The world of retail and eCommerce is always changing. What was true in the marketplace just a year ago may not be true today. New ECommerce trends, technological innovations, and economic shifts may transform an entire business from the ground up on a weekly basis.
The constant upheaval seen in eCommerce and retail means that yesterday’s top dog may become a straggler today. No matter where you stand in the food chain, you can always work your way up or lose your standing by ignoring change.
Ecommerce trends will continue to evolve at a rapid pace, and you need to keep up with the latest retail trends to continue to boost your clients’ sales and stay ahead of the competition.
#1 Mobile Is The Future
In 2016, mobile surpassed laptop and PC browsing for the first time, and is now the primary form of Internet browsing. ECommerce will soon account for 15% of all specialty retail sales in North America (in China, eCommerce is 23% of all retail).
Google reports that mobile conversion rates have increased by 29% in the last year and will continue rise. People who shop through mobile devices buy twice as much as they would in person.
Capitalizing on this as a business owner is largely a matter of design. You need to make sure that you have a mobile retail site that is responsive and specifically designed for mobile use.
Simply downsizing parts of your Google Chrome-optimized site isn’t going to cut it. Making sure that your site is mobile optimized means focusing on the small screen.
Easy to read menus and buttons are a must. You want to make sure that people can get to where they’re going on your site with no trouble.
#2 Selling The Experience
More and more, consumers seem less interested in commercial goods, products, and more interested in experiences. This growing emphasis on experiencing things instead of just “owning” them is especially pronounced among millennials.
You’re going to have a hard time talking a millennial into buying that big screen TV at full price, but selling them concert tickets, a zip line adventure, flying lessons, horseback tours, that’s going to be a little easier.
You might be thinking, “It’s too late, I already own a furniture store not a sky diving business.” Its not too late! You can add experiential elements to the traditional brick-and-mortar store.
The takeaway from this is that you should expand your offerings to accommodate this growing desire for experiences over things.
One example of this is Nordstrom. They recently began launching stores that don’t carry inventory at all. Instead, these specialized locations provide in-house makeovers and styling tips. Another example is how IKEA started offering augmented reality apps that overlay 3D models of the company’s furniture in a user’s home.
Own a restaurant? Why not offer cooking lessons on the weekends?
Maybe you run a vintage clothing store. Offering to tailor suits and dresses at a reasonable price is an experience that your customers aren’t going to get from your nearest competitor. You could use a 3D browsing app to show customers how your furniture will look in their home.
Look for ways that you can turn your product into an activity.
“Experience” can mean something big, grand and exciting like an escape room or a kayaking trip. But it can also mean something simple, like fishing lessons.
Even smaller experiences can go a long way towards encouraging customers to choose you over someone who’s just selling the “things” involved with the task. Tutorial videos are among the most popular on Youtube, and that mentality applies to retail, as well.
Not to mention, once you teach someone how to use your products, they’re going to be eager to buy them.
#3 Social Media Advertising
If you’re only buying print ads and radio spots, you’re going to left behind in your market.
That said, conventional advertising still works. Print ads, TV commercials, and radio ads clearly still work because companies are still spending billions of dollars a year on them.
However, there’s is a huge emphasis on omni-channel marketing, more specifically in social media.Omni-channel eCommerce is essentially about being everywhere at all times.
Hubspot describes it as, “the ability to deliver a seamless and consistent experience across channels, while factoring in the different devices that consumers are using to interact with your business.”
According to Kleiner Perkins 2018 Internet trends report, social media is now one of the “most important factors in a purchasing decision,” with roughly 55 percent of consumers buying new products as a result of “social media discovery.”
It is essential for every business to have an online presence. Create a business account for each social media platform, utilize your website, and make sure there is somewhere for customers to write reviews.
Since many companies are advertising online, ad rates continue to increase. The good thing about advertising online is that you can maximize your return by relying on the quantitative data your ads show.
Almost every platform will show you the analytics and reporting on your advertisements. You can accurately measure the impact of your advertising campaigns by the amount of sales it brings in. This allows you to see what’s working (and what isn’t) so you can make the necessary adjustments.
#4 Businesses As Consumers
This might be one of the ECommerce trends that surprise you. A few years ago, consumers were the biggest spenders in the economy. Today, businesses are actually spending more than consumers.
Business are the driving force behind most online sales.
In 2017, B2B ECommerce generated nearly $7.7 trillion in sales, which is more than three times what the $2.3 trillion B2C market generated.
How do you take advantage of this growing trend? After all, all those social media campaigns we’re running probably aren’t targeting the typical businessman.
We tend to think of B2B as being a market comprised of business lunches, meetings, and contract negotiations. In the modern day, there are more small businesses than ever, and they tend to shop largely the same way individual consumers do. This means that advertising is still important, all the other trappings of a B2C brand are still important, you just need to gear it towards business-oriented buyers.
Framing your product around, “This is what you need for your offices” not, “This is what you need for your living room”. It’s a subtle shift in many cases, but it’s the little things that make a brand favorable.
Another example of this could be tailoring payment solutions for B2B sellers and buyers. The offerings might look like:
- Secure online payment gateways for B2B merchants
- Mobile payment processing for those who frequently sell at off-site events
- Advanced fraud management tools to help safeguard payment data
Try implementing commonsense strategies to make your offerings more relevant to corporate stakeholders.