In case you haven’t heard, ecommerce is having a moment. Forrester Research Inc is predicting that by 2018, e-retail sales will total $414 billion, a 57% increase from 2013. On top of that, consumers are savvier than ever, using the Internet to conduct their initial product research (such as reviews), investigating the product in-store, and then price-comparing and (sometimes) purchasing the product online, as opposed to the traditional in-store purchase.
So if you have an ecommerce presence, how do you ensure that your e-Store stays relevant?
By staying on top of the trends, obviously. We scoured the experts' predictions and data and coupled it with what we’ve been seeing to form our predictions for what will be on the rise in the ecommerce sphere this year.
Unified Commerce Platforms
Taking omnichannel one step further, a unified commerce platform presents retailers with a “one version of the truth”, so to speak, with everything connected and updating in real time. According to a recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, 53% of surveyed executives intend to implement a unified commerce platform in the next few years. If you currently operate solely on an ecommerce basis, mobile-first responsive design is still your best bet to ensure a seamless experience for your customers.
Ever since the introduction of mobile, the way that users shop has been changing. “Consumers have access to more and more tools like comparison shopping engines and price protection, along with promotions like free shipping and cash back,” says a recent article in Inc. magazine. As a result, working to capture customer loyalty will become a larger and larger priority, using big data to understand what drives your clients’ decisions and working to garner the trust that will leave them assured that they’re receiving the best deal. Target changed the game in this arena with the introduction of Cartwheel, allowing users to scan and compare products inside the store, and saving applicable coupons.
The Wow Factor
Blame Zappos, Amazon, or any number of ecommerce giants known for their customer service and killer add-ons, but customers have come to expect a certain level of service and immediate-gratification with their ecommerce shopping experience. And if you want to ensure that their dollars come to you instead of them, you need to at least be on par. What does that mean for 2015? The rise of 1-day shipping, free returns (already being offered by Zappos) and same-day, in-store pick-up.
Need a reason to care about Social Commerce? “Social commerce sales of physical goods are projected to grow by 93% per year in the U.S alone, reaching $14 billion by 2015”, says Ajith B.J. in a recent LinkedIn Influencer post. Further illustrating this phenomenon, Pinterest, the 20-30something’s addiction to dream life planning, may be moving towards introducing a pay function later this year. Users are already taking to social platforms to share their brand experiences (both negative and positive), promote items they love, and learn more about hot new items. Social commerce is the next step in that evolution.