If you have thought e-commerce has finally reached its optimum point, you are certainly wrong. It is growing even bigger than you (or any retailer in that case) might have thought.
If you are following the recent e-commerce scenario in the internet market, then here is a recent survey report conducted by RetailMeNot and Center for Retail Research that forecasts an e-commerce boom in areas across North America and UK this year.
#1. Go Mobile To Play A Big Role
Statistic reports suggest the gross number of online buyers this year would turn out to be 169.1 million approximately, with smartphones and tablets to play a big role in the internet market.
Going mobile friendly is not breaking news now. You have been hearing this since last year about how responsive web design is now a crucial part of your website and not an option anymore. Besides that, the fact that Google would award you with a better ranking merit gives out the evident hint that mobile is set to play a big role in the future market (by the way, make your site mobile search friendly before 21st April to save yourself from penalization). New technologies have revolutionized the lifestyle of people as well as the purchasing choice of buyers, and this is high time retailers should grab this large segment of shoppers by going mobile.
A little sneak peek into other necessary mobile data that might come in handy for you this year:
- Mobile payment is estimated to reach beyond USD 1 trillion mark by the end of 2015 and that is expected to double by the time we reach 2017.
- 20% of the payment transactions would be generated from NFC enabled technology by the year 2017.
- 21% of mobile users this year would spend more time on apps, which gives rise to the development of more loyalty apps.
#2. Deliver A Seamless Customer Experience
According to PWC conducted research, customers now prefer a good shopping / product experience compared to a better product.
So, how do you provide a seamless customer experience? Apart from the common strategies like smooth page loads and good navigation, what you need is to provide a good shopping experience. There are two new ways you can do this – one, psychologically and the other, socially.
Psychologically – Referrals work great and can provide you more customer engagement. This is because it works on one’s psychology. Advertisements no longer seem to work their charm on a customer anymore as the new trend now shifts towards reading website reviews for more information on a particular product. According to a Forbes prediction – 2015 would bring a collaboration between brands and publishers to create sponsored content along with primary content that would look less promotional and more relevant to customers online.
Socially – With the use of big data. This is how Target Corp., a general merchandise store, figured out the pregnancy of a teenage girl before her father could. Take a look at this screenshot that extracts an interview of how Target uses big data to personalize a buyer’s shopping experience –
Using big data in e-commerce brings a lot of advantages, as you know beforehand which customer behavior is going to influence their purchasing decision.
Amazon is also another popular e-commerce platform to practice this trend. The platform uses data to predict products to customers based on the buyer’s purchasing history and last shopping data.
#3. Find The Importance Of Social Media Sites
With social media marketing now on the front row as a strong internet marketing tool, e-commerce stores need to have a social media account. Customers are always on the lookout for someone whom they can trust, and social presence helps a brand to humanize. Social users are encouraged to interact with the e-commerce store representatives, thus making social media sites a better engagement platform, which in turn results in better audience build up, better engagement and better conversion.
According to a research data, 75% of e-commerce sales are generated from social platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and by the year 2016, the total number of online purchases to be made by US customers would amount to around $327 bn.
Therefore it’s time to make use of social media sites for advertisements, as well as that of big data that gets collected from users within your social network. Retail shops like Target use popular Pinterest images to feature in their online store. This helps customers to see at a glance which products are the favorites for other people. But expect this trend to be followed from both ways, since popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too have decided to integrate purchase buttons on their social pages to provide shoppers with the benefit to click on the buy button while scrolling through their news feed.
#4. The Rise Of ‘Webrooming’ Or ‘Reverse Showroom’ Strategy
For some time now, retailers of bricks and mortar shops have worried about the existence of the physical market. Well, e-commerce has completely changed this fear in a way that even e-store retailers might not have thought much about. According to a survey report, 46% of shoppers prefer to visit a store and inspect a product before they purchase it online. However, 69% of shoppers prefer to check out a product online first before they decide to head to the store. This latter process is call ‘reverse showrooming’ or rather ‘webrooming’.
Shoppers come more informed about a product when they visit a shop and retailers need to be aware of the fact that a shopper undergoes various stages of decision making, before he/she is finally convinced to make the buy. Keeping this in mind, retailers must plan out a strategy to influence this shopping behavior of a buyer in a better way. Already big brands like Gucci have started to incorporate digital technologies to make their customers’ shopping experience much more easier and advanced.
Some of the new technologies that retailers would incorporate into their in-store to improve a purchaser’s shopping experience are –
- Use of technologies like NFC, iBeacon and Bluetooth that allow retailers to send deals and offers to the mobile handsets of targeted customers, whenever they visit a shop.
- The use of cloud based Point-of-sale system or POS would lead to less usage of the traditional cash register.
- Form AR centric virtual trial rooms, interactive window displays to AR integrated mobile maps and navigation, retail merchants will introduce more new technologies in-store that will bridge the gap between the physical and the online world of commerce. Take a look at Hointer’s showroom, where robots have replaced almost everything that you would find in a traditional retail showroom.
- Wearable technologies are likely to be a new introduction in the retail world since a lot of customers now own gadgets like a smart watch, fitness monitors and glasses. A lot of retail shops have already started their new venture, experimenting with some of these new technologies. One such name is Kenneth Cole that had unveiled the new Google Glass app last year, and would use it for marketing a new cologne product.
Related – ECommerce in the Near Future: a Lifelike Shopping Experience
The game has changed, not just for e-marketers but also physical retailers. 2015 would be more of an amalgamation between these two sectors of the commercial world. That means more new strategies and more competition for both. While owners of bricks and mortar retail shops have to think of new ways to turn their shopping market scenario, e-store retailers have a new game to begin lest they are prepared to become a ‘no-sale zone’ from this year.
Images: “Man holding tablet pc and credit card indoor, Shopping Online/Shutterstock.com“
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