With the Christmas rush out of the way and the January sales in full swing, it is time to look ahead to what 2014 has in store for ecommerce businesses. I have picked 3 trends that should get you planning ahead if you are not already doing so.
62% of the UK population are now using a smartphone and 65% of them are accessing the internet on their smartphones on a daily basis. A desktop only site may be usable on a smartphone by pinching and zooming but this does not provide a user friendly experience.
A responsive site will give the user an optimized experience for the device they are using which in turn could boost your conversion rate.
Do you regularly send out email newsletters or promotions? Chances are a large portion of your customers are opening these emails on a mobile device. 48% of all emails are now opened on mobile devices according to Litmus. If a customer clicks through from one of your emails to your desktop only site, chances are they will not stay for long if the experience isn’t tailored to make use of their devices screen and touch.
UGC – User generated content
User generated content is a buzzword in the industry at the moment as it being utilised by ecommerce stores to bring some of the social cues from the more personal bricks and mortar stores to their websites.
UGC has been around for a while, with reviews and ratings being invaluable for customers making the decision to purchase online. 70% of online customers consult reviews before making a purchase.
Ecommerce stores have a downside over bricks and mortar stores that the customer isn’t able to physically pickup and touch the products being sold. This has the online store trying to sell the product using text, photos and videos – all of which help, but customers may not always trust material you are using to try and sell a products.
User generated content can help in this situation by showing what real customers who own the product think – allowing the customer to get some of these social cues they would get in the bricks and mortar store and also have the trust that what they are reading about a product isn’t all sales talk.
UGC is also being used more and more for companies wanting to promote their fan following and let their customers help sell their brand. Olapic is providing e-commerce companies with the ability to pull in UGC around your products from social networks such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Olapic uses hashtags to pull in images from these sites and displays them on your site. Showing these on your site not only shows potential customers that you have a dedicated following, but also merchandises for you – showing a customer how your products can fit into their life.
One of the biggest downsides of ordering online instead of walking in to a store – you can’t have the product straight away. People are impatient when it comes to buying anything. Why after handing over their money should they have to wait to receive their goods?
This is an issue that the big guns in ecommerce are constantly trying to improve so that there is no reason for customers to not order online from them. Next day delivery is nothing new, 62% of UK businesses are offering next day delivery on their orders, but even waiting a day is too much for some customers.
Same day delivery has started popping up around London for urgent deliveries or impatient among us, however only 6% of UK businesses are offering this service in the capital and significantly less outside of London.
This is set to change in 2014 with the introduction of new services such as Shutl. Ebay has recently acquired the same day delivery service which allows you to book a delivery slot on the same day down to a matter of minutes. The service is already being utilized by companies like Argos and Schuh and with Ebay’s acquisition we can expect the service to be available on purchases on their own site.
How is Amazon going to follow up… with drones! It might be a few years off but it is exciting to see ecommerce really pushing the development of new technologies.