Every year, e-commerce trends change, whether it’s improvements in logistics, product discovery, or brand building. If you want to keep up with the times in online commerce, you have to adapt and evolve, and be more innovative and updated on trends over your competition. To benefit even more, you need to be aware of the implications; embrace the newest trends, and implement them accordingly and change the way you do business.
Mobile, and omni-channel approach
The shift to mobile has been steady over the past 5 years and we have witnessed a complete change in the way users shop. In 2016, mobile traffic has overtaken desktop as the primary way to purchase
It is true that most session on ecommerce sites come from mobile devices, but revenue by device is biggest on desktop. Still, a very large chunk of customers isn’t very comfortable or happy with mobile purchases. And over half of them have privacy and security concerns, and prefer purchasing on a PC.
The (simple) solution to overcoming this gap, instead of treating customers as two different groups – mobile and desktop customers, is the omni-channel approach – designing a brilliant UX and creating a seamless experience across all devices. This is important because even though smartphones might have the lowest conversion rate of any device, according to a new research done by Wolfgang Digital, people are making searches on smartphones and making key purchasing decisions, then actually buy over desktop.
Artificial intelligence and big data for personalized experience
Crafting a perfect customer experience is the main goal of every e-commerce website. And as data-availability is significantly increased, marketers can easily target customers based on personal info and behavioral data, which makes achieving this goal a lot easier. Amazon, for example, has become great at offering highly personalized experiences, that go beyond “one size fits all” product recommendations, and for customers it is becoming the new norm of service expectancy.
Personalization and customization of the user experience are becoming the vital difference between competitors and key factors for lower cart abandonment rate. Online retailers are becoming aware of this, and embracing the new trend.
2017 seems to be the year of big data and AI. Shopify, as a platform has some of this very basic personalization built into the platform, but, understanding this even further and leveraging personalization and big data tools could really level up your game. Also, understanding your customer further leveraging tools like MixPanel and CrazyEgg can help you with targeting, messaging, and marketing to customers via the various advertising platforms.
Loyalty and Rewards Programs
Improved buying experience and customer loyalty play a major role in the success of every business. Unfortunately, customer loyalty is becoming harder to maintain, since almost half of the consumers would switch brands for a coupon.
One way of providing better and more convenient shopping experience is the introduction of mobile payment. Mobile payment apps are becoming more popular as smartphone users get used to using digital wallets and contactless payment.
The added bonus of mobile payment apps is the opportunity to collect customer behavior information on a personal level. These shopping preferences can be used to create highly personalized promotions and rewards for each and every consumer. The result is build strong relationships that are beneficial for the e-tailer and the customer, and also, present an excellent way for creating a long-term loyal customers base.
Delivering to your customer
Online shopping standards have been raised once more in the last few years with the significantly faster and shorter delivery times. Online shopping customers are becoming less and less patient and demand to have the product(s) delivered as soon as possible. And thanks to Amazon Prime who began the trend, flexibility of delivery options is becoming the new standards.
The majority of retailers now offer next-day delivery for orders made before 10pm. But the prediction is that same-day delivery will continue to rise in 2017. Another efficient way of cutting delivery times that is also gaining popularity is the integration with drop-off point providers.
Many online retailers are willing to make the take the steps to making delivers faster and more convenient because delivery options and speed are becoming key ecommerce differentiators. And the truth is that almost one third of consumers are willing to pay extra for same-day delivery. Worth it, right?
Leveraging Online Chat for Conversion and Customer Feedback
Another combination of personalization and AI delivers a new way of shopping and communication with customers – chatbots. Chatbots are automated AI-led messenger services that allow website visitors engage with your brands via instant messaging. The smartest chatbots can discover what the customer wants, and suggest products, place the order, answer customer service questions, and much more.
Since consumers are beginning to get familiar with speaking to machines, brands are looking to use this to their advantage, and east the shopping experience for their customers. The reality is that chatbots are not yet perfected, and still undergo development, but soon enough they might start to become how we first interact with brands on their websites.
Convenient product returns and automated processing systems
We are all aware that the shopping experience doesn’t end with payment nor product delivery. And with online shopping, the lack of physical contact with the products before purchase can result with as much as 33% of returns, especially for apparel.
Stores like Zappos already offer free returns and a customer-friendly no-questions-asked policy. For a great number of customers, product returns can be a deciding purchase factor. And over half of online shoppers desire a complementary return shipping and simple return process in order to feel confident completing a purchase.
But complying to this new standard might not be so hard. Newer software solutions integrated directly into the online store allow shoppers to go back to the same site where they made the purchase and quickly process a return. This new software can also communicate return inventory to the warehouse and provide detailed analytics to the retailers.
The rapidly changing ecommerce field requires alertness and quick response to the latest trends. Sometimes learning on the go can be hard to do on your own. But we are always here to help you adapt and grow because heated competition, new rules of play, pricing strategy and customer experience on the retailers’ side, and customers’ expectancy on the other, may make it more difficult for brands to hold their leading position and loose out. These are some of the major trends to shape ecommerce now, so pay close attention and decide where you want to be in 2017, fast.