature of our web e-commerce product Handshake Direct Online, which allows companies to organize their products into multiple “catalogs” that can each have custom images, landing pages and pricing. For example, a brand can use one catalog to start collecting orders for the next season of products at a discount, while selling some of the same items at full price for immediate shipping. This project was particularly satisfying to launch as it increased both the customizable functionality of the product as well as the speed of the site.

 

Alexandra Diaz
UX Design Lead

Adore Me is an online retailer that sells lingerie, sleepwear and swimwear. UX Design Lead Alexandra Diaz, who has been with the company since 2013, explains the trends she’s noticing in the space — and how her current project is a blast from the past. 

 

What are some trends you’re noticing in the e-commerce space? 

The major trend we’re currently seeing within e-commerce is e-tailers delivering a more customized and personalized experience to their customers. With the help of AI and AR, e-tailers are recommending products catered specifically to the taste of the customer. For example, the wave of curated subscription box services is one outcome of this trend.

Another big trend within e-commerce is the clicks-to-bricks phenomenon. E-commerce platforms take shape on the offline market, innovating and integrating a personalized experience to regular stores.

 

What’s special about working on an e-commerce site?

There are so many different layers involved in the customer experience. We’re always working on tweaking and testing the components in a customer’s purchasing funnel that needs to work together in order to create a good experience.

What I also find interesting is the ever-evolving user needs. I believe that one of the reasons Adore Me has been successful in disrupting the lingerie market is because we are agile, moving with the customer and her needs.

 

What’s one work-related project you’re currently working on?

Currently, we’re revamping our mobile apps, which were launched in 2014. Today, just three years later, 40 percent of our orders come from apps.

In an overly saturated e-commerce market, targeting tech-savvy millennials requires flawless personalization. We want to meet our customers’ expectations and serve the demographics that shop with us, therefore we’re looking to take the app experience to the next level by integrating these new trends and technologies into our app user’s shopping experience.

 

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