As we enter into the last haul of 2016 and look to 2017, the state of ecommerce now and industry trends you should consider as you think about planning for 2017 are critical as much has changed since last year. Here is a brief review of the state of ecommerce and trends that online selling needs to track moving forward. If 2016 was a growth year for you, then look out for 2017! Preliminary results for 2016 shows that being an online seller now is a great industry to be in. While online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon as well as other growing ones compete to be the top marketplace, there is so much opportunity for growth.
Here’s a review of the state of eCommerce and 7 trends that online sellers should prepare for in 2017:
- Web-influenced sales: Web-influenced retail sales is projected to be 1,667 billion USD this year and 1,796 billion USD in 2017. (Source: Statsitca 2016). While web-influenced retail sales increases, the contribution to sales from non-web-influenced sales decreases showing the impact that online shopping is having as it continues to grow. Your web presence is an important factor for customer recognition and builds trust as you being an established entity to buy from.
- Time spent online shopping: In a recent study, “results show that 96 percent of Americans are shopping online, spending an average of five hours per week making online purchases and allocating an average of 36 percent of their shopping budgets to e-commerce.” (Source: Bigcommerce and Kelton Global, 2016). With what seems like nearly everyone having a phone in their hand day and night, the opportunity for researching items has increased greatly. This opportunity presents a great way to market to them through tools like Google Shopping and SEO to help drive your page to the top.
- Social selling: such as Pinterest and Instagram images with items for sale impact the buyer’s journey and decision process. A study by PWC of shoppers across the globe said 67% read reviews, comments and other feedback on social media that helped influence their purchase. In fact, because of the potential of this channel, it’s predicted to be the fastest growing shopping influence in 2017. Take your product photos to the next level by incorporating them into pictures with how they would be used by someone and start marketing in those channels.
- Data and analytics: that provide insights into the customer’s journey and what triggers them to make a sale are growing in use. Brands are using this to engage with their customers. As an online seller, you may not have the budget for data, but you can use Google Analytics and reports within your software to capture the profile of a few different target personas and make sure you’re talking to them. The more personalized you can engage with them, the more the customer can align with your store brand.
- It’s still about mobile and it’s not stopping: Up until recently, the cellphone was being used to research products and check out reviews as shoppers weren’t so trusting of purchasing. This year is considered the inflection point as more shoppers have turned to purchasing directly from their mobile phone. “Take Thanksgiving weekend in the US. Roughly 103 million Americans shopped online over the Thanksgiving-Black Friday weekend and, according to Adobe, mobile purchases drove the majority of those Thanksgiving weekend online shopping visits (51%), accounting for almost a third (29%) of sales—up 12% over 2014. In fact, investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts at the rate that retailers are integrating mobile into the shopping experience, mobile commerce will account for almost half of all e-commerce by 2018” (PWC 2016).
- How online shoppers shop: in each category is different. To understand how consumers shop in a particular category check out this link from PWC’s survey which will help you understand your target market’s shopping habits and set yourself up to match their journey. Mass marketing doesn’t work as well anymore. It’s again about understanding who that customer is and speaking directly to them by understanding their needs.
- User experience: should be worked into the design and setup of your e-store to be more personalised. This is because the online shopper has an experience when it comes to shopping, with your brand and with your product. Also by creating a unique look, you’ll draw more shoppers in who can engage through the visuals and descriptions in your webstore. Based on whether it’s the right fit to your target market, you can try using certain words in your copy that speak directly to your customer:
- Instead of the shopping cart saying “buy now”, use a call to action like “gotta have it”
- Try storytelling in your product description that captures why the customer needs this item or the benefits they will get out of it
The state of eCommerce in 2016 is an important inflection point to consider as you grow your online sales. You’ve seen where online selling has come from as you’ve built your business because of it’s potential. You now need to be ready to make adjustments to go where the industry is going. This will help you continue to be a leader or grow into one in your online sales category. Your strategic direction may need to be adjusted slightly, but the work you put in now to get ready for more consumer adoption will set you up for greater success. The state of eCommerce is 2016 has brought about a lot of growth and there’s still more to be had.