eCommerce has gained significant relevance in the past few years following rapid developments in technology and the capabilities of the Internet for its users. This has given rise to various business venturing into this landscape to capitalize on its potentials for business growth and has significantly impacted the shopping industry as a whole.
As such, businesses have looked into growing their eCommerce strategies and domains more and more by following customers’ wants and expectations, as well as technological trends that affect them.
This 2017, there are a lot of factors that are expected to undergo developments for eCommerce. Here are the top 7 trends that will help your business’ online growth this year:
- Mobile Will Be a Bigger Medium
In reality, the growth of mobile usage has surpassed being a mere trend (or optional preference) and has become a pivotal aspect for eCommerce. Mobile commerce had a breakthrough year in 2015, and it has grown more important with each passing year. In 2017, mobile commerce sales are expected to increase to US$151 billion and US$242 billion by 2020.
eMarketer attributes this growth to a better mobile experience – larger screens, smoother buying process, better mobile search, and context-driven discovery. It doesn’t simply rely on optimization nowadays for customers – retailers who think “mobile-first” are the ones truly reaping the rewards of having a platform that works in synergy with a phone’s size and functionality.
- Digital Payments Will Be More Common
The presence of mobile payment platforms such as Apple Pay and PayPal, coupled with the mobile-centric system eCommerce is starting to develop as has become a rising trend in recent years. They say that customers no longer have to take out their card to complete an online transaction. They can simply rely on their fingerprint or online PIN number to pay for orders.
2016 became the breakthrough year for digital payments, as more and more customers have opted to adopt digital payment types through various channels to complete transactions with as less contact or friction as possible. Deloitte’s 2016 Holiday overview found that 78% of smartphone owners planned to use their phone for holiday shopping and that 43% of them made their purchases directly on their smartphones. These numbers are greatly predicted to rise this year.
- E-commerce Personalization
Customers have been exposed to the convenience that is personalized experiences from platforms such as Amazon and Netflix, and now have come to expect this level of personalization from online retailers. They want product recommendations to be based on what sort of items they’ve shown interest in and not just a “one-size-fits-all” recommendation list.
This year, it’s expected that all businesses – from SME to Mid-Tier to Enterprise – will all have access to technology that enables personalization for their own domains. 2017 is the year that retailers are predicted to embrace personalization from the ground up and moving to develop highly-targeted campaigns based on previous online experiences of different customer segments.
- Even More Omni-Channels
Gone are the days when commerce was limited strictly to brick-and-mortar stores. It has evolved over the years – from catalog sales, phone orders, TV commerce, social commerce, and to eCommerce. However, many retailers nowadays are facing a critical issue: channel fragmentation. With more and more features and trends being released over time, the gap between them can easily widen, which results in a confused client base and a distorted brand image.
2017 is predicted to be the year when retailers are finally unifying their shopping channels. This is expected to be accomplished through features such as multichannel wishlists and real-time stock information. PureNet calls this “getting the basics right”. Once you have these features, you can begin looking into more innovative omnichannel technologies to further your eCommerce ventures.
- The Rise of Chatbots
The last few years have seen the sudden popularity of mobile messaging apps. Paralleling this is the growth of eCommerce personalization, which uses AI to predict results and appropriate actions based on the target’s previous actions – which now then has been adopted by many large retailers. 2017 is the year that these two trends will combine to redefine shopping and communicating.
Investopedia defines chatbots as “a computer program that simulated human conversation through voice commands or text chats or both.”
Smarter chatbots can detect exactly what a customer is searching for, suggest products, place orders, answer questions, and even converse in a similar style as the customer. And while it still is in its development phase and thus isn’t perfected yet, it’s still highly possible that chatbots will begin to take a more prominent role in eCommerce within the next few months.
- Higher Delivery Expectations
In recent years, eCommerce delivery timescales have drastically reduced and have become much more precise. Many online retailers are also looking for more profitable ways to deliver free (and fast) shipping to compete with the bigger names in the industry such as Amazon. It’s expected that in 2017, they will continue doing so.
This is all in the name of giving customers the best possible service, down to the delivery of their purchases. 44% of customers abandon carts if the delivery charges are deemed too exorbitant, while 58% of shoppers are willing to spend more and buy more items if it means qualifying for free delivery. Free shipping is also so important that 83% are willing to endure longer shipping times if the shipping is free. This is a major factor that all online retailers need to follow through this year.
- Loyalty Schemes
With the vast growth that eCommerce has seen in recent years, it remains that customer loyalty is a force to be reckoned with. With such a wide amount of choices available to customers online as well as the rise of people using a supposed online shop to scam customers out of their money (among other cyber crimes), it’s essential for customers to know who they can trust for their purchasing needs.
Carlton Coleman is the owner of SIGN WITHIN superstore, an e-commerce business under the umbrella of The Sign Within Academy, LLC. The company seeks to not only provide an online shopping experience with great deals, discounts, and rebates but to partner and support non-profit organizations that speak to hearts, stretch minds and serve the whole of humanity to further their causes. He strongly believes that you make a living by what you get but you make a life by what you give.