Ecommerce Trends – The 2017 game changers!

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.

Mobile Engagement

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.

User-Centric Shopping

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.

Does your eCommerce store need a product information management system (PIM)? Yes, it just may!

As the growth of eCommerce expands to include millions of SKUs globally, the need to effectively organize and retrieve product information across multiple sales channels is becoming increasingly crucial.

According to research by, an estimated $40 billion in sales, or roughly 3.5%, is lost annually due to “supply chain information inefficiencies.” Companies are currently spending an average of 25 minutes per SKU per year to clean out and synch old information. Often, products can take an average of four weeks to launch.

Here are four reasons a well-designed product information management (PIM) system is crucial to eCommerce:

1. Efficiency and consistency

Consolidating all product information in a single location allows the eCommerce team to access, manage, and change information easily and consistently. New products or sales channels can be quickly added with fewer redundancies or errors in product information.

Implementing a PIM can significantly reduce the time required to update existing product information or launch a new product. Reduced time can equate to reduced costs and result in new products being ready for market in a more time sensitive manner.

2. Enhancing product information

When less time is spent managing product information, more time can be spent enhancing that information. Obvious things, such as writing unique and compelling product descriptions, adding videos, or using professional images, are often overlooked or poorly done due to a lack of time or resources.

An efficient PIM system can free up personnel and monetary resources to enhance descriptions and visual images. The end result is often an increase in customer engagement and loyalty leading to a higher conversion rate and more sales.

3. Measuring effectiveness

When product information is controlled on a central platform, it becomes easier to manage and calculate the effectiveness of the data. Scattered information in diverse databases lacks the consistency to offer quantifiable data on inventory and sales.

Establishing a PIM system to centrally record and manage product information leads to quicker and easier access to vital data for inventory and marketing purposes.

4. Consistent SEO optimization

A centralized system for managing, updating, and publishing core product content easily lends itself to consistent SEO optimization. When the information on similar products can be grouped for quick access, the process of developing SEO-enhanced descriptions is more consistent leading to increased traffic and the ability to attract a higher-qualified shopper.

In addition, core content can be efficiently and effectively customized for different sales channels and marketing segments. Making sure information is appealing to the intended audience improves the conversion rate of browsing shoppers to committed buyers.

If establishing an effective and efficient product information management system seems daunting, there are software and tools available on the market to help. Platforms such as the Asim suite, which is built around publishing and ideal for retailers with multiple sites and catalogues, or the Hybris software, catering to B2C retailers with a high online presence, can make setting up and managing a PIM system easier and more cost effective.

Salsify is another option that can help eCommerce retailers manage, share, and update product information. Salsify offers a cloud-based system, which allows employees to access the data from anywhere with Internet access. The software allows managers to collaborate and track changes throughout the system, leading to better control and increased accountability.

eCommerce retailers can benefit from storing product information in a centralized PIM in a variety of ways. From cutting costs, to increasing efficiency and consistency, to ensuring information is high-quality and compelling, a PIM can help an eCommerce store attract more customers and convert more sales.