The easy days of ecommerce are over, according to former Wiggle chief executive Humphrey Cobbold.

Speaking at the Metapack conference, Cobbold said it has become more expensive to build an ecommerce business.

He said: “5 years ago it was cheaper to build a business. The increasing cost of things like pay per click means it is much harder now. Things are changing.”

He added there are only a couple of niche markets left that are not well served online. “We are lucky to be living through a revolution of this nature and opportunities abound. There is still huge room for growth but it’s getting harder and more crowded. There are relatively few verticals [left], there are a couple of niches which I am looking at, but it’s getting harder.”

He added the most important thing online retailers can do is keep innovating. They also need to make sure they provide something different to huge players like Amazon.

“Retailers have to stop thinking about just being retailers. No-one is going to out-Amazon Amazon. You do have be good at the practical elements but you also have to have something different. For us it was about building content. We started to think about ourselves as a media business.”

The easy days of ecommerce are over, says former Wiggle boss