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The Future of Ecommerce in 2017

Future of Ecommerce

Ecommerce is largely about management and good decision-making. If you run a store online, you’ve already taken a leap of faith to deviate from the traditional store. However, the online market changes at a fast pace, so you must always be on your toes and keep upgrading.

In order to sustain, every company is doing the most it can to attract more visitors and turn them into paying customers. In 2017, there are many possibilities for those involved in an ecommerce business, and to stay on top, every company will try to stand out of the crowd.

The upward trend of ecommerce will continue this year, but with some improvements in previous issues related to shipping, costs and delivery times. A lot of new additions will be made to websites, and bounce rates should be lowered by any means. Out of all these situations, how will an ecommerce retailer choose what’s best for their customers? The answer lies in research. It will help guide the path to making the best decisions for the online store.

A personalized experience

Do you know that more than half of the population in the U.S. prefers to shop online rather than go to a store? The younger lot, usually in their 20s and 30s, will completely choose online shopping over traditional stores.

This makes up 67 percent of the shoppers in the U.S. Although these numbers don’t provide enough evidence to support the shift to ecommerce, they do hint toward the growing trend and a market that will sustain it.

In 2017, your aim should be to serve the people who chose to shop from your store rather than shop elsewhere. The best way to cater to this audience is by personalizing their shopping experience.

Greater personalization will help your business, and efficient customer service will help close more deals. The Internet is a place where the audience is anonymous, but if you record the analytics of your websites, you can study their demographics and their likes to show them a version of your shop only they can see.

Customers will be attracted to a store that sends personalized newsletters and showcases items they like to buy. This practice has already been adopted by many retailers, which means that you should take it to the next level this year.

Efficient delivery

Believe it or not, Amazon is trying out delivery drones to speed up their delivery process. If Amazon is doing it, chances are that it will become the new norm in the near future. These drones will allow companies to deliver items in minutes, rather than days or weeks.

These drones, when sent out with a certain address, will land at the delivery location directly to deliver the packages. Major retailers will also try to practice this technique, and this does hint at some budget allowances for ecommerce companies.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

We have all heard about artificial intelligence. There’s a robot that can even assist in surgery. Rumors are that ecommerce websites will have to incorporate AI in their products and categories for a better customer experience.

We are all familiar with phone companions like Siri, Cortana and Alexa. They solve a lot of issues for us and we don’t have to waste time performing chores that they can solve in a jiffy. Consider the example of the personal shopping app Mona.

This app is based on an online shop and will try its best to find users for the products they are looking for. Often, during an online shopping experience, we wish there was someone who could guide us. Artificial intelligence seems to have understood this problem, and this year we may witness some major breakthroughs in ecommerce with the help of AI.

  • Chatbots

Apart from live chat options, which are widely used by many sites, chatbots will be making it big in the ecommerce market. Many users love chatbots simply because they make the shopping experience entertaining. Chatbots may also be able to work in unison with AI to help users find their way on a site. However, as an ecommerce retailer, chatbots will help you automate several mechanized tasks the same way Siri or Cortana sets an alarm for the morning.

Mobile optimization

The average online shopper (including you and me) prefers to shop directly from a smartphone rather than the nearest computer. If you are an ecommerce retailer, you should definitely make sure that the mobile checkout is working and up to date. Not only should you have a great app which functions smoothly, but the mobile browser version of your site should also be working well for those who don’t want to download the app.

Statistics show that 29.9 percent of the total ecommerce traffic in the U.S. is comprised of those who use their smartphones to browse a store. Although these figures are expected to rise this year, ecommerce retailers should make efforts to make every channel as smooth as the other.

Small screens and difficult checkouts are the biggest reasons behind cart abandonment in ecommerce. However, with phablets and other large-screen gadgets, it is expected that mobile optimization will have a key role in the advancement of ecommerce businesses.

More product ranges

According to eMarketer, electronic items are the most-viewed products on ecommerce websites in the U.S.

 eMarketer Graph

The graph below shows predictions by eMarketer for ecommerce through 2018. They are categorized by each sector.

 sales by product category

This graph predicts that each sector will grow at a steady rate with the development of ecommerce. However, it doesn’t take into account the new entries of products which can also make it big in business with proper execution.

