As we went through the 2016 peak season, one thing was painfully obvious: the e-commerce world is continually growing. However, along with the challenges this presents, the global e-commerce world is also creating opportunities to small- and medium-sized merchants. It is also making products available to just about anyone in the world. This is a vast difference to the early pioneer days, when most international trade was conducted via large wooden ships. As we move further into 2017, there are many new changes that will continually impact e-tailing in the US and around the world. Here are some new developments for 2017:

1. The expansion of global merchants will explode, based on cost-effective technologies and shipping costs.

2. Total landed cost will enhance the ease of use for global consumers.

3. Lower de minimus values will make e-commerce more effective.

4. New cross-border integrated services will develop between private carriers and postal solutions.

5. Consumers will still want their products fast -- and cheap.

6. Global return processes will encourage more cross-border business.

7. There will be more alliances developed between multiple technology partners.

8. Shipping from zone 2 will be the new standard.

9. Multiple carriers will be used in cross-border shipping based on service need.

10. International delivery expectations will be four to seven days.

In the next five years, the cross-border e-commerce business will exceed one trillion. As Amazon continues to set the bar for domestic services, the cross-border business will see significant changes in 2017. This will be an exciting year for changes in cross-border trade. The old wooden ships have been replaced with sophisticated technologies and complex distribution networks. There is an old saying that says you need to be a global player but act locally. DHL has accomplished this over the years but there are many entities that are trying to replicate the same model.

The world is truly getting smaller… the winner will be the one who best provides ease of use, convenience, and various cost solutions.

Michael J. Ryan is the Executive Vice President at Preferred Parcel Solutions and has over 25 years of experience in the parcel industry. He can be reached at 708.224.1498 or