From mobile sales to multi-vendor checkouts, trends in the ecommerce world come around with a furry and either shake the industry to its core or leave without making much of a mark.
Remember QR codes? Well, they’re still around, but they don’t get as much use as they were expected to upon their introduction. Every online business owner likes a solid list of trends to look forward to, but this one is a little different, since it focuses on a few handpicked trends that affect both sellers and consumers.
Looking at these trends is essential to improve your online business, since the companies that embrace, or at least test these trends are more likely to improve profits. Heck, even small retailers can do big business online if they seek out affordable and effective ways to capitalize on recent trends.
When building, or improving, your online shop, it behooves you to take these trends and use them to make decisions. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most stunning, and interesting trends that affect ecommerce sellers and consumers.
Companies are Cutting Down Content Marketing to the Most Effective Platforms
It’s a headache for all business owners: The fact that so many content marketing platforms are out there. From Facebook to Snapchat, blogs to YouTube, companies usually fall into one of two categories with how they utilize content marketing platforms: They either get burned out and never share content, or they are putting tons of effort into dozens of platforms.
A burgeoning trend is focused on getting rid of this desire to be on every platform at once. It’s becoming more common for an online business to test and discover which platform is ideal for distributing content. For example, a women’s clothing store may find that most people like seeing blog posts, Instagram posts and Pinterest Pins. If the company focuses on one or two, or even all three, they are more likely to target real customers and to cut down on resources needed to cover 10 platforms.
Customers Enjoy Native Ads and Promotional Content
Native content is becoming more prevalent, since people enjoy stories and experiences. Posting simple ads telling people about your new products is rather old fashioned, and consumers are letting companies known about it by completely blocking out the ads.
Promotional content is seeing a huge surge, with companies partnering up with writers who can develop reviews or blog posts to convince customers that they should buy. Many customers can spot the promotional content or native ads, but they are beginning to appreciate the entertaining and creative nature of these ads.
Online Shopping is Constant, Yet Online Buying is Not
Emarketer reports that a 2014 survey showed that 78% of respondents said they often partook in “webrooming,” before going to a brick and mortar store to purchase. This is a form of showrooming, since it’s convenient to conduct research and compare prices online.
Analysts assume that this is such a common trend because customers often want to touch and examine the products via online shops before buying. Obviously this trend could go the opposite way, with consumers looking at items in-store, then buying online for the cheaper prices, but surveys show that it’s rather common to actually make the purchase in-store.
Why is this the case? Because the internet is filled with information for comparisons, so even though the stores have a lack of information, it has been serving some of them quite well.
Wearable Tech Brings Purchasing Closer to the Body
Along with seeing companies experimenting with augmented reality, wearable technology is right on our doorstep, with digital watches, eyewear and more. Not only does this open up a whole new product category for online stores to take advantage of, but it indicates the transformation of the mobile revolution, calling for increased personalization, since the devices are almost becoming a part of the body.
Contextual Recommendations for the Ultimate Personalization
Google Now is the best example of contextual recommendations, honing in on search recommendations for individual users, based on past and present habits, along with the situation the person is in at the moment.
As contextual recommendations expand, it’s important for online stores to use all relevant options in search ads, regardless of whether or not those results are organic or paid.
People Will Buy on Social Networks
In the recent past, social media has served as a hub for interacting with customers, marketing products and even to bring in feedback from followers for making future business decisions. However, with the buy buttons you can soon implement on both Twitter and Facebook, and solutions like Like2Buy, selling is fast becoming part of the social experience.
It Will be Commonplace for Ecommerce Shops to Create Offline Stores
With companies like Birchbox setting brick and mortar shops, it’s becoming increasingly commonplace for online stores to expand into offline shops. Why is this the case? A large majority of all purchases are still made in offline stores, and these online companies are looking to start offering in-store pickups, in-store returns, same day deliveries and other ways to stand out from the crowd and appease customers. This is starting to validate the need for physical stores, and it’s pushing other online companies to join in on the trend.
Returns Will Become More Important to Bringing Back Customers
Free returns is one of the top 10 reasons people choose to buy from an online store, making it essential to start considering this in your return policy. It’s also worth mentioning that people are fond of the ability to return items to a store. Although free shipping still leads the way, along with discounted items and no sales tax, it won’t be long until people get used to these and seek out better return options.
Over to You…
Now that you’ve had a look at some of the upcoming trends in the world of ecommerce, let us know how you plan to take this information to better your own online business. Share your thoughts in the comments section below, and explain which of these trends you are most excited for.
Author bio: Catalin Zorzini is the founder of Ecommerce Platforms, a daily blog with tips for ecommerce entrepreneurs.
Feature image curtsey of Christopher Sybico