Now that the New Year is in full swing, ecommerce businesses are capitalizing on the newest trends before the clock runs out. Ambiguity in buying online is a thing of the past—innovations and strategies are being developed to make shoppers’ lives easier.
Let’s explore some of the most anticipated ecommerce trends this year.
Mobile devices now make up over half of all web traffic. However, a large number of consumers still prefer desktop purchasing to mobile. Mobile and tablet devices accounted for 59% of all web traffic, but mobile browsers only accounted for 38% of total revenue. So if over half of all web traffic is mobile, why are only 38% purchasing?
Consumers generally research on mobile and purchase on desktop due to a few different reasons: the customer doesn’t feel they can make a secure purchase, they’re researching in an environment where they cannot make a payment or purchasing is too complicated. The solution—have a multi-channel approach that takes customers on the same journey, regardless of the device they’re using. Many ecommerce businesses are making conversion less of an obstacle with easy one-click buying call-to-actions through apps to make the purchase smooth and seamless. Also, remember that marketing on mobile is more personal than any other channel. Keep in mind that you are sending a message directly to the customer in their pocket or purse so be personal, respectful and clear. Forrester predicts that online sales will grow an average of 9.32% until 2020, so get a jump-start now, before it becomes even more imperative to keep the shopper experience seamless.
Technology is rapidly evolving and so are the preferences and habits of consumers, specifically the millennial generation. Millennials prefer the affordability and flexibility of on-demand access to products, compared to the commitment and investment of ownership. SaaS (software-as-a-service) businesses have pioneered subscription-based models for software—proving the effectiveness of the model for both businesses and consumers. Subscriptions allow payment and contract flexibility for the consumer, as well as recurring revenue and brand loyalty for the business. In 2017, we’ll see a multitude of products traditionally associated with ownership transform into services with a recurring transaction.
#3 Video marketing
Video marketing isn’t anything new. However, increased mobile technology has enabled broader video consumption. Marketing is more visual than ever before. One-third of all online activity is now spent watching video. To keep up with the Joneses, marketers can take advantage of new apps and technology available to impress customers. Many video platforms include options like Facebook, Periscope, Snapchat and Instagram. Each platform offers different options for viewing like a 360-degree view of the video with Facebook 360, or livestreaming capabilities with Periscope or Facebook LIVE. Even Snapchat and Instagram offer filters and augmented reality to enhance the video experience.
Not only can videos improve your marketing, but incorporating video into your product descriptions can have a direct impact on your sales. 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in making a purchase. Customers like to know what they’re buying. Giving them a 360-degree view of the product or creating an informational product video can enhance the decision-making process.
#4 Social selling
Today, convenience is key. If consumers are spending most of their time on social media, it makes sense to be able to buy products straight from their news feeds. With social selling, this is becoming a reality. Social commerce is gaining momentum by creating shopping experiences where customers don’t have to leave their social platforms to buy their favorite products. Platforms like Instagram, for example, have integrated applications where you can go directly from a photo to the product page to purchase. Social selling has proven to be a lucrative move, especially if you are targeting 18-24 year-olds.
Social selling may work for those over 18, but the younger generation is increasingly tuning out traditional social media channels and moving to more private social channels, such as messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat. That’s where chatbots come in. Chatbots are currently an emerging technology, but their capabilities are growing quickly. A chatbot is an important breakthrough in marketing technology—it’s any software that automates repetitive tasks over the internet. The original bots were spammed Twitter accounts not run by actual consumers, or bots browsing pages to increase page views or ad impressions.
Now marketers are taking advantage and using bots as chatbots for customer service. 49.4% of customers would rather contact a business via messaging than by phone. Automating one-on-one conversations with customers can be daunting, and with 51% of customers wanting 24/7 customer service it can get even more daunting. That’s why chatbots can come in handy—automating your business with ease! It saves costs by not having to hire customer service employees and regulates solutions given to customers.
#6 China is driving ecommerce
The U.S. ecommerce market’s growth remains strong, but it is expected to reach saturation in the near future. However, international markets—like Asia—are expected to have dramatic increases. Asian ecommerce markets are expected to rise significantly—doubling sales between now and 2019. To capitalize on the increase, businesses need to optimize their online store and create a personalized shopping experience for potential international customers. This includes offering local payment methods, like UnionPay—the preferred payment method in China. Click here to learn more about our UnionPay partnership. Also, provide localized languages and offer local currencies to make customers feel at ease.
To obtain a strong brand experience, businesses can use different operational and marketing strategies to keep up and eventually get ahead of their competitors. Providing your customers with a user-friendly shopping experience across all devices is one of the best things you can do to keep ahead of the trends.