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Description: In 1995, when Amazon was founded, e-commerce was like the proverbial talking dog. It wasn’t about how well the dog could talk, it was amazing that the dog could talk at all. The first generation of e-commerce sites were focused on functionality, getting the dog to talk better.


Dec 3, 2010

Every year, Lightspeed Venture Partners goes on record with some prognostications for what the future holds. You can check out our 2010 predictions here (we figure we scored about a B on those). Here’s what we’re predicting for 2011:

1. Putting fun into e-commerce
In 1995, when Amazon was founded, e-commerce was like the proverbial talking dog. It wasn’t about how well the dog could talk, it was amazing that the dog could talk at all. The first generation of e-commerce sites were focused on functionality, getting the dog to talk better. We got everything from price comparison engines to aggregated user reviews to one-click checkout. These early innovations were focused on optimizing the “workflow” of shopping to get users into the checkout as quickly as possible.

This worked great for most internet users at that time because, back then, most internet users were men, and in general, men do not like to shop. They treat it like a chore, a necessary evil that would ideally be minimized and optimized to take the least amount of time possible.

But a few years ago, that changed. There are now (a few) more women online than men. And in general, women tend to enjoy shopping more than men. If you enjoy shopping, you don’t want your “workflow optimized”. You don’t want to be rushed to the checkout as quickly as possible. Instead, you want to linger, to be delighted, to discover new things, to find great deals. You want shopping to be fun.

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Questions for discussion:

  • Which of these trends will have the most impact in the education industry?
  • Will mobile computing be larger than the computer industry in the personal and business setting?
  • Are there any of these trends that you see as not really being a trend in the near future?

7 Responses to “5 Top Trends in Consumer-Based Internet Businesses for 2011”

  1. kaydree schoenroth

    I think mobile computing will be larger than the computer industry in the personal and business setting because more and more mobile devices are being introduced into the market place. They are also more convenient and a lot of times cheaper for consumers. These devices are becoming almost a neccessity for individuals. They play a part in their perosnal and working lives through social interacting and providing working aides. I don’t know if “gaming sites” will continue to be as big of a trend because of downloadable games for mobile devices and videa game devices such as the nintendo wii or xbox.

  2. Brian Rollag

    I think this article is very accurate in predicting what trends will emerge in 2011. The one in the most interested in is the tablets. I do not own one but with all the new high tech gadgets coming out this Christmas season the tablet is the one I want the most. Also I don’t want and I pad which I believe is a sign that the market and technology is improving in this area because options are becoming available. That will help competition and improvement in the usefulness of the product as needs change. Just like early customers where just amazed by that fact that it was there and then evolved and was made more useful, efficient and easy to use. It will be the same with tablets. We are still in the amazed phase and in the near future it will be attractive to a wider customer base and more useful for everyday life. I see in 3 years it begins to replace the laptop.

  3. justine.kennedy

    I feel that the most influential emerging trend in the business world will be the rise of mobile computing. Compatibility and portability are becoming key components to technology success. People no longer posses the need to carry around large laptop computers that may seem small but in comparison to mobile devices are actually quite large. Also, with the rise of the smart phone it is becoming evident that almost everything that can be done on a laptop can now be done on a smart phone – if not more! Not only does it have the capabilities of a computer but lets not forget it is also a telephone. Being able to contact anyone at anytime as well as perform any task at anytime really does sound a lot like the future, doesn’t it?

  4. S Hilman

    In the education industry, the tablet will have the most impact. Students’ laptops are continuously getting lighter and smaller. I don’t bring my own laptop to school because I a) don’t want to lug it around and b) prefer to write the notes, rather than type, to cue my memory storage. With a tablet, a stylus app could easily be created and I could still write my notes. Furthermore, once the Internet is as fully functioning on lighter, transportable devices (both tablets and smart phones) I won’t have a need for a bulky computer. Those who are into high graphic games or other things which require a lot of computer space and power will still want to use a desktop or laptop computer, but for people like me who check Facebook, watch a you tube clip, and write homework assignments, tablets will be very convenient due to transportability. I would still be able to write my research papers and then store them or back them up on an external memory drive, which I do now anyways.

  5. coco dong

    I do believe that mobile computing will become larger than computer industry in the personal and business setting in the future,but I don’t think that will happen in 2011. As we know that there are many mobile device computing are introduced in the market and we all realize that the funcations of smartphone almost could cpmpare to computer.However, there still exist some functions that mobile couldn’t have. The purpose of Introducing mobile to people is help them to connect others with a portable tool. Mobile still couldn’t done something compare to PC. From a student point of view, Our instructor don’t expect every students to write their report with mobile phone,wouldn’t expected students come to class with their mobile phone’s on.The more combining functions mobile have, the more cost will be. In a short run, these couldn’t happen.

  6. Joana H.

    Lightspeed Venture Partners’ prognostications about future trends are very interesting. Probably the trend to have the most impact in the education industry is the one regarding brand advertisers searching for new avenues, and therefore for a place in bidded platforms, as well as new partnerships with premium publishers, growing more and more. Another trend but, which could affect and is actually affecting education in a broad sense, is the mobile computing and the fact that it’s possible to study, check emails, follow lectures also from just a mobile phone, without needing to bring the laptop with you. Therefore I think that mobile computing is definitely going to increase more and more in use with respect to computers, due to the very fact of the mobility, which allows it to be always with the consumers. This trend is also emphasized by the fact that in some universities in North America there are currently courses focused on the teaching of the iphone use!!!

  7. Jason F

    E-commerce has made it very easy to do business online. They say that it used to be more men then women shopping online, but now its the other way around. Shoedazzle, for example is smart, because they make the consumer take a quiz on their preferences and what they are looking for. Then they set up a page on just what they want and can do their shopping right from home. I know that I do alot of shopping online. Its much more convenient and you can get styles from anywhere, and not just buy the same clothes that everyone else wears in a small city like Lethbridge. For Christmas this year, I have already sent my orders in and they should be arriving shortly, and they also have free shipping if you buy x-amount of items. It is also way cheaper, because you have access to Canada and the US,and with the dollar being on par, you do not pay much more. So, there is really no downside to it. You miss the traffic and if there is something you cannot find online, you do not have to spend 6 hours in a mall looking for an item that might just be sold out!

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