During the last decade we’ve witnessed a dynamic change in both global and local marketplaces happening much faster than ever before. This means that developing an efficient business strategy has become an increasingly difficult task for executives. Still, those who are seriously looking for guidelines to develop a great e-commerce strategy are bound to uncover important research studies, predictions and figures – here are 6 key insights into e-commerce trends for 2015-2016.
1. Forth quarter is still the winner
Forth quarter of the year is a busy holiday season and the most important period in e-commerce. In 2011, 15% of all holiday sales came from e-commerce and this trend is likely to stay with us as consumers become more comfortable with shopping online and choose to buy their holiday gifts right from their homes.
What does it mean for you? You should be ready for the holiday season way before your competitors – prepare some special deals and temporary promotions. A research study from Forrester unveiled that 70% of shoppers who made a purchase during the fourth quarter did so primarily due to encountering special prices. (http://www.forrester.com/US+Online+Retail+Forecast+2011+To+2016/fulltext/-/E-RES60672?docid=60672)
When setting up your promotions, make sure to extend them beyond specific holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Surprising your audience with small promotions before will help you to hold their attention and then seriously profit from it once the holiday season begins.
2. Existing online shoppers will generate more sales
The Forrester study also demonstrated that the growing number of new online shoppers brings significant increases in the sector, bu it’s the existing online shoppers that will in the near future be able to make a real difference to your sales rate.
Online retailers will be focusing more on the general of experience on their website and, consulting UX experts, will remove those elements that interrupt existing and experienced shoppers from finalizing their purchases.
In order to make sure experienced online shoppers make a purchase at your e-store, you should research your target audience and define their demographic data, locations, age, habits, preferences and requirements. Equipped with this knowledge, you’ll be able to transform traffic into actual sales.
3. Online sales will generally increase
The research study from Forrester, entitled ‘U.S. Online Retail Forecast, 2011-2016’, makes one clear prediction – the revenues from online sales will continue to grow. Starting from 7% of overall retail sales in 2011, by 2016 this figure will rise to 9%. (http://www.forrester.com/US+Online+Retail+Forecast+2011+To+2016/fulltext/-/E-RES60672?docid=60672)
Doesn’t sound that impressive? Consider this – the average number of annual online spending per person will increase from $1,207 (noted in 2011) to $1,738 in 2016. This is some significant growth!
This means that you’ll know for certain that the number of consumers choosing online retailers will increase. The knowledge should push you to do everything you can to understand your target audience – with special focus on their habits and preferences that determines their finalizing a purchase.
Knowledge about why consumers tend to abandon their shopping carts will also play an important role in your research – it will help you to formulate strategies for recapturing those customers, boost the conversion rate of your website and consequently increase the average order value.
4. Mobile is on the rise
Just like in any other sector that deals with technologies, online shopping will also focus on mobile – perhaps more than ever. A study by eMarketer suggests that between 2013 and 2017, mobile market penetration will grow from 61.1% to 69.4%. Just think about it – last year, there were 1.75 billion smartphones being used all over the world. (http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Smartphone-Users-Worldwide-Will-Total-175-Billion-2014/1010536)
As an online retailer, you must think it’s crazy to ignore such a significant trend – but many people do. The main reason for neglecting mobile shopping experiences is the fact that consumers like to browse through e-stores on the go, but most often they still switch to desktop computers or laptops in order to finalize their purchase.
Still, 2016 will be the last call for all those of you who underestimated mobile platforms for generating sales. Even today, you should make sure that your website is optimized for various screen resolutions and devices. Mobile optimization is a simple step towards the future – m-commerce is predicted to quickly gain stem in the years to come.
5. Online loyalty programs will continue to be important
When considering online loyalty programs, we see numbers that aren’t this high, but we must remember that there’s nothing more valuable for online retailers than consumer loyalty itself. In 2010, around 9% of online shoppers subscribed to loyalty program – a year later this figure grew to 12%!
Loyalty programs actually offer a lot of potential – you can reward your loyal customers with special promotions and unique sales opportunities.
Loyalty programs are also a great means of building brand awareness. By reaching out to consumers through newsletters, promotion messages or even on social media, you’ll be on your way to create a strong online community around your brand.
6. Personalized shopping experiences
A research study from yStats (http://www.ystats.com/) about the main trends in B2C e-commerce market in the near future unveiled an important fact – that one of the crucial factors in increasing sales will be retailers’ willingness to offer a personalized experience on their website.
By customizing your services and integrating your online channels to any device, you’ll provide an improved experience to your audience. Your job is to meet their retirements and preferences, so it’s in your best interest that you provide relevant content generated on the basis of previous searches.
Every step of the shopping experience should more personalized and focused on your target audience. Once you decide to follow this personalization trend, you’ll never risk consumers choosing a different product provider
The Forrester research study mentioned before claims that by 2016, consumers will spend a smashing sum of $327 billion per year on online shopping! This figure shows that the best years for e-commerce are ahead of us. Make sure to prepare well for the future – higher revenues form online sales mean more competition than ever!
The article was contributed by Weronika Lass of DATA Lab