By Michael Foster

If you look at the retail sales numbers, you might be full of dread. And, in fact, we now have a parade of economists, hedge fund gurus and other so-called experts talking about the death of the American consumer and a permanent death spiral of lower and lower retail spending.

All this doom and gloom talk sounds like a foreign language to most e-commerce retailers, especially the big guys. Record sales and strong revenue growth at Amazon, combined with an incessant demand for e-commerce focused marketing tools from Facebook, Google and other tech titans tell a very different story. The $395 billion spent on digital commerce in 2016 in America also tells a different story. For many in the e-commerce world, business is booming. The opportunities to grab revenue and conquer a new sector of retail spending seem nonstop. Stories of e-commerce startups being acquired (Trunk Club) or going public (Blue Apron) are too commonplace to damper enthusiasm.

So where’s the disconnect?

Simply put, the world is going digital. There are more and more opportunities to make money in e-commerce because Americans are more willing to spend on e-commerce. This trend is growing stronger, which makes sense. The demographics of the online consumer are changing, and the means with which consumers make purchases are getting better. All of this has a high impact on Americans’ capacity to spend money online – and it’s been wonderful for anyone in the game.

At the same time, it poses challenges. The phenomenal growth of e-commerce means there are more barriers to entry. There are more best practices to understand. There are new dynamics to understand. Millennials are now becoming a dominant factor in e-commerce, and their spending habits – as well as their use of mobile versus desktop devices – is vastly different from Gen X and Baby Boomers. This information is intuitive, but how do you make it actionable? How does it change your marketing efforts?

Additionally, new customer acquisition strategies are popping up every day to account for the changes in the makeup of customers and platforms that they interact with. How does Snapchat relate to your business? Will an Instagram account change your company’s customer base? What will grow sales? What will hurt your brand? What will make your brand?

Few marketers ask themselves these questions, but they need to consider them. As e-commerce gets bigger, it also becomes more competitive. Join us at this year’s DMA &THEN for “The Next Evolution in E-Commerce” where we will discuss how the changing landscape and monstrous growth of e-commerce are opportunities and risks factors. Kerri Pollard of Honey Inc., Mike Chin of Macys.com, Morgan Chemji of HP.com, Liesel Walsh of Petco and Nishant Mani of Winc Wines will help guide you through the changing landscape of online sales.

This article is brought to you by &THEN, DMA’s annual event. Click here to join the leaders of the marketing community and explore how data transforms marketing in New Orleans, October 8-10. Save over $300 when you register online.