eCommerce is a disrupting traditional retail. A staggering 16.8% of global purchases were made online in 2016 (Twenga) and that figure is set to rise significantly in the year.
eCommerce is expected to grow between 8% to 12% in 2017, whilst brick and mortar retail is expected to grow only 2.8%. This growth demands rapid change in the online landscape to provide the optimal customer experience traditionally expected from walking into a store. International borders are breaking down and with online purchases growing all over the globe eCommerce is set to be the dominant force in retail.
So as demand rises and technologies advance, what measures and strategies will eCommerce businesses need to adopt to keep up with their consumer market and cement their place as top online retailers? Here are our clients’ thoughts:
What consumers want
In order to become a leading online retailer in the constantly evolving world of eCommerce, online businesses will need to accommodate to an increasingly demanding market. Product popularity will continue to grow and specialism will become far harsher competition than it is now.
In order to meet the demands of picky consumers, prices will need to reflect the vast amount of similar products on offer. This would allow customers to have a greater range of choice but also find affordable goods.
Websites will need to be optimised for mobile devices for customer convenience (30% of all mobile shoppers abandon transactions on sites not optimised for mobiles and an eCommerce site that is not responsive is 76% likely to lose a customer compared to a mobile responsive one). For the vast volume of products for sale, new ways of advertising will also need to be tested.
Getting hands on
Pop-up shops are proving an excellent way of advertising as it gives customers a chance to interact with products, build knowledge and develop a relationship with the brand, leading to a loyal customer base.
Jazzing it up
Not only will there need to be a wider variety of products to pander to consumer expectation and demand, but also a level of customisation available when it comes to the buying process – up to 36% of consumers express a desire for personalised products or services (Deloitte). By allowing customers to pick different aspects, such as the colour of the shoelaces on a pair of trainers, it gives them satisfaction in their order and accommodates to their personal style.
Behind the scenes
Customers desire exceptional service and will expect the same curated experience and range that they have with a bricks and mortar store from their online retailer. With 49% of consumers still choosing to purchase from stores rather than over the web because they want immediate product satisfaction (RetailDive), there are high expectations in eCommerce today for accuracy and speed. Consumers expect:
- The product that they have ordered complete with any personalisations
- Their product to arrive at the address they have specified
- Their order to arrive within a certain amount of time, next day delivery doesn’t mean next week, and same day would be even better
- Any issues to be dealt with in a friendly, quick and courteous manner, just like a traditional retailer
In order to help cope with demand, the pick and pack process in some large businesses has become almost fully automated. This might be a completely viable option for larger companies but currently wouldn’t benefit smaller businesses due to the cost.
Through advancing warehouse technologies and software, it would become possible for all online businesses to minimise errors and increase productivity, in turn providing a customer experience. The accurate pick and pack of items occurring within minutes of customer purchase would also prove supreme efficiency and provide to the bricks and mortar customer experience.
Delivery from the skies
Everyone has heard the stories of online purchases being delivered straight to your doorstep by drones, but it’s a viable reality. The possibility of drone delivery from distribution centres all over the country would bring the options of same day delivery, even within the hour of purchase.
A survey by ReportLinker suggests that 47% of consumers have an interest in drone delivery and it would prove a cost-effective, green alternative to traditional delivery methods. There, however, will be the issue of squadrons of drones annoying local birds, and issues surrounding aerospace would need to be addressed in order for widespread drone deliver to ‘take off’ (excuse the pun).
An exceptional customer experience
The importance of providing exceptional customer service is not to be underestimated. By catering to each customer’s requirements of product and delivery, providing a personalised, positive experience will maximise the chance of customer retention. With 50% of global organisations planning to redirect their investments to customer experience innovations (Gartner), it’s a revolution in progress.
By reacting to any qualms or queries with solutions rather than more questions, and building strong relationships with customers, companies can reduce return rates and boost reviews. According to a study by Walker, 86% of customers would pay for a better experience and each development made in eCommerce in the coming years will need to build that ultimate customer experience or risk failure.
The key to success
Ultimately, the future of eCommerce is bright. Many businesses still focus on traditional shopping methods, but even these are starting to wake up and invest in online to take advantage of the growing market. Some consumers aren’t quite ready to transfer exclusively to the eCommerce retail experience, but with over 70% of the UK population now buying online (Mintel), it looks to be an unstoppable trend.
A third of all online purchases are made on a smartphone and the convenience and endurance of purchasing online is undeniable. If all the right components are in place: excellent product, exceptional logistics, delivery and unrivalled customer experience, then the key to success remains firmly in the eCommerce court.
If you would like to learn more, why not get in contact with our consultancy team, who will be more than happy to share with you how fulfilment is shaping the future of eCommerce?