Okay. Let’s say you did your research diligently near the end of 2016, set your targets, and decided 2017 was going to be an epic year of powered-up e-commerce strategy.
But when January rolled around, those giant resolutions stared you down and you got, well, stuck. Sound a little too familiar?
No more cold feet, no more slacking — let’s get you back on track! We’re joining e-commerce industry experts and trend-watchers here to call 2017 how we see it. Pull up a chair as we discuss the 3 key trends you can’t afford to ignore while building your e-commerce strategy this year.
Key trend #1: Mobile is booming. Here’s the catch.
You’ve heard the spiel. It’s safe to say that mobile, and more specifically mobile commerce, has been “the next big thing” for a few years. Fair enough, when you consider that mobile users now deliver more traffic to retailer websites than desktop users.
So what’s the catch? Mobile shoppers aren’t actually converting more. You heard me.
Shoppers now spend more time than ever researching potential buys on their smartphones or tablets, but stop just short of making a purchase, completing transactions instead on their desktops. Welcome to the era of omnichannel!
- Don’t skimp on mobile UX. Responsive and adaptive design is going to be the backbone of your success with mobile consumers. The smartphone is increasingly used as a “decision device” by shoppers, so help clinch that decision by adding rich media content (and keeping your loading times low).
- A smooth experience across channels is maybe even more crucial than fantastic mobile UX, if you consider that mobile users and desktop users aren’t necessarily different people. One study has found strong correlations between high percentages of mobile traffic and high overall website conversion rates.
Key trend #2: Content, content, content. Video content, that is.
According to this 2016 Forrester report, online users now spend more time on video than on any other digital activity. Dig down specifically into e-commerce, and more than half of consumers say they’ve used video to inform a recent purchase. Are your alarm bells ringing yet? You’re not the only one.
Digital marketing was a huge winner in 2016, with US retail industry advertisers alone spending close to $16 billion on digital advertising.
With so many new faces crowding the e-commerce space, and so many new marketing technology tools available to e-comm marketing teams, the competition is fiercer than ever. Everyone’s jumping on the content bandwagon, and rightly so.
But without video content, you’re cutting a huge portion of your customers out of the picture. So let them eat cake and give them what they want: more video! Spoiler alert: More video is good for you, too! We’re on a mission to make it easy for you to see which of your products are missing video content, so you can make the most out of the video opportunities on your shop.
- Don’t lose the content battle. Increase customer satisfaction and boost sales by integrating more video content into all steps of the customer journey. Inspire them with beautiful commercials, educate them with demo videos, and engage them with personalized product videos.
Key trend #3: Bring the offline, online.
E-commerce is huge, yes. And it’s snowballing, yes. We got those memos, and so did you. But while online retail sales continue to grow steadily year over year, they still only account for 8.4% percent of total retail sales. Why?
Because consumers are human. And humans are touchy-feely. We want to see, touch, and interact with products before making a purchase, because these sensory elements build trust. The tactile shopping experience that traditional brick-and-mortar retail offers is hard to beat, but thankfully technology is increasingly on your side.
Take your customers by the hand and pull them into an immersive online journey with:
- Crisp HD pictures
- 360-degree view
- Close-ups and detail shots
- Video (think commercials, product demos, unboxing videos, and reviews)
This should be your new normal: an abundant presence of rich media at every step of the consumer purchase journey.
The inability to interact with a product online can translate into uncertain buyers and abandoned carts, so for extra credit, try AR/VR on for size! One study estimates that by 2020, some 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality. New technologies are developing to allow consumers to fully explore product features through augmented/virtual reality, helping them imagine how a product would look like in their hands, or in their home.
- Scratch the consumer itch for a well-rounded experience of your product. A satisfying online shopping experience begins by igniting your customer’s imagination and is completed by winning their trust. So if you’re serious about CX, invest in high quality images, varied video content, and investigate the immersive technologies that address buyer hesitation.
Let’s wrap it up, class
Feeling more confident now? Hopefully these three key trends will help you not just wrap your head around where e-commerce is headed in 2017, but give you lift-off to reach your targets and grow your e-commerce business.
Remember, just think omnichannel, think video (we’re happy to help you with this one, by the way), and help your brick-and-mortar customers make the transition to e-commerce by offering them a more immersive shopping experience online.