2015 will offer more opportunities for ecommerce and will present trends that every online marketer, seller, and buyer needs to be aware of to remain viable. Predicting industry trends is a crucial step in your struggle to get a head of the competition and break the market. Now that the holiday buying season has passed, online sellers, buyers, and marketers can look forward to the following trends in 2015 and make the necessary preparations to meet their challenges.
Emphasis on User Experience and Customer Service
Ecommerce has come to a point where technology is already able to address almost every possible need. Internet technology has greatly advanced over the years that creating various functions or features for online stores has become virtually limitless. It is expected that online stores will place greater focus on providing excellent customer service to distinguish themselves from the rest. There is a need to create a smooth shopping experience to prevent customers from going to a competing online store as they enjoy better experiences. Several customer service stats and facts support the idea that good customer service is going to play an increasingly prominent role in the success of ecommerce endeavors.
Mobile No Longer Just an Option
This year, mobile technology has created myriad reasons why people should consider taking their shopping from the malls and desktop or laptop computers to their mobile devices. Mobile software and hardware have matured enough to become more secure, reliable and easier to use. Mobile device manufacturers and operating system developers are also putting in more effort in improving security, creating a sense of safety and protection for those who want to do their shopping with their smartphones or tablets. Of note, a recent report cited how a new encryption technology is hitting the nerve of the US Department of Justice.
For online sellers, the need to serve the needs of those who do their shopping on the mobile platform will no longer be just an option. As more and more people rely on their mobile devices to do various things, it will be illogical not to optimize shopping experiences for mobile users. An online business that refuses to optimize for mobile customers will unlikely be competitive.
Social Media Becoming More Influential
Social media will continue to play significant roles not only for creating social connections but also in making ecommerce more profitable. Together with mobile technology, social media is bound to become more influential and will be an essential component of any online marketing effort. Social media will continue to be an effective marketing tool. Moreover, social media is also expected to integrate ecommerce functionalities. Twitter has already started it with the “Buy” button, facilitating in-app purchases.
Others are expected to follow and will make online shopping an even more convenient experience.
Same Day Delivery or Faster
In the past, one of the major hurdles to the success of online shopping has been the inability to do prompt deliveries. Next year, as businesses start collaborating or forging partnerships, the general picture of shipping or delivery for ecommerce is bound to see significant improvements. Amazon famously unveiled plans to take prompt delivery to a controversially impressive level with the development of delivery drones. These drones are expected to cut delivery time to around 30 minutes. They will not be ready for deployment in the next year yet but Amazon’s futuristic plan is surely stimulating the desire to make deliveries faster and more efficient to enable better ecommerce.
Those who want to achieve greater success with their online businesses in the years ahead shouldn’t be sticking with their old shipping channels if they are unable to ship items faster. eBay and Amazon have already started providing same delivery options. A number of companies like Lufthansa in Germany have also established logistics platforms that significantly cut delivery times. Online sellers are expected to find ways to be able to ship their products faster to become more competitive.
Thinning Distinction Between E-Commerce and Brick-and-Mortar Virtually Disappearing
As smart and powerful mobile devices become more popular and more affordable, they become instrumental to enabling the seamless convergence of online and traditional shopping. For instance, there are apps that help shoppers in remembering items as they do window shopping so they can complete the purchase online later on. Conversely, there are shopping apps that allow customers to search for items online for them to buy them at a physical store later on. Through mobile technology, ecommerce and brick and mortar shopping are bound to merge or at least become seamlessly integrated.
On the other hand, the development of secure and dependable mobile payment platforms is also expected to make the distinction between online and traditional in-store shopping thinner than ever. Apple Pay has been rolled out this year and has been getting quite good feedback so far. There are also a number of mobile POS software solutions that are expected to facilitate the convergence of online and in-store shopping. Vend, a popular POS software is offering the conveniences of facilitating various types of payments, working in offline mode, integration of loyalty rewards programs, CRM tools and the ability to connect add-ons to make for a seamless online to offline shopping experience and vice-versa.
There’s no stopping ecommerce in playing a prominent role in the way people shop. Likewise, new trends emerge every so often that it’s very important to get acquainted to know how to react and plan corresponding strategies that prove effective.