As “The Economist” reports, ecommerce has been expanding globally at an average rate of 20 percent annually over the course of the last decade. And yet, as pervasive as it seems, it’s still making up less than one-tenth of worldwide retail sales. Though it may feel like you see your neighbors receive new packages from online shopping every day, or that people’s first instinct is to order a product online rather than heading to a brick-and-mortar store, there’s still plenty of room for expansion within the industry.
Savvy online retailers keep an eye on recent trends in ecommerce at all times, so they can capitalize on them ahead of the curve. Here are three such trends to note.
- Trend #1: Mobile Buying Is on the Rise
The last few years have seen an uptick in mobile buying using a smartphone or tablet. For example, smartphone-based transactions made up 25 percent of retail commerce in the last quarter of 2016. This represents an 18 percent increase over the same time period during the previous year. Since then, mobile devices have only become more accessible around the world and more integrated into consumers’ daily lives.
At the very least, online merchants must ensure their mobile browsing experience is optimized for smaller screens. This means adapted layouts, larger buttons and simplified menus at the bare minimum. If you offer a mobile browsing experience that’s essentially just your desktop browsing experience condensed onto a smaller screen, you risk overwhelming consumers as they struggle to read small text and navigate convoluted menus.
Furthermore, many ecommerce brands are finding success with designated apps, which allow companies to control the visual and navigational experience closely. Loyal customers tend to appreciate the convenience accompanying an app because they can store their information once, then simply tap a few times to make purchases in the future. Apps are also beneficial in marketing because they allow retailers to send out push notifications to boost reengagement.
- Trend #2: Sales Days See Bigger Traffic Spikes
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have always been two preeminent shopping days, first in-store and now online. But data shows retailers are experiencing larger traffic spikes on these days. In 2017, online stores experienced their biggest average sales volumes to date on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
As one contributor writes for Forbes, “Higher internet traffic can impact the speed and responsiveness of a website. If it takes too long for a site or page to load, consumers may move on. The right website host and server can mean the difference between hundreds of dollars in sales and thousands.”
The best enterprise ecommerce platform for the present and future must be able to accommodate spikes in traffic, delivering quick load times and a glitch-free experience to customers. This is true whether it’s the slowest sales day of the year or the first few moments after a holiday sale goes live. Your platform’s functionality directly correlates to conversion rate and revenue stream because it’s the facilitator for all transactions occurring through your site.
- Trend #3: Customers Expect Personalized Experiences
Personalization in ecommerce is no longer merely a perk; it’s a growing customer expectation. And there’s a benefit for the bottom lines of brands who personalize successfully: Sales gains of six to 10 percent.
Effective personalization hinges on making the most of customer data. You need to understand their experience and decision-making process throughout the entire purchasing journey. Make data-driven decisions to improve your operations. Embrace machine-learning and artificial-intelligence technology—like an engine capable of making personalized recommendations to shoppers based on past behavior and demographics.
Capitalizing on these recent trends in ecommerce will help you stay competitive within your niche.