It’s another bright and shiny new year, and ecommerce continues to evolve with new and innovative trends. Online spending is growing and is expected to exceed $400 billion per year in the U.S. by 2018 and nearly $40 billion in Canada by 2019. In order to actively engage customers and stay ahead in today’s competitive market, consider the following game changers affecting ecommerce in 2017.
While consumers have been using their smartphones and tablets to shop online for a while now, to date they’ve been less likely to convert on purchases than desktop users. However, according to think tank Gartner, by 2017 ecommerce-driven mobile revenue in the U.S. will increase by at least 50%. This creates huge potential for motivated retailers to improve the performance of their mobile sites and increase mobile conversion rates. Just think—if you’re not offering your customer an effective and engaging mobile shopping experience, you’re missing out on a huge audience for your brand, and potentially losing sales.
More Pay Options
Offering customers quick and easy online payment options results in more conversions and improved customer retention. Rather than entering payment and shipping information over and over, digital options store the information for repeated use on the site. Most ecommerce sites at the very least offer a mobile payment option for PayPal.
Another incentive for mobile engagement, mobile wallets will play a big role in how consumers pay going forward, often replacing traditional wallets altogether. They hold information about credit and debit cards, store coupons, loyalty programs and more. Some of the most common mobile wallets used by consumers include PayPal, Google Wallet and Apple Pay. In addition to smartphones, consumers will now be able to make payments from other accessories like watches and rings.
The best way to gain and retain a customer is to deliver content that is relevant to that individual. Customer-centric technologies let retailers track past orders and anticipate future needs, allowing them to focus advertising, sales and location-based deals at a highly personalized level. Companies like Kissmetrics offer software that delivers real-time analytics of detailed consumer shopping behavior. This allows retailers to provide a unique online shopping experience to each consumer, increasing conversion rates and repeat business.
Virtual Sales Force
Expect to see more virtual sales teams on ecommerce sites in the coming years. Addressing customer questions and concerns in real time allows a shopper to get information at anytime, anywhere, without delay. We’ve already seen success with chatbots (fully automated chat agents) and digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. Live online sales assistants, however, offer a truly personalized shopping experience. Spending and conversion rates are shown to increase following live chat sessions.
Faster Delivery Times
In today’s world, not only do consumers want to easily make purchases from anywhere, they want products delivered quickly. Amazon Prime led the way and other retailers are following suit, working through the logistical issues that arise with such quick turnaround times. Startups like Postmates often begin by offering same day service in select cities, with the aim to expand in time. And Amazon’s idea of a crowdsourced delivery system where regular people will deliver packages for a small fee could change the way businesses look at shipping in the future.
These are just a few of the ecommerce trends that will continue to pick up steam in 2017. Ecommerce selling is becoming increasingly personalized and interactive; engaging customers in real-time and customizing their experience has never been more important to sales and brand loyalty.