These are exciting times for anyone belonging to the eCommerce industry. With virtually all the companies and associated industries making a beeline to make their presence felt on the web, there is a sort of boom in the eCommerce sector. There is a rapid proliferation of new apps, cutting edge technologies and almost daily something new is added to already vibrant sector of eCommerce and new jargons are also added to the ever expanding world of eCommerce. In such a scenario, it is evident that the analysts and experts associated with this field are always in the act of predicting the latest trends and opportunities, which if identified correctly, can give a decisive edge to the online retailers.
Hence, to make things a little bit easier for you, we have collected some of the most widely anticipated trends and predictions for the eCommerce industry in the year 2015. These areas are going to make a major impact on the way you do business online, and while some of these trends have been developing since quite few years, some of the trends have made a sudden appearance on the scene just lately. Here is a brief lowdown on all such trends.
1. Year 2015 may be the Center Stage for Mobile Technologies
Mobile payments and emerging mobile technologies will ensure sea change in the eCommerce arena. These trends were building up since last few years and this year, they are all set to change the entire setup of the eCommerce industry and mobile eCommerce is finally going to see the light of the day. Global m-commerce sales are picking up like anything and are predicted to reach $120 billion globally in 2015, as per the report by specialist market analysis firm Paul Budde Communication, and according to the forecasts by Google, in the UK, 50% of the retail related queries will be from a smartphone come this Christmas.
With the explosive growth of the smartphone industry, ominchannels, multi-channels and screen swapping are all the in things for the mobile industry this year. In order to take the advantage of the mobile hot trend, advertisers and e commerce retailers have to ensure that they have responsive websites and optimized ads, that are able to seamlessly display the website in a mobile, a tablet and a desktop as well, so that they can reach to all the segments of their customers. Even in a brick and mortar store kind of environment, mobiles are increasingly making their presence felt. As customers search for price points and product reviews, retailers are beginning to look forward to adopt m-commerce in order to advertise, promote offers and enhance the user experience (UX) of their customers when they are present in their shop. In addition to this, with the rising popularity of contactless payments, on the go transactions, mobile POS systems and the much awaited arrivals of Apple Pay in the UK, this looks like a trend that is going to gather further steam in the year 2015.
2. Social Media will Rule the Roost in 2015
If your eCommerce business doesn’t have a social media presence, then it is not going to be noticed by anyone, since it is strongly predicted that social media will consolidate its presence in the year 2015 in the arena of eCommerce and will have a strong impact on eCommerce sales as well. What has been crystal clear in all these years in the evolution of the social media is that being on social media is not just about brand building and promotion, it is about making that personal connection with the users and customers, where engagement and personally connecting with your target audience is the name of the game. In such a scenario, storytelling and one on one interaction with the target audience assume prominence.
Hence, things to look out for in a social media marketing campaigns should be the fact that such promotions are able to create a buzz amongst the target audience and people in general. Best ROI comes from the word of the mouth advertisement and users naturally sharing and talking about a particular brand. Ultimately, people ape each other and buy after getting influenced from each other, so eCommerce social media campaigns should be targeted at promoting customer interaction, suggestions and recommendations.
Utilizing flash sales through platforms like Instagram and Snapchat is a given and will still play an important role, but it is expected that this year the scales are also tilting in the favor of review sites like Trustpilot, which lay greater emphasis on what other customers are saying and their reviews about a particular product. In one study, it is concluded that 62% of people are more likely to buy from a company after seeing a positive review from other users, and conversion rates are on the up when there are ample reviews and recommendations from other customers on any eCommerce website.
However, you must not forget that all the emphasis on the social media is good, and that ultimately people buy from people, but surely the customer service you deliver in store is also important. How you make the customer feel in person and how much you are able to satisfy your customer offline as well is also going to play an important role in the expansion of your business. So in the era of the social media onslaught, don’t forget also to enhance the offline experience of your customers.
3. Customization is in
In this era of social media, one should not forget that there is a huge potential for customization, and paid social should also continue to play a vital part of eCommerce marketing plans. Due to the availability of a huge amount of data on prospective and current customers, now eCommerce retailers can target exactly who they want. Market segmentation is expected to on the rise, with focus on targeting the niche audiences. With the big data technologies doing the rounds, mass customization based on personal preferences could become the common place in the eCommerce industry. In such segments, online retailers will target customers based on upselling and product suggestions, cart abandonment marketing and personalized nurturing.
However, one should not forget that data acquisition and privacy issues are still sensitive issues. While the Government committees in their public reports are increasingly calling on the social media websites to be more transparent about their terms and conditions, there is likely to be many new developments on this front in the coming twelve months of the year 2015.
4. Delivery Times will Shrink Further
Quicker delivery times have become the norm rather than the exception in the eCommerce industry and increasingly the waiting times after which the customers have delivered the order are shrinking. Gone are the days of waiting weeks and weeks for a product to be delivered as the instant access to goods and services becomes the new industry benchmark. Hence, the importance of speedy delivery will continue to grow for eCommerce retails in 2015. The success of Amazon Prime demonstrates this fact amply, and there are other retailers that offer click and collect services or home store pickups, so that delivery times can shrink further. In all this clamor for more delivery speed, it is self-evident that from 2015, customers would not have to pay anything for standard delivery, and expedited shipping is not a luxury it used to be before. This has also become a norm, since there is increasing competition among online retailers and a quick turnaround time helps them to better compete with their rivals. In this context, the brick and mortar stores still hold the advantage since they have the luxury of offering the instant gratification to the shoppers, where they shop, pay and instantly receive the product in their hands, and hence would be hard to replace solely by online retailers.
5. 2015 is the Year for Wearable Tech
With Google glass and Apple’s iWatch setting the trend, the sector of wearable tech is going to gather steam in the year 2015. In addition to this, there are a number of other smartwatch, smart wristband and even smart clothes retailers with products already in the market or in the final stages of production. Gartner, the technology research firm predicts that the global market for these type of products will reach about £3.2 billion by 2016. With the scene of wearable tech gaining such traction, it is possible that it can add a new dimension to how we all interact with shops and retailers through this technology and how eCommerce operates?
While answers to such an important question is not clear now, and it is yet to unbundle how this new technology will impact the eCommerce scene. However, this is likely to add a channel or the advertisers to make use of and enhance the shopping experience of their customers, just the way smart phones did. Due to the wearable technology, the online information becomes very easily accessible to the potential customers, and imagine a scenario where a potential customer walks past your shop and his wearable watch beeps a limited discount you are offering for a limited amount of time that day, and the customer is tempted to try you out. How the wearable technology will shape up keeping in view the needs of eCommerce retailers remains to be seen since it is an upcoming technology but its evolution is surely going to bring some more excitement to an already hot scene of exploding growth in the eCommerce sector.
These are the broad trends that are likely to dominate in the eCommerce retail arena in the year 2015. It is a fact that consumers today have become more knowledgeable, and they increasingly know what the right price for any commodity or service is and know where to find the best deals with increasingly quicker delivery times. Hence, in today’s eCommerce marketplace, speed, price and availability matter more than customer loyalty, which has become increasingly hard to foster.