This has been an exciting and productive year for the ecommerce industry. And as 2015 nears its end, we take a look at the most significant ecommerce trends and innovations that prevailed over the past year.
This year, ‘mobile-friendliness’ has become not just a nice-to-have, but a must-have!
On 11.11.15, Alibaba Group smashed its Singles Day record by generating sales worth $14.3bn and seeing more than 70% of all orders being processed on mobile devices. Across the rest of the world, more than 28% of all online shoppers are set to do their Black Friday and Christmas shopping via mobile.
It’s no surprise, then, that consumers are expected to spend as much as £53bn a year using their smartphones and tablets by 2024, compared to the £9.7bn spent today. Indeed, the number of mobile users is set grow to 457 million by 2019.
All this clearly means that online stores not capable of operating well on mobile devices will lose visitors, customers and sales, while fully mobile responsive store templates will thrive!
Switching between tablet, smartphone, computer, and store is now a typical part of today’s shopping experience. This means that it is more important than ever for retailers to have an integrated, multi-platform strategy towards customer acquisition.
We can easily imagine a customer researching a product online, comparing prices while in the store, and later ordering the item from their phone or tablet.
No wonder then, in 2015, an increasing number of physical retailers have invested in responsive online stores and user-friendly mobile apps. Neither is it a surprise that we saw pure-play online retailers, such as Google, Zalando and Spartoo investing in physical retail space.
Therefore, selecting the best aspects of online and offline retail to deliver a complete omni-channel customer journey is an absolute must for retailers hoping prosper in 2016.
Connected consumers are increasingly turning to their peers on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for recommendations on product or services. As a result social media platforms represent major marketing and advertising opportunities for retailers aiming to boost their brand awareness and customer engagement.
In 2015, however, social media made up a whole new segment of the online shopping experience, referred to as social commerce. Users looking to order online were easily re-directed to a retailer’s website or product page, or were enabled to make a purchase without ever leaving the social media platform.
This was made possible through the introduction of ‘buy buttons’ that were added to a number of social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Google Search.
Although the growing social commerce has been seen as a controversial trend, since some brands think they might lose their online identity, this new social phenomenon not only offers a direct advertising channel for retailers, but also provides them with exciting off-site opportunities.
With global ecommerce expected to reach the staggering $2.36tn in just three years, an increasing number of online merchants have actively engaged in cross-border trade during 2015.
However, what many retailers have failed to consider is by increasing their cross-border offering, they have simultaneously increased the expectations of local international online shoppers.
Today, an estimated 55% of global online consumers would only buy international products from ecommerce stores that provide product information in their native language; while customers in some countries expect to see at least three different payment options, or a particular delivery service available, not to mention free returns or customer service in local language.
The global ecommerce landscape has become more competitive than ever, so offering a greater variety and convenience in fulfilment services should be high priority for online sellers!
Whether it’s a same-day or next day-delivery, home delivery or collection from a local shop, delivery to a designated parcel locker or in-store pick-up, in 2015, it all came down to being faster, cheaper and more convenient.
Commercial drones have become one of the most significant ecommerce trends this year. The likes of Amazon, Google, Walmart, BestBuy, Alibaba in China and Flipkart in India represent just a small selection of the global ecommerce players that have not only set their eyes on civil drones, but have already started testing how they can be incorporated into their supply chains.
We will be keeping a firm eye on how far the drone delivery model will extend in 2016!
With most US and UK online retailers expecting record-breaking sales this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, one-day shopping events are becoming more and more important in today’s online retail world.
As connected shoppers become more informed and increasingly look for great bargains, single-day shopping events are expected to become even more significant in 2016.
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