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7 eCommerce Trends that are dominating 2017

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Every year, people discuss what ‘trends’ occur. This applies to every aspect of retail and business, from clothing to homeware, to fulfilment to haircuts and delivery rates. For eCommerce, the trends that appear focus on the improvement of online stores and their behaviours. Within this article, we’ll discuss 7 of this year’s biggest eCommerce trends, and how they could impact your business.

Cyber November

Everyone is familiar with the concepts of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Every single year the online community enters a discounted frenzy. But retailers have started to change the game, selling earlier and for longer periods of time. Last year, Amazon offered a different extreme discount for every day of the week leading up to Black Friday.

88% of retailers in the US alone begin advertising their discounts in the first week of November (Google) now and with the entire month before Christmas seemingly dedicated to fantastic deals, it only seems fitting that the two days of ultimate discounts mutate into an entire month. It’s predicted that consumers will spend more than US $400 billion on retail purchases in November thanks to the holiday buying season’s early start.

With online traffic boosted by 60% (Textmarketer) during these discounted periods, the eCommerce market is set to profit even further with the invention of Cyber November.

2017 trends

Mobile Optimisation

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, now few people are without a smartphone. Mobile commerce now accounts for 36% of UK e-retail (The Guardian) and so the need to optimise eCommerce websites for the devices has become paramount. Online businesses have a constant presence with mobile users and it’s been estimated that smartphones and other devices will cause the most traffic for eCommerce websites (up to 60%) by the end of 2017.

Ensuring that your online store has been optimised for mobile enhances the UX (user experience), allowing them to browse and purchase goods with ease. A streamline eCommerce journey allows for conversions on the go. It is especially useful during promotion periods - 40% of Black Friday sales (2016) came from a mobile device.

2017 is set to be the year of mobile eCommerce, and any website that is not optimised for consumers on the go could miss out.

Social Selling

Social selling isn’t a new concept, but it’s certainly gained momentum this year; a marketing strategy that targets consumers based on their preferences and internet history through their social media, social selling allows marketers to directly sell to their target audience. According to LinkedIn, 90% of top salespeople now use social selling tools as well - cultivating personal, trusted relationships with consumers in the process.

No longer restricted by their online stores, businesses can go directly to their target audience and offer goods as customers are browsing their social feeds.Over 76% of buyers feel ready to have a social media conversation (LinkedIn) and by building communication eCommerce businesses can develop a strong relationship with consumers.

Promotion comes after trust is earned and social selling may have a direct influence on how businesses approach their customers in the coming years.

Mobile Payments

Apps such as Google Wallet, Paypal and Apple Pay have gained popularity in the past couple of years - the convenience of taking out your phone, a quick tap and funds are transferred just like that is making a standard purse or wallet quickly redundant. In the U.S alone of the 232 million smartphones in use, 16.5% of those were used to make a contactless payment (2016, Juniper Research). Equally impressive is the fact that mobile wallets are expected to surpass use of both credit and debit cards by 2020 (WorldPay).

eCommerce payments become an instantly smoother process with the app based wallets, as there is no need for consumers to pause and enter bank details, all they have to do is tap and go. Quick and secure, 74% of the UK population have taken to this new payment system and are frequently using a mobile device to make payments and manage their finances. This will soon become less of a trend and more integrated with society, so it's worth ensuring that your online store is compatible with these digital wallets.

Loyalty Apps

Open anyone’s wallet and you’re near guaranteed to find some kind of loyalty card, whether it’s one that gathers points or requires stamps to get a free perk, buying customer loyalty with promise of additional benefits has been a keen marketing device for years. So it’s no real surprise that they’d made the move to become app based.

57% of marketers have put plans in place to increase spending in customer loyalty programs this year (CrowdTwist) and the way that many are doing this is once more through a mobile medium. A telling 73% of consumers believe that loyalty programs should be a way for brands to show gratefulness to their customers.

By having that kind of commitment ready and available in an app, consumers will be able to benefit wherever they are, without the need for a physical card to carry. According to SurveyMonkey, 66% of companies that saw a decrease in customer loyalty over the past year didn’t have a mobile app. It seems that rewarding buyers for their commitment has found it’s place in the app world and no doubt it will continue to play a pivotal role in CX (customer experience) in the eCommerce landscape.

Personalisation & Customisation

As the demand for product increases, consumers have displayed a desire for a more personalised buying experience, but also a demand for customisable goods.

A personalised online experience ensures that a consumer's journey through an eCommerce store would be tailored to their tastes, suggesting products specifically for them, personalised discounts and remembering past clicks and behaviours to predict what they’re searching for. According to research by Monetate, Marketers see an average increase of 20% in conversions when a personalised experience is utilised.

A static, unchanging web journey that is difficult to navigate, time consuming and doesn’t carry a consumer has proved undesirable - 74% of customers become frustrated when website content appears on their screens that has nothing to do with their interests.

Similarly, consumers have indicated an increased desire for products that are customisable, allowing them control how their end purchase will look. More than 35% of online consumers have expressed interest in the ability to customise product features or buying build-to-order purchases that they can alter to their own specifications (Forrester), despite the inflated price of such luxury.

2017 trends

Same Day Delivery

Same day delivery is certainly not a new demand; customers love the idea of receiving their goods within hours of purchase and by offering it, eCommerce businesses will cater to the desire for speedy delivery. 19% of buyers surveyed by Hitwise say that same-day delivery is important and Coldwell Banker Commercial suggest that 53% of (US) customers are more likely to make an online purchase if a business offers the option of same day delivery.

Whilst it’s a difficult thing to guarantee, with the correct couriers, offering your customers same day delivery (even at a higher price) will please them and fulfill their demands. An excellent reputation for speedy delivery will boost your business and if you provide a brilliant buying journey and customer experience, customers will come flocking to you - in theory. But there is evidence to back it up, 72% of customers say they would spend more if they could be sure their order would be delivered the same day and 62% would be willing to pay premium for the service.

Closing Thoughts

Implementing or even considering many of these trends could mean a boost in your business, a stronger relationship with your customers and better conversions. Offering something such as same day shipment gives consumers what they want and allows them to trust that your brand will deliver.

Considering their personal preferences will make their online experience smoother and simpler, as well as increasing your chances of sales. Mobile payments and loyalty apps give customers peace of mind and make them feel like you’re catering to their needs and rewarding them for their custom.

Whatever you choose to do, be aware of the current trends, as your competitors surely will do to.

July 28th, 2017 by Hannah Newman

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