Categories like food and beverage are the lowest, but still have a market of $790 billion. Soon enough, many companies will realize that and will jump in to grab a share of this market, thereby making food and beverages a hit in the coming years.

Better product photos:

Do you know that the first things to be sold online were books? Surely, there can be no confusion with selling a book online, since we all know how they look and feel. Everyone knows how to use a book. In today’s world, however, the working of a product is something that matters the most. From clothing to a mobile phone, if your product descriptions are non-existent, sales will be low.

In ecommerce, product images are a crucial part of the online sales process, since people cannot feel or use the product prior to purchase. Failure to post good product photos will definitely lead to a drop in sales, because the customer would like to buy from a site which leaves no doubts.

New technologies for visualization like virtual dressing rooms or virtual reality will be adopted and become ecommerce trends. Currently they are still too early for mass adoption. So for the next 2-3 years videos will be the best tool to solve that problem. It is well suited to explain complicated products in an entertaining way and consumers like to watch product videos.-Source

As soon as more complicated products are advertised online, ecommerce companies will start adopting better ways to show these products to the virtual world. The buying process will become easier when a customer can check the product before buying. Product videos and reviews are expected to be an important part of ecommerce sites in the future.

Efficient Marketing

Inbound marketing encompasses digital marketing techniques like content, SEO and social media to promote a business. Businesses that will make use of great content marketing strategies will surely see a greater ROI than those who don’t. Companies that incorporate content marketing in their overall marketing strategy are said to be saving $14 more than other companies.

Good content has the power to engage people and connect them with your brand. It matters more on ecommerce websites where people want trustworthiness and satisfaction. Sites which have a solid social media following have a better chance of staying in the limelight and getting more conversions. Today’s ecommerce will be more about your business story, so add that to your plan.

Fortune recently interviewed some CEOs, and they all agreed that their companies are “technology companies.” This is because every company is adopting cloud storage options and digitizing tasks. By using the right marketing channels and aligning your strategies, you, too, can grab a good section of the market.

Social networks as marketplaces

The past year saw a growth in social networks with business profiles. With Instagram, Facebook and Twitter offering business promotion options, it is predicted that selling will be much easier on social media in 2017.

“Buy” buttons have appeared on these sites, and they work as perfect calls-to-action for your business. Companies wish to shorten the buying process and make it happen in one window easily. Customers prefer platforms that make shopping easy. We have already discussed that difficult checkouts drive prospects away, so social media cannot only help engage customers, but also retain and convert part of the funnel.

Facebook Marketplace is making rounds on the internet and will expand in 2017. It’s a lot like Craigslist, but is also a social medium. It is more trustworthy because personal profiles are involved. This option is still in beta and only available in the U.S., U.K., New Zealand and Australia.

The best thing is that it can be home to 1.71 billion Facebook users who already trust the platform. There are some challenges like a lack of checkout and payment options, but the beta version will surely work on expanding it.

Pinterest is another big player in the ecommerce industry. Women love this platform, and that’s why Pinterest has come up with Buyable pins. With simple integration made with ecommerce retailers, Pinterest can include buying options and make buying on the spot easier. The user demographics aid them the most, because users belong to higher income levels. A seller can get orders for $50 minimum.

Instagram also announced shoppable posts recently, which means there is an advertised post on top of the feed at all times. When clicked, you can take further actions on this post to purchase a product or service. This feature is also in beta mode and only a few people can avail it. In coming months, this service is also expected to roll out globally.

The most important thing about social media selling is that people are already on these platforms daily. It will make a huge difference if these platforms become omni-channeled and provide buying options as well.

 

Last word

These are a few of the many predictions for this year in ecommerce. However, it is important to realize that the Internet is a dynamic place where trends can be made and broken in days. Ecommerce is an integral part of the economy and of a customer’s life, so make sure you are following the most relevant trends to cater to your customers. For more statistics and infographics, check out this article.

Moosa Hemani

Moosa is a seasoned online marketing professional with a strong interest in SEO, E-Commerce and what makes users flow from visitor to customer. Moosa is responsible for all content on the Awesome Commerce website.

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