Digital trends B2C retailers must keep an eye on
The most disruptive eCommerce strategies and add-ons are already here, and the sooner you start to study and apply them, the greater the advantage you will have over your competition. Take a good note of the digital and tech trends that are gaining more and more importance for B2C eCommerce businesses and websites. Are you applying all of them?
The NRF (National Retail Federation) predicts a growth of between 8% and 12% for online retail in 2018, three times more than retail sales growth in physical stores. How can you miss this fantastic opportunity for your business?
Take good note of the digital and tech trends that are gaining more and more importance for B2C eCommerce businesses and websites. Are you applying all of them?
eCommerce will become increasingly segmented and the best growth opportunities will be in very specific niches, within each line of business. This evolution has occurred naturally due to two phenomena: the competition and the needs of the public.
On the one hand, increasing competition in eCommerce means that old and new businesses alike must look for ideas that have not yet been exploited. On the other hand, there is genuine demand from users with very specific needs, who are unable to find certain products or services in their local shopping neighborhood, especially in areas, cities or countries where there is less variety or, directly, certain products are not sold. Take the niche for vegans or celiacs products for example, who hardly ever find anything outside capital cities.
The user demands increasing speed in their online shopping experience. Incorporating innovative technology that contributes to this will be key to any successful eCommerce business in 2018.
For some time, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progressive Web App (PWA) systems, developed by Google, have been useful additions for online retailers and customers who can check product catalogs under the appearance of efficient apps, which work in full-screen mode without any issues, can be accessed offline and provide seamless navigation with no bugs. The controversy surrounding AMPs is that they can negatively influence analytics and this issue merits more attention to verify its effectiveness in each online retail business.
Having consolidated their online payment security systems, retailers must now respond to a new demand from users: that of having different payment options.
This affects the variety of payment methods available and is linked to another element, the agility of the purchase process. Many users feel discouraged when they see long payment processes and that they need to fill in a lot of fields. Express buttons at the checkout, such as Apple Pay, ShopRunner, Square or Stripe, are the new must after the reign of PayPal and credit cards.
And, apart from the control over how they pay, customers are also beginning to demand more control over how and where they receive their shipments.
This is not restricted to sci-fi movies: the next big thing is artificial intelligence and is already present in the eCommerce world.
It is estimated that by 2018 there will be 200 million users worldwide using augmented reality and virtual videos. The ease of access to this new type of technology that companies such as Apple have developed will continue to escalate, with apps for online sales. For example, Gadget Flow is an eCommerce product aggregator that allows buyers to review product listings with previews of tech products in augmented reality.
It is the next step after the importance of video in eCommerce: customers will be able to appreciate the products in 3D, interact with them, make demos about what a product looks like or how it works, and feel more similarity between buying in a physical store and the online shopping experience.
Although they attract many traffic visits in apps and eCommerce websites, so far the conversion rate on mobile devices has been much lower than on computers. Visits from smartphones account for 60% of traffic, of which only 40% were being converted into real purchases.
Thanks to improvements in the search and purchase experience in mobile apps, this trend is beginning to pay dividends and it is foreseeable that it will continue. To continue achieving positive results, you have to invest in better technology, enhance speed, security and adaptation to the type of interaction that the user performs — with fast buttons that are easy to use with the thumb, increased presence of videos and large interactive images.
The main eCommerce reference point is Amazon Prime, but this subscription trend has also been based on the example of streaming platforms like Netflix. Recent months have seen huge expansion of online subscription services, both based on flat rates (usually in shipping costs) as well as on periodic shipments of product boxes.
The current user prefers the comfort a single platform offers instead of bouncing between several websites and comparing costs and options in each one. Loyalty will always end up being won by the quality of the service offered, but subscription services will be one of the most explored tools in eCommerce.
Technologies have always been the future, but that will more than ever for eCommerce. From Product Content Management software to artificial intelligence, eCommerce must adhere to the digital revolution if it wants to lead the world’s most effective online experiences.