It may seem that eCommerce has become the norm in today’s society, but there is still a long way to go before online shopping overtakes brick-and-mortar. It may surprise you, as it still surprises me, that eCommerce sales as a percent of global retail sales currently stand at 13%. While that percentage is quite low, it’s also important to remember how online shopping influences our in-store purchase behavior. Multi-channel buying is a common theme today as most consumers will utilize a variety of online and offline resources prior to making a purchase.
eCommerce has changed drastically over the past few years, and love them or not, Amazon is carving out the terms and ways in which people shop online. As we approach 2019, let’s take a look at a few things we can expect in the coming year.
Most industries are seeing mobile traffic grow significantly on their sites, wherein many instances, mobile traffic now exceeds desktop for retail-based sites. Ultimately, the purpose of an eCommerce site is to sell products, and when it comes to mobile conversion rates, they typically pale in comparison to desktop. Before jumping to the conclusion that your site doesn’t perform well on mobile, consider the impact of multi-device conversions. Consumers like to shop when it’s convenient for them, so beginning their buying journey on a mobile device, and completing checkout on a desktop is a common experience.
One of the biggest reasons why consumers tend to complete their purchase on desktop comes down to the ease of use. Entering your name, billing information, and shipping information on a mobile device can be a nuisance, so typing it out on desktop can really speed up that process. The adoption of mobile payment tools such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay on eCommerce sites will soon make checking out on a mobile device as simple as the press of a button. Could we even see cryptocurrencies as a payment method in the near future? Regardless, expect to see mobile conversion rates climb in the coming year.
Alright, there’s just no avoiding this. You’ve likely been hearing this for years now, but it remains more relevant than ever, that content is still the driving force behind an eCommerce site. We touched upon this already that in the end, the function of an eCommerce site is to sell products, so it seems counter-intuitive to think that writing content is going to accomplish that. But, content is so much more than writing a blog post, even though that does count. Content should be the hub of everything you do online as it touches every aspect of how your brand is perceived. The words you use matter.
To be fair, creating content is challenging. It can be a tedious task that takes you out of your rhythm. In order to create content consistently, you need a plan, and you need to make it part of your routine. They are just words after all.
Those words can be used in a variety of ways, and on a variety of platforms. Content is everything from the product descriptions you write, to the words you use in a ‘call to action’ button, the transcription of a video on your YouTube channel, the wording of an email campaign, as well as the ‘voice’ you present on social media. Creating a content strategy and sticking to content themes is key to building a brand. Doing your keyword research and drafting a plan will make creating new content less painful as you build an audience.
More and more, brands are leveraging content to push products. Expect to see more businesses creating ‘lifestyle brands’ and using content as the driving force behind creating brand awareness.
I don’t know where this ends, perhaps 3D printed products upon clicking ‘purchase’, but waiting more than 2 days on a delivery can now seem like an eternity. Fair or not, that’s just what consumers have come to expect. For an eCommerce business, the speed of delivery has a drastic impact on conversion rates and revenue. How many times have you hesitated to click ‘purchase’ as you stared at the expected delivery time?
Quick and consistent shipping times will result in more repeat customers and incremental revenue. If you don’t have a reliable shipping partner in place, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. With the advent of drone delivery services, expect shipping turnaround times to become an all-out competition in itself.
Another need for a reliable shipping partner is the rise of subscription-based services. If you’re providing goods that consumers expect on a certain day of the month, order fulfillment and delivery times will need to run flawlessly. The subscription eCommerce market is growing fast and is now a $2B+ market. We expect to see this model grow even more.
If you’re anything like me, I would rather watch a video about a product description than to actually read it myself. I understand that what may be perceived as laziness, but product videos, and videos in general make a brand appear more personal to me. It’s one thing to read all the features and benefits of a product, but to have someone holding the product and pointing out those very things goes a long way in getting me to understand the value of my purchase.
The common misconception around video is that you need to hire a videographer or production crew to shoot short clips for you. That is definitely not the case. Don’t get me wrong, having a professionally produced video series can go a long way, but simple self-made clips with your smartphone can resonate with consumers and lead to higher engagement. It’s becoming commonplace for big brands to have product videos as I mentioned above, but we’ll likely see more mid-tier eCommerce sites follow their lead.
Just as much as consumers want fast shipments, they also expect prompt customer service. And by customer service, that includes a proactive assistant that can answer any immediate questions during their shopping experience. Bots are becoming very effective at answering common questions and engaging with customers in the right moments. Expect to see an increase in ‘subtle’ interactions when shopping online. Now, if only bots could write all of your content for you.
eCommerce evolves every day, so this is by no means a comprehensive list of online shopping trends for the year ahead. Having said that, we commonly come back to questions surrounding the customer buying journey and how we can enhance it. In doing so, the topics mentioned here help support that objective, which means a better user experience for the customer, and more revenue for the retailer.
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