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Larisa Bedgood
Larisa Bedgood 31 August 2016

Digital Retail And eCommerce Marketing Trends That Are Changing The Game In 2016 and Beyond

eCommerce trends this year and beyond should be focused on the customer. Retailers must implement strategies to create personalized and positive customer experiences to drive more shoppers to their eCommerce sites and to encourage them to keep coming back.

Ecommerce and digital retail continues to skyrocket to new levels. New technologies and capabilities are enabling more convenient ways to shop online. Consumers are connected to mobile and online channels more so than ever before, making online shopping a more appealing choice for many. And more data and digital channels means more ways for retailers to reach out to consumers with personalized messaging and enjoyable experiences.

According to the findings of Forrester Research, Inc., “Online shoppers in the United States will spend $327 billion in 2016, up 45% from $226 billion this year and 62% from $202 billion in 2011.” 

Neil Patel of KISSmetrics also shared some eye-opening statistics about ecommerce: “78% of mobile searches for local business information result in a purchase. One of the most eye-popping statistics from mobile studies is the high percentage of mobile searchers who convert.”

Customers spend more time shopping on mobile devices than desktops (Conversion Fanatics).

  • 44% of retail Internet minutes are spent on mobile phones
  • 11% of retail Internet minutes are spent on tablets

That comprises more than half of all time spent shopping online!

How Much Are Your Returning Online Customers Worth?

Investing in customer retention can drive huge returns for ecommerce sites. Studies indicate that returning customers don’t skimp on spending when it comes to their favorite online sites. According to the “The State of eCommerce: Yotpo Benchmark Report”,

  • 14.77% of all shoppers are returning customers
  • Returning shoppers spend nearly 3x more than one-time shoppers and account for 33.3% of the overall $ spent

ecommerce consumer statistics 2016

The study also revealed some other impressive statistics:

  • Return customers spent $356M during 2015
  • On average only 15% of customers are repeat customers, yet these customers account for 1/3 of the total spend
  • 41 days is the average length of time between a returning shopper’s purchases

Personalize the Online Shopping Experience

Personalization and great customer experiences are key to both retaining current customers and attracting new shoppers to your site. A 2014 Infosys survey reported that 78% of consumers said they’d be more likely to purchase from a retailer again if they provided offers targeted to their interests, wants or needs. A majority of customers (86%) said they’d be willing to pay up to 25% more for a better experience. In a 2012 Accenture study, 64% of respondents said it is more important that companies provide relevant offers, as opposed to 36% who said companies should stop tracking their online activity. 

ecommerce mobile experience

Personalization drives results. Based on sales data from MyBuys' database of over 250 million shoppers, customer-centric marketing delivers a 25% increase in total online sales and a 300% improvement in customer lifetime value.

According to a recent study by Listrak and Harris Poll, 80% of Americans want to receive product recommendations through email based on previous purchases. Likewise, 71% of consumers value messages featuring items based on their online browsing behaviors.

Consumer data must be analyzed to create highly targeted product recommendation offers. Analyze consumer data such as demographics, lifestyle, products purchased by category and type, frequency of purchase, and purchase value. Recommendations based on any set of these variables help retailers personalize the online shopping experience and help consumers discover new products or services.

Discounts may increase your online sales, but personalized discounts take this to a new level. For example, offer cart abandonment incentives to high-value customers as a way to increase their lifetime value (LTV). Or by using behavioral data, retailers can identify which customers may be most interested in certain offers.

Customer Reviews Boost Online Sales

For today’s informed consumer, who conducts their own research before making a purchase, reviews are often the tipping point of making a decision in cases where there’s little perceived product differentiation. Dimensional Research found that 90% of respondents who recall reading online reviews were influenced by the reviews in their buying decision; conversely 86% were deterred by negative online reviews. And the practice of checking reviews before making a purchase is becoming more and more common. A recent study by BazzarVoice found that 54% of e-commerce shoppers read reviews before making a purchase.

 

Online Retail Reviews Statistics

Source: BazaarVoice “The ROBO Economy”

 

According to PowerReviews, 70% of mobile shoppers are more likely to purchase a product if the retailer’s mobile site or app offers reviews. Offering incentives such as loyalty points, discounts on future purchases, and complimentary items are commonplace in garnering reviews. It’s also important to make leaving a review as easy as possible. Make sure your review links are clearly posted on your website, and that whatever type of form or input method you’re using is optimized for mobile devices. Follow up emails are another good way to encourage reviews, as the more time that passes after a transaction the chances of a consumer leaving a review decreases.

Use Interactive and Engaging Content on your eCommerce Site

In 2016, you can expect to see more companies transforming their ecommerce sites into “rich lifestyle-oriented destinations” by combining commerce with content to keep consumers coming back. Video is a great way to deliver high-quality content, benefitting ecommerce sites by leading to higher average orders and driving conversions.   Product videos in particular can increase conversions by providing shoppers with as much information as possible about the products you offer. In fact, according to Marketing Sherpa, website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video.

Website visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video.

Content also helps build stronger brand relationships. Interesting content is one of the top 3 reasons people follow brands on social media, and 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company through articles and other content versus ads. While many of your ecommerce competitors may also be using content, content marketing is continually evolving. Get creative and focus on relevant content for your audience and post the content in relevant places.  Use plenty of pictures, post to Instagram, run contests and promotions on Facebook, post customer stories and pictures, or use how-to videos. Content will ultimately drive more traffic to your site, generate more brand awareness, and encourage loyal brand followers.

Ultimately eCommerce trends in this year and beyond should be focused on the customer. Retailers must implement strategies to create personalized and positive customer experiences to drive more shoppers to their eCommerce sites and to encourage them to keep coming back.

Download our Retail Marketing Strategy Guide for more best practices, tips, strategies and trends retailers are implementing to acquire today's modern shopper.

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