2015 was a year of rapid development for ecommerce. Supported by advances in technology, ecommerce has started to extend outside the digital realm. With package-delivering robots and drones, the average spend on ecommerce has grown tremendously over the past year and all of this has set new standards for both customer service as well as marketing. According to Real Business, store-based sales fell by 2% in 2015 whereas online sales 18.4%. At the same time, beacon-based in-store marketing solutions will definitely make a grand entrance in 2016. To add the triumph of mobile to the equation, we have an interesting year ahead of us in ecommerce. Oh yeah – China is the place to point your binoculars at in 2016 as China is in the process of transitioning from an investment-heavy growth model to a more consumption driven model. (KPMG).
Customers like to be pampered. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work anymore. The winners are retailers that make the most out of the vast amount of information they have on their customers and turn it into a personalized shopping experience. Be it virtual fitting rooms, convenient delivery options or content driven marketing – ecommerce vendors need to step up their game to win. For some tips on how to make your customers experience truely personal, read this article on Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Content marketing and increasing retention
Content marketing is under-utilized in ecommerce. By providing their customers with contextual content along their top-notch shopping experience, online retailers are able increase their average revenues per customer by selling additional products or services. Research shows that customers are more vulnerable to marketing messages from retailers that they already have experience with. Add-on sales to customers that have already placed items in their shopping carts on an ecommerce site is a prime opportunity not to be missed. If retailers were to focus their efforts on these customers by giving them contextual content at the right time, in the right place, they would have a winning combination. Helpful advice in the form of beautiful copy goes a long way, if delivered at the right time. According to Practical Ecommerce, the trends in content marketing are hinting the start of a new era, where its impact is measured separately from other marketing channels. Read about it here.
Go mobile or go home!
Did we mention mobile already? 2015 was the start of the mobile payments era, with mobile payment startups popping up all over the globe. The convenience of using your phone to browse for products, quickly place orders, pay for them right then and there and have them delivered to your doorstep in the matter of hours will irreversibly transform ecommerce beyond anything we have witnessed so far. According to Internet Retailer, mobile accounted for 30% of all ecommerce in the US in the third quarter of last year and that trend is deepening.
Think globally, but act locally
Ecommerce retailers need to think globally, but act locally. With heightened demand for speedy delivery, we are sure we will be seeing many new developments in logistics pop up in 2016 to complement a smooth online shopping experience. Physical stock management is an area that is due for disruption in the near future. As long as we are talking about physical goods, the distance between the retailer and end customer is a make-or-break criteria. Retailers need to come up with ways to optimize their supply chains to meet this expectation for quicker deliveries. For some tips on how to drive revenue for your local business via ecommerce, read this post by First Data.
Paid search is so 2015
All it used to take to increase revenues from ecommerce was to throw money at adwords and voila – the customers were there. That, sadly for Google, is no longer the case. Customers demand real search results instead of a shortlist of retailers that have the deepest pockets. We again come to context and content. Whenever we search for a product (on Google), the first few pages of results usually blind us with paid results. The algorithms that drill through our minds are getting more and more complex as we go along, so the point at which we are no longer able to tell apart clever marketing and real, organic content is near. We hope that customers will not let this happen and we will see more content curation solutions instead of paid search popping up as we go along.
To conclude – a lot has happened in the field of ecommerce over the past year, but 2016 will be even more exciting. We have seen disruption in areas of ecommerce never before imagined in 2015 and we know that the development of technology is actually accelerating. So be it drone/robot delivery, intelligent shopping carts or content marketing – we are sure we will be seeing enormous advances in ecommerce in 2016.
- Online retailers must maximize benefit from vasts amounts of information they have on their customers
- Returning customers are more open to your marketing messages
- Bundling great products with great supplementary advice will increase your sales!
- In 2016, a mobile extension to an ecommerce site is a definite must!
- A third of all ecommerce orders are placed on a mobile device
- Reducing order to delivery time is key
- Supply chains must be up to par to deal with higher expectations
- Users demand real results – paid search will soon be history
- Content curation is a viable option for providing extra value
Sven has a background in communication with 10+ years of experience. At Printout Designer he makes sure our messages are short, simple and to the point. On our blog he writes mostly on ecommerce and related topics, but occasionally likes to take a sidestep into other realms of life aswell.