There’s no question that eCommerce is growing significantly. But it’s still got a long way to go before catching up with brick-and-mortar retail stores. That’s why technology firms focused on eCommerce will need to innovate with new ideas shoppers will find enticing.

According to consulting firm PwC, nearly two-thirds of Canadian consumers consider retail outlets to be their primary holiday season shopping channel. The remaining one-third favour online shopping through desktops, mobile devices or smart home technology. Unsurprisingly, most millennials (51%) think of online shopping first, which is in line with U.S. consumers overall (50%), PwC said.

Despite trailing retail stores, eCommerce is taking off in ways the retail industry could not imagine 10 years ago. Consider these prominent examples:

Amazon

Number one in the eCommerce game, Amazon leads the way in dollar terms, as well as technological innovation. Amazon's e-commerce sales in the U.S. are expected to reach US$258 billion this year, up nearly 30% from a year ago, according to a survey from eMarketer that looks at the company's sales by product category. That means the online giant will capture nearly half of the U.S. eCommerce market by the end of 2018.

As for technology, Amazon has built a loyal customer base through innovations such as Amazon Prime, and the use of drones for deliveries. Similarly, Amazon Web Services, which grew out of the company’s own eCommerce infrastructure needs, has become a $13 billion business that powers other online services.

Shopify

Shopify started in 2004 as a way for merchants to set up an online store at a hosted domain. The Canadian firm found success through its product superiority and affordability. Shopify has evolved into a central hub for small merchants to run their online business. In addition to providing the front-end interface and cloud-based domain hosting, Shopify also manages inventory, customer service and fulfillment, according to Digital Initiative.

Shopify Plus offers a number of interesting innovations, such as integrating directly with platforms like Facebook, Messenger and Pinterest. Using Shopify Plus’ mobile store builder, merchants can build a powerful mobile app without the need for technical expertise.

Brabble

Brabble is relatively new to the eCommerce space but is making waves with its *StarTags technology. A *StarTag is a programmable link that can be embedded into any content posted online. The links can be placed inside social media networks, websites or eCommerce marketplaces, where they can be accessed by online shoppers with a “one click to buy” feature.

A *StarTag link stays with the post and can be shared through other social media networks and within a company’s eCommerce website. The concept, expected to be rolled out to more than 100 social networks in 2019, should help drive more traffic to products that are listed for sale online.

There’s no shortage of companies looking to enter the eCommerce space. Large players such as eBay have found success with online bidding for products, both new and used. Even social media giant Facebook is getting into eCommerce, with the launch of its Marketplace. Going forward, consumers can expect to see many new entrants in eCommerce -- everything from small start-up firms to retail giants like Wal-Mart.