7 Ecommerce Trends to Watch in 2016
By the end of 2015 around 44% of the world’s population will have shopped online at some point in the year. By 2018 this number will jump to almost 50%. Let’s just stop and think about that for a second… half the world’s population will be shopping online in less than 3 years. That means half of the world’s population will become potential customers for ecommerce companies.
Ecommerce is evolving as quickly as the technology that supports it, so this means there’s always something new on the horizon, new gadgets, new strategies, new ways to attract and retain customers. With the end of the year fast approaching, it’s time to take a look at the key trends to pay attention to in 2016 and what they might mean for your business.
1. Buying Behaviour is Evolving
It’s estimated that next year, people will spend around $500 more on online shopping than this year. To make the most of this growth, you should get ready to dive into your customer data and understand who your consumers are. Look into why your customers search the way they do, what it is they’re looking for and what it is that drives their purchasing decisions. These analyses will be vital for increasing your sales in 2016 and reducing the likelihood of shopping cart abandonment.
2. Having the Lowest Price Is No Longer Enough
Sales won’t only be driven by price competition anymore. The Customer Experience (CX) and overall User Experience (UX) of your website is becoming increasingly important to the point that users simply won’t buy from you if they don’t feel comfortable or happy doing so. Ecommerce companies need to focus on the needs and wants of their users over all else. Retailers who effectively use storytelling to create a better user experience will reap the benefit of sales, those who don’t might miss out.
Tip: Try a niche content-targeting approach here by creating content that appeals to different users at different stages of the sales cycle. This idea of personalization is and will continue to be a huge focus for ecommerce so look into your data to find where your potential niche groups are and start actively engaging with them more.
3. Mobile or Miss Out
Around 4.88 billion people currently own a smartphone, so it’s safe to say that focusing on mobile optimization is showing no signs of slowing. If you’re not adapting to the mobile shopping environment, you’re missing out on a huge group of potential customers. However, this doesn’t mean that you focus only on mobile and neglect desktop; the most important thing for ecommerce companies to do is to optimize for multi-channel shopping and understand the entire user journey, regardless of the device.
4. Multi-Channel Shopping
Online shopping is no longer confined to one device. Potential customers might browse on desktop at the office, smartphone on the commute home and laptop or tablet in the evening. These multi-channel shoppers shop more often and will spend over 3 times more than your single-channel-shoppers. This means that you need to design an online shopping experience that takes this customer journey and behaviour into account or miss out on a lot of potential sales.
5. Social Selling
We’ve become a culture driven by convenience. Social media marketing has evolved beyond networking and slowly, social commerce is gaining momentum to create a shopping experience all without leaving your social media platforms. By utilizing social networks, ecommerce businesses can get more accurate and detailed demographic data. This will improve location targeting and you’ll have the ability to promote your products, offer special deals and more, all via a social network.
Our advice is that you start taking a closer look at your social commerce options and see which channels might work best for your business.
6. Wanted: Online Loyalty Programmes
Limiting loyalty programmes to plastic membership cards is a thing of the past. Slowly in 2015, online loyalty programmes have become more common and they’re expected to really gain momentum in 2016. By adopting online loyalty programmes, you’re more likely to retain customers and encourage repeat purchases. This kind of loyalty/community-building is especially important in online retail as you’re competing in an environment filled with alternatives.
Combining your loyalty programme with your email marketing and even social media is a great way to share exclusive offers and bolster the feeling of community with your customers.
7. Beacon Technology
Beacon technology allows mobile phones to ‘listen’ for signals transmitted via beacons placed in a physical environment. So for example, if your customer has downloaded your mobile app, it’s possible for you to send them a notification for discounts when they walk into your store.
This new technological development will allow you to integrate the online and offline shopping experience and engage with your in-store customers through their personal devices. The main thing to bear in mind here is that the adoption rate for this trend is potentially quite low but that could be set to change.
Which ecommerce trends are you looking out for in 2016? Share your thoughts in the comments below or Tweet us @usabilla.