2015 is well on its way and 2005 still seems like only two years ago. Most people are already saying goodbye to their new years resolutions. For the e-commerce world there are several things that are getting increasingly important this year. Let’s take a look at the 4 most important e-commerce trends for 2015!
The roles have changed in the world of commerce. First it was the traditional retailer that had to make the quick shift from offline to online selling, now it’s the other way around. More and more webshops are seeing the benefits of a physical store. In 2015 we will see more online retailers opening a store.
By increasing the presence of companies working in both channels, retailers will align the shopping experience to their customers’ specific needs better. A huge advantage of this trend is the fact that customers are still interested in physical contact with the products on offer.
Retailers who already have an online and physical store are also trying to connect the two with promotions, like free ship to store, in order to get more foot traffic. Another big trend are companion apps and mobile websites that help customers when they are in a store.
The e-commerce winners for 2015 will be those who deliver a compelling shopping experience both on- and offline.
2. Mobile e-commerce is it
Even though consumers are spending more time looking at their phones than they are reading books, they only have been using mobile to research about products before and after a purchase. Looking for reviews, for one, is a great example of how consumers are using their mobile. Mobile commerce may have only been considered an option in 2012, but in 2015, mobile will finally be reaching beyond that.
A thing that shows that the shift to mobile e-commerce is really happening is the fact that Google recently put out a manual on how to make your website mobile-friendly. Google will also indicate in their search results if a website is suitable for mobile use. This will have consequences: is your website amazing, your SEO up to scratch and your ranking top-level, but it isn’t optimized for mobile use? Then your place in the ranking will soon drop.
Mobile-centric strategies should be top-of-mind with retailers in this year and these are the three things you should focus on:
- Hybrid shopping – Make sure all your channels are integrated perfectly. The perfect coherence between physical stores, e-commerce, mobile commerce and other platforms you may have is a norm this year and will set you apart from your competitors.
- Easy and secure payment options – Your customers have to feel save when they are ordering something from you, so make sure your mobile payment options are up to scratch.
- Optimize mobile web – This is a no brainer. Consumers are using the small screen and companies who optimize their website for the mobile experience will be ahead of their competition.
As a webshop you are constantly collecting consumer data. This is creating great opportunities to create personal content. It is becoming increasingly important for e-commerce retailers to customize their website per individual visitor. Instead of offering a single solution for all customers, all visitors to the webshop see different offers, tailored to their needs.
With the information you collect, your presentation and offering will be designed for individual customer behaviors, preferences and even purchasing power. The benefits of this trend are that you as a retailer will maximize sales and profit margins, and will increase customer satisfaction.
Another tip to make sure you use this trend in your advantage this year: make sure you use social networks to customize your product and service offerings. Consumers turn to peers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Every e-commerce company should make sure social selling is a part of their 2015 strategy.
4. The perfection of (return) shipping and same day service
Webshop customers expect that their orders are delivered quickly and flexible. Until now, physical stores have has an advantage over online stores- in that they give immediate fulfillment. If I want to have a product a.s.a.p. and the webshop I like will deliver in 4 to 5 days, but a store 20 minutes away has it in stock, I don’t have to think twice to where I am going.
Same day delivery is the trend that we will see in 2015. The window of delivery is shrinking, as some companies even have 30-minute delivery options. Delivery will also become more flexible.
Consumers will be able to state on what day and at what time they want their delivery. PostNL is already narrowing down the time frame in which your package will be delivered, but this will be optimized in 2015.
The last trend that is happening in the logistic part of the e-commerce world is free return shipping. It is common for retailers to offer free shipping, but when it comes to return shipping it still costs the consumer.
Which is strange, because when I buy something in a physical store I can return it without any cost. When consumers find out they have to pay to return something, it gives them a bad experience. So make sure your customer does not have to bear the costs when they want to return a product.
All in all there is a lot going on in the ever developing world of e-commerce. As a wrap-up, here are the main points you will have to consider this year.
1. It is not only about online presence anymore. Make sure you deliver a compelling shopping experience both on- and offline.
2. Mobile is it this year. Create a coherence between all your channels, make sure you have easy and secure mobile payment options and optimize your mobile website.
3. Use the customer data you collect to create a personal shopping experience and maximize sales, margins and customer satisfaction.
4. If possible, see that you have the option of same-day delivery. And make sure that your customers do not have to bear the costs of returning a product.