New year, new forecast. Here’s a list of e-commerce trends that I see for 2017. Ecommerce is the fastest growing industries in the world, constantly changing and evolving with new technology and changes in consumer behaviour. But this year, I feel like trends might not be the right term as we’ve seen and heard it all before. But needless to say, it’s as important as ever.
“Mobile” has been on these lists for, what, four years now? But repetition doesn’t mean it is not as valid, because mobile keeps getting bigger. Mobile traffic is now bigger than desktop on the web. Google’s mobile-first-index is live. You not only need an optimized “mobile experience”, you need to put mobile first. Study after study show that mobile is attracting more ecommerce traffic than ever before. Yet, smartphone conversion still lags behind that of desktop. Up until now, most of the ecommerce activity on mobiles can be seen to be “pre-shopping” – that is discovery and browsing. According to Google, 60 percent of online conversions start on one device and end on another. Which means mobile, while perhaps not the leader in terms of conversion, often plays a critical role in the first step of your customer’s journey.
Personalisation & Data.
With more data available, this allows businesses to tailor advertisements, content, and specific products to particular customers. The amount of data available increasingly allows content, ads, and products to be shown to the right people at the right time. What’s new? Customers have been exposed to personalised experiences from services like Netflix and Amazon. Now we have come to expect the same level of personalisation in our online shopping experience. We see targeted product reviews and recommendations, targeted marketing and re-marketing gathered from behavioural data. For example, personalised deals on popular products that a specific customers buy often, or combinations of targeted ads and re-marketing on product level.
Free shipping, timing & fast delivery.
We see higher demands on delivery and returns in general, especially when it comes to time and fees. Delivery must be fast, cheap and easy – now including the return process. There’s a big increase in fast shipping methods, like same day deliveries, home delivery and services like Urbit. 29% of consumers would be willing to pay more for same-day delivery. 44% of consumers abandon their shopping carts if the delivery is too expensive. Free shipping is so important that 58% of shoppers are willing to add more items to cart to qualify for free delivery and 83% are willing to wait longer for the items to arrive to their homes. The customers almost always expect free shipping and complimentary return shipping – but most importantly no hidden fees.
The post-purchase experience.
Navar recently posted this study on shopping preferences, saying that almost half of online customers worry about their packages being damaged in transit, and an almost equal percentage (42%) don’t believe their packages will be delivered on time. While many focus on personalisation and optimizing the actual purchase journey, they shouldn’t forget the overall customer experience. According to this study, a major part lies within the post-purchase experience and the actual customer interaction:
“When asked what information would make them more satisfied with a purchase, 61% of people said ‘a simple thank you’ matters most, more so than including personalized recommendations, information on how to use the product better, or examples of how others are using the product.”
The end of Black Friday.
Simple as that, it’s now Cyber November, and it’s all online. We’ve seen it this past year, and we’re likely to see it again in 2017: the lines between Black Friday and Cyber Monday are getting blurry, and all shopping holidays move online.