Five Trends that Can Change the Face of eCommerce
The business of eCommerce has being continuously growing since the time it made its first appearance on the scene. In 2012, global eCommerce revenue topped $1 Trillion, which is not just a massive figure, it actually is a gigantic one by any stretch of the imagination. The fact is that the eCommerce industry is witnessing huge growth and is delivering immense value to its stakeholders. There is also no doubt this growth is unstoppable and the industry will keep delivering solid returns in the future as well.
Every year, there are a few eCommerce trends that give us an inkling of where this industry is headed and also tell us how the potential of this domain needs to be profitably leveraged. So, let’s take a look at some of the trends that look like they will play a huge role in powering the growth of eCommerce in 2014:
1. Mobile Commerce Will Come into its Own:
2013 was the year Responsive Web Design (RWD) came into its own, with businesses focusing on ensuring the responsiveness of their website design. That’s because more and more people have begun using the mobile web to access websites from their smartphones and/or tablets. This trend will continue in 2013 and will play a huge role in shaping eCommerce. Mobile enabled eCommerce will get wings in 2014 when more shoppers will begin purchasing products and/or services through their mobile phones. In fact we saw an indication of where mobile sales were headed in 2014 on Cyber Monday when mobile sales were 17% more than total online sales. These figures tell you that we will experience a mobile commerce revolution in 2014.
2. Internet Marketing Focused on Improving Credibility:
Increased competition means people have a wider choice in their hands and will only pick an eCommerce site, if they’re really sure about its reputation and credibility. This is why rather than focusing on improved rank on SERPs, internet marketing for eCommerce sites will veer more in the direction of enhancing the reputation and credibility of these sites. The focus will be on guest posting, social media marketing and ensuring that your eCommerce site earns links from relevant high quality sites. This is something that had already begun happening this year, but in 2014 webmasters will be more credibility focused than ever before.
3. eCommerce players will rely on Big Data:
More and more eCommerce businesses will rely on big data to improve the shopping experience of their customers. Big data is essentially a collection of structured and unstructured data that eCommerce businesses glean from various sources. For e.g. Facebook Likes, Tweets and all the interactions happening on social media can be called a part of unstructured Big Data. This data will increasingly be used by eCommerce businesses to offer a more personalize shopping experience to improve customer loyalty. Something else Big Data can be leveraged for is offering dynamic pricing to customers, meaning understanding customer actions to find out the right product price that can be offered to them. What it also helps do is improve customer service, which helps your business get the competitive edge.
4. Better UX:
Everything is about the user experience these days. If your site is unable to offer a satisfactory UX, there is a good chance it will be ignored. But, the problem here is the contours of a good UX have changed, because just about every eCommerce site, is offering its customers a satisfying shopping experience. In 2014, the focus will be on minimizing the time taken to shop for products as much as possible. The mark of a good UX will be how quickly a shopper can purchase products and/or services on a site. Online shoppers are becoming more impatient as the years go by and want to shop for sites that make shopping an almost instantaneous process. Already we have eCommerce sites that have been designed keep minimalism in mind, and we will continue seeing the adoption of new designing trends and technologies for bettering the UX from the speed perspective.
5. Social Proof will Gain Significant Traction:
With social media playing a huge role in how people see the world, it is but natural that it will also play a role in determining whether a particular shopper will buy a product from your site or some other. This is where social proof enters the picture. By integrating your site with social media buttons, offering social logins and also offering products reviews and ratings on the products pages, you will be creating social proof of the product. A look at the various elements on a product page that offer social proof, allows shoppers to decide whether a product is worth buying or not.
The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same
This is the kind of truism that works for eCommerce as well. If you’re thinking eCommerce will dramatically change in 2014, then you’re mistaken. The foundations of a profitable eCommerce website will remain the same. The focus will be on getting the simple things right, for e.g. the quality of product images, the product description, and the navigation will have as much important in 2014 as they’ve had before. The idea will be to build up on this foundation to offer customers something they haven’t come across before. This will be the ‘X’ factor that will make more shoppers want to use your site and then it convert into shopping.
Trends come and they go; as a website owner/web designer it’s your job to ensure you stick to only those trends that deliver long term value. Also, each trend must be duly vetted on the usability scale. If you think a particular trend needs to be followed, you’ll need to make an informed decision regarding the same. This means you need to understand the profitability it will generate for your site. Just incorporating a trend will never be enough. In order to maximize its use, you must know about its strengths and weaknesses, and how you can optimize its use.
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