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6 TOP INNOVATIONS THAT HAVE SHAPED ECOMMERCE IN 2016

7 June 2016

If you follow our blog, then you will already be aware that the first half of 2016 has been an exciting and dynamic period for the global ecommerce industry. Now that we are halfway through 2016, we are taking a look at the most significant ecommerce trends and innovations that prevailed over the past six months.

SELLING BASED ON MOBILE LOCATION WENT BIG

Nowadays, most online retailers already have responsive web store designs and even provide geo-location tools, in the cases where they run both ecommerce sites and brick-and mortar stores.

Interestingly, in the first half of this year an increasing number of retailers started to target online customers based on their mobile locations – effectively merging the worlds of online and offline shopping. Mobile check-ins were monitored to provide customers with rewards and benefits when they interacted with a physical store, and geographically targeted discounts were offered to shoppers who entered a competitor’s store.

SOCIAL CO-CREATION BECAME THE NEW BUZZ

Social shopping and the need for personalisation have been on retailers’ radar for a while, but in the first half of 2016, many online businesses took things to the next level by engaging in the so called ‘social co-creation’.

From apparel design companies to online marketplaces like Etsy, there has been a rise in the number of social co-creation options, where consumers are able to not only purchase a product online, but also participate in the creation process.

VIDEO MARKETING IS NOW A MUST

We have all been aware of how important well optimised product descriptions and high-quality imagery are for quite some time now, however, this is no longer enough to stay competitive. In the early stages of 2016 we started seeing more and more retailers incorporate branded, custom videos into their online stores and product listings.

Indeed, interactive visual content can boost SEO, increase conversions and build trust among prospective customers. So, including production videos, demonstrations, or even live streaming, is increasingly being considered as a must in today’s ecommerce world.

UNCONVENTIONAL PAYMENT METHODS ENETERED THE SCENE

Up until this year, payment has been one of the obstacles for engaging all age groups in the online shopping process; for example, teens have been unable to pay by personal credit card. This is no longer the case!

Apple Pay, for example, introduced an option for minors to confirm a payment by using the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, where money is transferred directly from their parent’s mobile wallet. Similarly, other ecommerce innovators have created payment opportunities within existing social media channels, such as Facebook and Pinterest.

ALTERNATIVE SHIPPING OPTIONS WERE EMBARCED

As online shoppers’ expectations for super-fast, often same-day delivery, increases retailers are finding it more and more difficult to keep up with demands.

So, it is no surprise that in the first half of 2016, the so called ‘freelance delivery’ industry arose, with the help of industry leaders, such as UberRUSH and Amazon Flex.

Through courier-service and crowd-sourcing methods, retailers were provided with new ways to shorten delivery times, improve efficiency and retain customer satisfaction.

REAL-TIME ANALYTICS BECAME THE NEW GAME-CHANGER

With data being an invaluable resource in measuring how your business is doing, retailers have become increasingly aware that by using traditional analytics, they are slow to response to any problems in the online customer journey, such as an issue with checkout or a coupon code.

So, at the beginning of 2016, merchants started to incorporate real-time analytics more and more often. This practice allows them to monitor shopping behaviour, identify problems in their sales funnel in real time and respectively interact with a customer before he or she abandons the shopping cart.

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