As a web design agency, we have the privilege of seeing the different trends that are emerging across a range of industries, and ecommerce is no different.
In a world where convenience rules the waves, it’s no surprise that the ecommerce industry is booming. Being able to buy at the touch of a button and receive items on the same day or even within the hour has become second nature to many of us.
With technology progressing at such a rapid pace, it’s predicted that the ecommerce market will hit the $4.1 trillion mark in 2021. This will equate to 14.6% of the total spend in retail that year. Impressive, right?
However, this is a constantly changing field and as an online retailer, it’s important that you stay ahead of the curve with new trends if you want to remain competitive. To help, here’s a round up of 4 key trends that are dominating ecommerce this year.
1. Faster shipping expectations
We all know who the masters at this game are, with a record delivery time of just under 15 minutes from click to delivery. Yes, you guessed it, Amazon. The online giant’s impressive delivery capabilities mean that consumer expectations are on the rise.
As an ecommerce business your delivery time and logistics can really set you apart. If people know it’s going to take two weeks to receive an order, chances are, they’ll shop around. We’re not saying that you have to compete with the logistical powers of Amazon but, ensuring your process is as slick and quick as possible will work wonders. Remember that people are willing to pay for faster shipping so providing your customers with all options will encourage them to buy with you.
2. ROPO will continue to grow
ROPO or ‘research online, purchase offline’ will continue to grow as a popular trend amongst savvy shoppers and bargain hunters. According to Bazaarvoice, 39% of instore shoppers currently read online reviews before purchasing. This is a figure only set to grow over the year.
Some would say that this is great news for businesses based solely on the high street as people still clearly like to shop offline. However, it does mean that these types of businesses now need an online presence in some capacity to compete.
3. Augmented reality is shaping the customer journey
Being able to picture how a kitchen would look in your home or whether a quirky green dress would suit you is, from a consumer point of view, pretty impressive. Although brands are beginning to adopt AR more and more, it’s far from mainstream just yet. Being able to virtually ‘try before you buy’ will dramatically change the customer journey making purchasing decisions much easier for consumers.
Online beauty giant, Sephora, is really leading the way with AI through a ‘Virtual Assistant.’ This enables users to try out different make-up looks and then learn new techniques through online tutorials. Customers therefore feel like they’ve tried and tested before buying, increasing their likelihood to buy and reducing refunds.
Introducing AR not only helps brands to increase customer interaction, it also reduces the main problem consumers have with ecommerce – not being able to try before they buy. Yes, this is only virtual but it still offers the means for customers to interact with products before making a purchasing decision.
4. Mobile checkout is key
Yes, the list wouldn’t be complete without a focus on mobile. Ever since 2015, mobile sales have grown rapidly in the ecommerce arena. This is because consumers increasingly favour a faster and more convenient process. Shopping whilst on the move isn’t a novelty anymore so it’s paramount that brands incorporate an efficient mobile checkout process.
To do this, it’s absolutely key that your website is mobile friendly. Although this is becoming the default, it’s surprising how many sites are not mobile optimised. For ecommerce sites this is essential – especially if you intend to offer a mobile checkout. It’s also vital that you keep the checkout process as slick as possible, to help, here’s a few pointers:
- Use as few fields as possible – people won’t want to fill out endless boxes
- Ensure you have minimal graphics and images on the checkout page so it runs as quickly as possible
- Incorporate auto fill/detect support
- Use larger buttons (fingers can be clumsy)
- Offer guest checkout
Each trend has one key thing in common – convenience. It’s shaping the way consumers shop and is a key factor behind the impressive growth of the ecommerce industry. Being able to shop from the comfort of their own home and receive deliveries within the hour makes shopping online so attractive for many.
However, in an ever competitive market, it’s important that, as an online retailer, you ensure that you are staying abreast of current trends. Understanding technological advancements, such as AR, and how it can help customer experience will be extremely valuable as we progress in 2018.