Every year, there are new trends in the world of eCommerce that shape how the industry is developing. These trends provide vital details on market activity that can help business owners and entrepreneurs stay on top of the retail evolution to ensure that they always make the best decisions for their companies’ futures.

No one understands this concept better than Jose Duarte, a successful entrepreneur from Costa Rica. He has spent his life building businesses that continue to thrive today and shares five of the top current trends in the eCommerce world.

Duarte points out that one of the steadiest trends seen today focuses on social media, which is still a significant driver of online purchases. Around 55% of the population purchase products after discovering them on social media, meaning that brands must commit additional time and resources to their social media marketing campaigns. “Previously, social media was just one of many avenues for marketing,” explains Duarte. “Now, however, it is unarguably the most valuable tool and one of the most important factors that influences the buying decision.”

Related to social media advertising, the highly competitive, and always increasing, ad market has resulted in higher prices. eCommerce platforms are finding it more expensive to drive clicks through social media ads. Duarte states, “Over the past several years, eCommerce brands have become more precise and creative. They are thinking of more unique ways to enhance their ad optimization and teams are now constantly testing new types of ideas – new photos, enhanced video and user-generated content – all in an effort to increase the return on investment.”

To battle the rising costs of digital advertisements, a few brands are opening retail facades as a marking opportunity, or turning to alternative options, such as community building and personal experiences.

Brands that offer direct-to-consumer (DTC) products are now market leaders. This is happening through a dedicated social media presence and ever-increasing word of mouth campaigns.

There are presently over 19 companies with $100M+ in yearly income based on the direct-to-consumer model. These are the primary organizations of the next generation and they all started by offering only an eCommerce platform and have created large communities of online fans.

While DTC brands have been a common theme over the past several years,” explains Duarte, “they are now substantially more successful than their brick-and-mortar retail counterparts. This comes from a strong social media presence, which doesn’t just work – it works at scale.”

Another trend that Duarte identifies is content that is derived from video and rich media. They allow unique ways for merchants to present their products and services to consumers and provide a greater amount of brand engagement.

Video content impacts eCommerce purchases everywhere. The US video market has been trending upward as consumers are discovering and engaging with not just products and services, but also with other users’ experiences.

Social platforms, such as YouTube and Instagram, that offer a community engagement angle, will continue to see an increase in user adoption. Brand affiliates will develop more eCommerce content and drive more online sales.

The most important trend will more than likely be the mobile shopping app industry. It is already starting to accelerate more and eCommerce sales are now seeing a growth rate of 16% year-on-year. Brick-and-mortar retail growth has only been around 3% year-on-year.

Says Duarte, “eCommerce growth has been driven primarily by the introduction of the mobile shopping app. Sessions have grown by a staggering 54% year-on-year, representing the biggest jump among the different mobile app categories, including music, utilities and entertainment.”

People evolve constantly. Habits evolve, preferences evolve and even likes and dislikes evolve. Entrepreneurs have to stay on top of industry trends if they want to ensure that they’re prepared for tomorrow, and beyond.