Ecommerce is a very vast subject that does not necessarily have a stable recipe. It is not that easy to predict what will top the search charts regarding online stores. Nonetheless, the way people have behaved in the online market in 2015 is one indicator. Furthermore, this article will try to give some insights to the way online shops will behave in the coming year.
1. Customer’s shopping behavior & experience
Consumers expect multi-device, cross-channel interaction with their favorite brands. A lower price may be just a few clicks or taps away. Attention spans are shorter, patience for mistakes is wearing thin and your sales may hang in the balance.
Multi-channel retailers who operate both e-commerce and in-store channels are having to take note. They’re changing the way they think about omni-channel shoppers and what their shopping behavior means for the overall business. The most sophisticated retailers are ensuring their marketing strategies are geared toward enabling customers to convert on any channel. Why? Because they realize that a shopper who buys from them in-store and online is their most valuable kind of customer. According to a 2015 study by IDC, these shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel. Also, omni-channel customers tend to shop more frequently and spend 3.5 times more than single-channel shoppers.
2. Expect online sales to increase
First, and not surprisingly, online sales will continue to surge. Online sales accounted for 7% of all retail sales in 2011, and 2016 is projecting a total of 9%. This increase will also reflect in total spend, from $1,207 to $1,738 a year. Knowing this rise is on the horizon, plan to analyze and understand your consumer data.
Understand your audience
Find out why customers search the way they do, what they’re searching for, and why they buy or abandon a purchase within your site. After you identify and analyze your audience remember to gather demographic and psychographic information. And always keep in mind that you need to select the right channel to deliver the message in order to communicate effectively and understand their audience. This will be invaluable for increasing your personal sales in 2016.
Who are Millennials?
They have grown up with transparency and information available to them at their fingertips, so brands have to design their businesses around transparency.
A survey in March by millennial insight firm YPulse revealed that while millennials shopped the most at mass merchandisers,
online-only stores came in at a close second with 73 percent of 18-32-year-olds saying they had shopped online in the last 30 days.
It’s not just a stereotype that young people are glued to their phones: 42 percent of millennials have bought a product on their phones, according to the Global Web Index. That extends to the store, where 56 percent of U.S. millennials surveyed said that their phone is their most valuable shopping tool in-store, according to a study by agency Razorfish from earlier this year: More than half (59 percent) of U.S. millennials use their device to check prices while shopping.
Mobile? Yes please!
With 1.75 billion smartphones being used all over the world, this trend won’t be falling off anytime soon. Mobile devices have become deeply integrated into the online shopping experience.
This doesn’t mean desktop stores will fall to the wayside. While on-the-go shopping will continue to rise, many customers start their browsing on their smartphones and finalize their purchases later on desktop.
Mobile apps are not just smaller versions of a retailer’s website, but research and shopping assistants in the palms of consumers hands at all times – even in-store. They’re both an opportunity and a threat for retailers – get it right and the customer can find the right information at the right time. Get it wrong, and it could hurt your brand and drive customers to competitors.
As noted by Kissmetrics, one-third of all eCommerce purchases were made on a smartphone during the holiday shopping season in 2013. Another noteworthy statistic is that 78% of mobile searches for local business information result in a purchase.
3. The changing face of eCommerce platforms
Another item to take note of going into 2016 is Amazon’s announcement that it will be phasing out its e-commerce platform Webstore. Marketing Land reported that the solution, which was aimed at small to medium eCommerce companies, is set to close in July 2016. Retailers utilizing this strategy were notified in March, and need to begin looking for another platform to support their stores.
Today, a rising number of eCommerce companies are choosing Magento, and have made it the leading eCommerce platform. According to Datanyze, Magento currently claims 23,7 percent of the market, and provides support for more than 16,000 websites in the Alexa top 1 million.
Rethink visual content
Over the years, the Internet has fundamentally changed the media landscape and our accessibility to content. It has spawned a whole new way of telling stories and informing, educating and entertaining audiences. It now influences how, where and when we consume content. Technology has enabled global consumers to upload, share and watch not only short-length videos, but also movies, documentaries and news. Content will demand more visual mediums. The written content market continues to become more saturated, leaving users with a higher demand for more visual forms of content.
4. The Proliferation of UI Patterns
One of the side effects of responsive design has meant that a lot of sites look similar. However, responsive design isn’t solely to blame. There’s no doubt that the hamburger menu, while some criticize this pattern’s use, it’s widespread use makes the function easily recognizable for users.
Animation has become an increasingly important part of the UI design experience across many different applications. Our eyes are naturally drawn to motion, which makes it the perfect tool for drawing a user’s attention. Motion can also help with visual hierarchy. This can help to add interest and intrigue to forms, CTAs and menu items.
Last year, Google launched its new style language, Material Design. It uses shadow effects and the concepts of movement and depth in order to create designs that appear more realistic to the user.
So you may want to rethink the hamburger menu, add more animation to your website and maybe try material design.
5. Marketing strategy
Flash sale sites are growing more popular by the day. Sites like Jack Threads & Woot, offer consumers the ability to buy higher end, designer products for discounts of up to 80 percent for a few days.
But keep in mind that flash sales do burned bright, but then burned out. Subscription is growing faster. Though with a longer time to first purchase, more subscription customers subscribe to receive emails and make repeat purchases than flash sales shoppers.
A possible reason for the divergence is that flash sales models largely rely on impulse buys, whereas successful subscription businesses provide solutions for a long-term need. However, customer churn poses a serious problem for both business models: 72% and 94% of subscription and flash sale customers don’t come back within 6 months of first purchase.
Companies must invest in retention strategies to keep their momentum going.
Social will sell
Social media marketing has advanced far beyond just networking, and it will break into the world of eCommerce over the next few years. Already we have seen this trend begin with Facebook advertising and recently Instagram.
Instagram & advertising
The social network, which has more than 400m users, overtaking Twitter, is particularly important for advertisers due to its popularity among disposable-income rich millennials (18-to-29-year-olds). There are five advertising objectives you can choose: Website Click, Video View, Mobile App Install, Page Post Engagement and Website Conversion.
Online Loyalty Programs
Though they have been slow to get off the ground in 2015, online loyalty programs are becoming more of a influence for eCommerce and are trending to hit big in 2016.
So, what eCommerce Categories are Growing Fastest?
Forecasters predict that in 2016 ecommerce sales in the United States alone should exceed $550 billion dollars. So which ecommerce categories will or will continue to be ripe for new business and growth in the coming year?
The categories that will see increase sales and opportunities in the next 12 months, surprisingly or not, are: Activewear, Baby products, Educational products, Furniture and home décor and Handmade products and crafts. You can read the full article here.
What trends do you see emerging in eCommerce? Share your thoughts with us.
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