In recent times, there is a rapid development in the field of technology and this has made it mandatory for ecommerce stores to stay updated with the latest trends. Ecommerce can be compared to fashion. It is changing constantly and adopting the new trends by replacing or modifying the older ones. It has become very imperative for the ecommerce stores to stay updated with the latest trends in order to sustain in this fierce competition.
It is said that by end of 2015, 44% of world’s population must have experienced shopping online at some point in their life. This numbers are expected to increase to 50% by end of 2018. This indicates that by 2018 half of the world must be shopping online. But in order to capture such a huge market ecommerce sites will have to adopt the changes and stay updated with the latest trends.
Here are 6 trends of ecommerce that will be seen in 2016:
1. Multichannel Shopping
With the advancement in technology, the demands and the expectations of the customers are increasing and they are demanding for multiple channels for shopping. Majority of business have succeeded in providing multiple channels for shopping but they have not been able to provide the same experience across all the channels. The consumer might use a phone, tablet or desktop to make an online purchase but they expect the same process across all the channels. They want a uniform response across all the channels as for the customer the company remains the same only the channels change. This makes it a mandate for the companies to design the ecommerce store in a way that it can provide good experience to the user across all the channels. It is crucial to provide uniform service to the customer as getting discrete information across several channels can distract the buyer and put them off from making a purchase. As per the research done by ICSC, it was found that multi-channel shoppers tend to spend 3.5 times more as compared to single channel shoppers. Hence, the ecommerce stores will need to be more flexible and responsive to the needs of the customer.
2. Online Loyalty programs
Online loyalty programs are gaining popularity these days owing to the multiple reasons. The prime reason seems to be the development and increase in the number of companies offering credit cards. Moreover, the loyalty programs have the potential of customer retention and they can help in building more prospects. As per the survey done by Access development it was found that loyalty programs can boost the market share of the brand by 20%. They help in increasing the customer engagement and thereby increasing customer retention. It not only encourages the customer to visit again but also makes them to spend more. There are multiple companies that have started using online loyalty programs to acquire more sales. For example: Gilt is an USA based firm that encourages the customers to participate in its effective tired program.
3. Re-marketing after understanding the consumer behavior
There has be a change in the mindset and buying behavior of the customers as they are shifting from the brick to click for shopping. The ecommerce stores have started realizing this change in the behavior of the customer and have to change the way of operations and functioning. It has become a mandate to provide the good user experience as the slightest negligence can cost a lot to the company and make them out of the competition. Realizing the importance of user experience companies have now started to shift their focus towards users and are making efforts to create a different brand image. As per the survey it was found that many websites of the retailers’ are not prepared to deal with the surges in online shopping activities and are crashing during the peak periods or are running out of stock. This has leads to the shift in attention of retailers and 69% of them have admitted that they are working on their websites to make them more responsive for the customers.
4. Mobile commerce
There is a dramatic increase in the number of users that are using mobiles for shopping. The ecommerce site that isn’t supportable on mobile can no longer sustain in the market. Mobile commerce will no longer remain the necessity but it will in turn become imperative for the ecommerce stores. The websites would need to be designed in a way that it would provide high resolution with suitable touch control options that would provide good experience to the mobile shoppers. The expert prediction made by the CEO of Coupon Daddy states that by 2017, the mobile engagement behavior of the customers will be so high that it will account for 50% of the revenue generated by ecommerce. Hence the ecommerce stores that will be user friendly on the mobiles will be able to reach the zenith of success.
5. Real time analytic
With the increasing competition among the ecommerce sites it will become more important to monitor and track the behavior of the customers in real time. With the help of traditional analytics, it takes days or even weeks to spot the problem and it becomes more difficult to make to overcome the loss. But with the help of real time the problems can be solved immediately which would prevent the loss of the companies. With the real time analytics, the person can track the behavior of the visitors and help them when they encounter a problem before they leave the site. As per the results calculated by Baymard, it was found that the shopping cart abandonment rate is approximately 68.07%. With the help of real time analytics, the problem areas can be found out easily and proper resolution can be given to the customer before them abandon the site.
6. Increasing importance of customer service
Owing to the increased competition customers have become more empowered and are no longer attracted by the stores that provide only cheaper services. In order to have mounting sales stores will need to provide personalized shopping experience to the customers. Companies have started to employ more staff to assist the customers in the online sales. As per the survey it was found that 83% of customers would require some kind of support while making online transaction. Hence, companies have started using tools like live chat that helps them to increase the conversion rates.
The year of 2016 has to be exciting for ecommerce companies as it is expected to bring in more sales and revenues. But it will also bring along plethora of competitors. Hence, in order to thrive and succeed ecommerce companies will need to be more innovative and adoptive towards the latest trends.
Sawaram Suthar is CMO at Acquire, and also a founder of Jagat Media, a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on @sawarams.