What Does The Future of E-Commerce Hold?
The market analyst firm Internet Retailer predicts that by the end of 2016, e-commerce sales will total $392.5 billion. As e-commerce grows in popularity, certain trends have emerged that will shape the way we shop. To capitalize on e-commerce’s appeal, marketers must stay abreast of these developments. Below are some trends shaping the future of e-commerce in 2016 and years to come.
Consumer Pre-Purchase Behaviour
According to Adweek, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before they make a purchase. And there’s a great deal of information available to them. In fact, there’s so much data, many consumers are overwhelmed and frustrated.
Tools such as Shopsta, which consolidate information and streamline the research process, have become quite popular. Analysts and industry experts predict these tools will only grow in popularity in the future.
A True Omnichannel Experience
A few years ago, the term “omnichannel experience” referred to a seamless customer journey across a bricks-and-mortar outlet, a desktop, and a mobile device. Now, e-commerce developers have begun to offer an expanded omnichannel experience to consumers.
At Shopify’s recent conference, the platform introduced seven new integrated sales channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon, Houzz, Ebates, and Wanelo). These sales channels make it easier for e-tailers to reach customers on the channel of their choice and offer a consistent experience.
Technology has empowered customers to an unprecedented degree. They want personalized deals available on the device of their choice. Beacon technology enables retailers to provide those tailored deals.
When a customer walks into a store, a beacon device communicates with his or her cell phone and pushes a coupon or other special offer. Depending on the shopper’s device (and whether or not he or she has an app for that store), retailers can gain insight into that person’s shopping history.
The marketing firm Smart Insights predicts that by 2018, there will be 3.5 billion active beacons installed. By the end of 2016 alone, beacons will have driven up retail sales to $44 billion.
Beacons aren’t the only way retailers can offer personalized deals to shoppers. The online publication Ventureburn suggests that online retailers can take advantage of marketing automation to customize the shopping experience.
While retailers have been sending out personalized emails for quite some time, they can tailor landing pages and shopping carts to meet customers’ needs. Moreover, their sites can automatically display recommended products based on the user’s purchase history or the items he or she viewed during the last visit to the site.
More Online Shopping Days
Traditionally, Black Friday was a big shopping day in North America. That changed with the rise of e-commerce – now Cyber Monday dominates. China’s Singles’ Day (November 11th) seems poised to overtake Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2015, it earned retailers more money than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Criteo predicts that such online shopping days will become more frequent and more lucrative for online-only retailers as well as bricks-and-mortar players with an online presence.