What do you think is going to happen with the eCommerce industry in 2017?
If you sell products online, or plan to start doing so in the year ahead, it’s important to stay at the forefront of the industry so you can always be a step ahead of your competition.
To help you out I’ve put together a list of 10 groundbreaking eCommerce trends that you should be aware of.
Let’s dive in…
1. Omni and multi-channel shopping
50% of customers are expected to buy online and pick up their packages from in-stores.
This statistic was found in a study by Accenture titled “Consumer Desires Vs. Retailer Capabilities: Minding the Omni-Channel Commerce Gap”.
Multi-channel shopping is on the rise and will evolve into a full-fledged shopping practice in 2017. Omni-channel shopping experiences will become a brand differentiator for e-retailers.
Retailers who are equipped to deliver multi-channel or omni-channel experiences for their customers will be able to boost their sales volumes significantly.
Omni-channel selling will also facilitate a 360-degree view of customer preferences pertaining to most purchased products, delivery preferences, shopping patterns, and more.
2. Interactive shopping
Each customer has his or her own unique wants and preferences. Even the search phrases used differ from customer to customer. Hence, 2017 can be marked to be the beginning of an era where interactive shopping that is personalized to customer preferences will begin.
Customer behaviour will be closely observed and adapted to, with the help of real-time analytics and artificial intelligence programs. A visual example of artificial intelligence enabled interactive shopping is below:
3. Chatbots and personalized service
Chatbots will grow in number to plug the void of personalized service in online retail. Artificial Intelligence enabled chatbots or an actual sales personnel connected online will render online shoppers with a personalized shopping experience.
Chatbots will also work their charm as efficient post-sales support teams who can tackle any customer queries related to the product or its usage.
4. Big data and analytics
Big data is a hot trend trend across multiple industries. It will have far-reaching impact in the eCommerce sector where it will help:
- Create personalized product portfolios for customers based on historical shopping information
- Exclusively tailor-made shopping experiences based on heat-mapping
- Targeted pricing offers and discounts to boost conversion rates
- Accurate online advertising based on online customer demographics
On the flip side, real-time analytics will be largely deployed in physical stores too. Key metrics and customer activities, like most visited bays, best-selling products, average billing time, etc. will be used to mine data patterns. Such data patterns can be used to remodel the in-store experience for more sales.
5. More mobile traffic
According to Cisco, by 2020, at least 80% of mobile data traffic will originate from mobile devices.
Armed with smartphones, users will make the most of online shopping from anywhere, at anytime shopping facility. Combined with the mushrooming growth of digital wallets, a mobile led shopping spree is definitely on the cards from 2017 onwards.
6. Uber-ization of deliveries
40% of online shoppers will abandon shopping carts if same day delivery is not provided.
At least half of the American population is relying on eCommerce for last minute gift purchases. At present there are only a handful of on-demand delivery services fuelling more order volumes for eCommerce stores.
In 2017, on-demand delivery will become a norm in the eCommerce industry. Food & groceries, home services, logistics, etc. are some of the industries where on-demand delivery will surge in presence.
On-demand delivery will blur the difference between online and offline shopping. In fact, Amazon and a handful other global e-retailers are in the works of experimenting with on-demand delivery with the help of drones, supply chain enabled delivery models (Amazon Prime) and neighborhood pickup points for on-demand deliveries.
7. Goodbye to wallets
According to McKinsey, by 2020 at least 9% of consumer spending will be through digital wallets or mobile payments. ~ McKinsey on Payment report October 2015
Wallet and cash payments will slowly fade into oblivion as digital wallets will gain prominence. Digital wallet apps like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal, CurrentC, etc. will be adopted in large scale across all industries, most importantly in the eCommerce industry.
eCommerce stores already have a practice for providing incentives, promo codes and offers for digital payments made by customers. This will further fuel the adoption of wallet-free payment modes.
8. Quicker checkouts
21% of customers abandon carts if they find the payment process to be long or demanding too many details.
Even during 2016, a large number of online stores were seen embracing one page or one step checkouts for payment processing.
With eCommerce platforms like Magento streamlining checkout processes with quicker payments, it will be a better period for customers for hassle-free shopping.
9. Emphasis on security
2016 was not a great year for cyber security. Symantec estimates at least three quarters of websites to harbor security inadequacies. Cyber attacks involving major accounts like Mark Zuckerberg, LinkedIn, Yahoo also has left a safety concern over online shopping.
eCommerce websites will have to embrace HTTPS encryption to restore customer confidence in online shopping. SSL certificates that have extended validation is what stores will have to opt for to secure connections from hacking attempts.
10. Simpler user experience
According to Formismo, the simpler the checkout process the better the conversion rates will be. A simpler UX that does not demand too much out of customers will definitely help save at least 12% of cart abandonments.
A simple and clutter free UX for online stores will become mainstream in 2017. Simple product searches, simple payment processes and simple returns policies, everything will be made simple.
Well, 2017 is kicking into gear and you have everything you need to know about how the eCommerce industry is shaping up.
Do you think there is anything more to add to the list of trends to follow in 2017? Let us know.
Guest Author: Kunjal Panchal is a Digital Strategist, having 5+ years of experience in the field of Internet Marketing. She is a social media geek, a complete foodie and enjoys trying varied cuisines. A perfect day for her consists of reading her favorite author with a hot cuppa coffee. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.